IntroductionClimbing in the Picos de Europa is a magical experience. I spent 6 weeks climbing and walking there this summer. It is one of the few places that it is still possible to climb in Spain during the summer. In fact July and August are the best time of year to climb in the Picos de Europa.
There is limited information for those who do not speak good Spanish but after a lot of research and several weeks in country I feel like I know the Picos pretty well. However, there is so much more to do. It is a vast place really, the Naranjo de Bulnes is not the only mountain worth climbing on. Although it was a real highlight of the trip.
Mountain Crags and RoutesPicu Urriellu or Naranjo de Bulnes is an impressive peak and a must if you head to the Picos de Europa. The south face direct route is excellent and comes at an ameniable grade.
But dont forget to check out other areas of the Picos National Park. If you head further south, approach from Fuente De, there are several peaks with equally good routes which are garanteed to be less busy.
Apart from climbing on the Naranjo de Bulnes we hardly saw any other climbers. There were plenty of walkers of course, especially with in a 5km radius of the cable car, but once of the main track the crags felt remote and untouched.
Aguja Bustamante, Pena del Regaliz and Horrocadas Rojo are just a few that we climbed.
The information about climbing in the Picos is limited if you want it in English. There is a good Spanish guide - Cordillera Cantabrica Escaladas selectas en roca (2005). And there is an English guide by Cicerone, it has its uses but it is a little out of date (written in 1989).
For current up to date information check out:
Climbing in the Picos de Europa
Planet Fear Article
I think the Picos de Europa is a brilliant place to climb. It feels very different from anywhere else I have climbed in Spain and I hope the information I have given here and the links prove useful.
The CoastThe Picos de Europa National Park is so close to the coast that a small visit is enevitable.
If you fly into Santander or Bilbao you will be there anyway. The coast line is beautiful. The beaches we went to tended to be quiet and almost Devon-like. Steep rocky cliffs opening into secluded little bays often only accessible by coastal paths.
The surf is also very good on this coastline and there are various spots around Santander that are quite famous. Check out the Storm Rider Guide.
We went to some lesser known areas and still got some good surf.
A couple of days on the beach is a nice relaxing finish to a climbing trip and considering the proximity in this case, well worth it.
If you are looking for a Surfing and Climbing holiday, the Picos de Europa is an excellent choice.