Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Additional Information Elevation: 8687 ft / 2648 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Having seen Vid Pogachnik's pages on the Eastern Alps and the pages on Peña Castil and Torre Cerredo I think a similar central index would be useful in the case of the Picos de Europa. Over time I hope further mountains in this range will be added with links to and from these pages.


This compact range of karstic limestone mountains hard by the Atlantic coast of northern Spain offers serious walking, scrambling and climbing, belying its modest altitude. The highest point of the range is a mere 12km from the coast , so in tackling the peaks long and steep ascents and descents are required, especially when passing from one massif to another. The Western and Central Massifs are separated by the magnificent Cares gorge which has a few arduous descent routes from the mountains on either side. The Central and Eastern Massifs are separated by the high alpine Vega de Aliva, though access tends to be from the North and the South rather than directly from the Vega. The Eastern Massif bears the scars of extensive mineral extraction.

Mountains at SummitPost

Peña Castil
Torre Cerredo
Naranjo de Bulnes (Picu Uriellu)
Peña Vieja
Espolón de los Franceses (route on Peña Vieja)
Peña Santa de Castilla
Torre del Friero

Getting There

The main entries to the ranges are Los Lagos de Covadonga (W), Arenas de Cabrales (N), the Valdeón villages (S) and Fuente Dé (SE). At Puente Poncebos near Arenas a polemical underground funicular serves the village of Bulnes otherwise only accessible on foot. At Fuente Dé a cable car rises over 700 metres in a single lift.

By Car:
Access from the West is from Oviedo via Cangas de Onís to Covadonga and Los Lagos. From the East a motorway connects Santander (for Bilbao and France) with Unquera . From here the N621 goes south through Panes, up the Hermida Gorge to Potes and on to the cable car at Fuente Dé. From the South the best approach is from León via Riaño to Valdeón.

Sea Links:
Brittany Ferries sails to Santander from Plymouth and P&O to Bilbao from Portsmouth.

Air Links:
Bilbao - Madrid and Barcelona (Iberia), London Stansted (EasyJet), about a dozen Austrian and German airports (Air Berlin)
Santander - Madrid (Iberia), Frankfurt, Rome, Liverpool and London Stansted (Ryanair)
Asturias (Oviedo/Aviles) - Hapagfly goes from 16 German airports, plus Basel and Mulhouse. Easyjet from Stansted

Rail Links:
The FEVE narrow-gauge line runs all the way along the north coast.
The main Renfe service runs to Santander from Burgos, Oviedo from Leon and Bilbao from France and Central Spain.

Bus Services:
Alsa runs from Bilbao along the north coast to Oviedo via Santander. Alsa also serves Cangas de Onís from the West with links to Arenas de Cabrales and Panes. During the season a frequent bus runs to Covadonga and Los Lagos from Cangas. An infrequent service links Valdeón with Leon and down the Beyos gorge to Cangas. Autocares Palomera runs a service from Santander to Potes via Panes and the Hermida gorge, with a further service up to Fuente Dé.

Red Tape

All three massifs are within the National Park. Signs on the main entry paths indicate the usual prohibitions (collecting botanical or geological samples, use of firearms, making fires). Do not use detergents - take soft green soap. Camping is permitted but you should strike camp within an hour of sunrise and you should not camp within an hour's trek of a road.

When To Climb

This far south, and this close to the warming influence of the Atlantic, only the locals can take opportunistic advantage of winter conditions. However, winter conditions can persist until surprisingly late and 3m of snow in the valleys in mid-May does occasionally happen. The higher routes can be snowbound well into June., although weather is generally reliable from June to late August/early September. In late August the weather tends to deteriorate with the onset of hail and thunder, though decent conditions can be found into October.


See Red Tape re wild camping. There are camp sites near Potes, at Fuente Dé, outside Cangas, at Arenas de Cabrales, Santa Marina de Valdeón and Soto de Valdeón (though this last one for some reason did not open in 2004). Camping is permitted in meadows at Caín.

Bunkhouses (Albergues):
Arenas de Cabrales, Bulnes, Sotres, Camaleño (near Potes), Espinama (1.5 km short of Fuente Dé), Fuente Dé (attached to the campsite), Santa Marina de Valdeón, Los Llanos (by Posada de Valdeón), Soto de Sajambre, and Villanueva (2 km W of Cangas). Fees in 2004 €6 - 8 per person per night.

The way to get right into the Picos is to use the Refuges. These tend to belong to clubs federated to the Federación Española de Montañerismo. Not worth joining one unless you live in Spain, but they often have reciprocal arrangements with the Austrian Alpine Club. Fees (non-members) 2004 from €5.20 pppn with breakfast at about €5 and dinner (can be very basic) €11 - 13.

Western Massif:
Casa Municipal de Pastores at Los Lagos, Vega Redonda Hut, Vegabaño Hut, Refugio Marqués de Villaviciosa at Vega Ario. This last one suffers from a poor to non-existent water supply since dynamite was used a few years ago to level a platform for a generator but there is water at a nearby majada (alp).

Central Massif
Refugio/Hotel Áliva (privately owned), Cabaña Verónica (privately owned, very limited space), Ref José Ramón Lueje in Jou de Los Cabrones (30 spaces, warden), Ref. Julián Delgado Úbeda in Vega Uriellu at the foot of El Naranjo (100 spaces, full staff, still gets full at weekends), Ref. La Terenosa near Collado Pandébano (no warden, keys at nearby herders' cabin), Ref del Collado Jermoso (30+ spaces, a "must-visit" for its location).

Eastern Massif:
Casetón de Ándara, an old miners' cabin. 20 places

The situation regarding wardens is variable and changes as wardens change. The one in Vega Uriellu operates pretty much all year round, as does Áliva. The owner of Verónica is reputed to live there all year round. In other cases the wardens tend to close and teach skiing over the winter if and when demand slackens completely. The Ándara refuge is wardened full-time in the summer and some weekends during the medium season.
There are no sanitary facilities at Cabrones, Vega Ario or Collado Jermoso. There is in each case a generally-recognised area which isn't difficult to find, but you might prefer to arrive empty. There is no spring at Verónica.

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

Viewing: 1-11 of 11

friendfrompoland - Aug 27, 2005 5:43 pm - Hasn't voted

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Here is helpful information about current bus schedules from Santander:


nikolai79 - Jan 10, 2006 2:01 pm - Voted 5/10

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Why don´t you change the name of the page?

Picos de Europa GROUP would be better


nikolai79 - Jan 10, 2006 2:06 pm - Voted 5/10

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* Montañas de León (in Spanish only)

Ramón Lozano, Santiago Morán
Editorial Everest
ISBN 84-241-0404-8

Description in detail of more than one hundred routes across the mountain of the León province, including the Picos de Europa Area and many others.

* Picos de Europa (in Spanish only)

Bernardo Canga, Carmen Piñán
Editorial Everest
ISBN 84-241-0065-4

A journey guide, not technical at all, but useful if you want to know the area and something else about culture and people and animal who lived there.


nikolai79 - Jan 10, 2006 2:57 pm - Voted 5/10

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More than 2000 meters West Massif (Macizo Occidental - Cornión)

* Altos de la Canal 2138 m
* La Aguja de Enol 2362 m
* La Torrezuela 2302 m
* Los Moledizos 2262 m
* Peña de Cueva Blanca 2185 m
* Peña Santa de Castilla 2596 m
* Peña Santa de Enol / Torre de Santa María 2478 m
* Picos de Pambuches 2185 m
* Picu Cotalba 2028 m
* Picu Cuetalbo 2165 m
* Picu Cuvicente 2015 m
* Picu Los Cabrones 2290 m
* Picu Los Estribos 2305 m
* Picu de Les Tres Maríes 2415 m
* Picu de Los Asturianos 2250 m
* Picu de Los Traviesos 2395 m
* Picu de La Cabra Blanca 2377 m
* Picu de La Canal Parda 2369 m
* Picu de la Canal Vaquera 2044 m
* Picu El Camperón 2010 m
* Picu El Cotalbín 2193 m
* Picu El Requexón 2170 m
* Picu La Garita Cimera 2250 m
* Picu La Jorcada 2130 m
* Picu La Robliza 2248 m
* Picu La Verdilluenga 2129 m
* Picu Los Tres Poyones 2049 m
* Porru La Capilla 2170 m
* Porru La Mazada 2080 m
* Punta del Verde 2177 m
* Punta Extremera 2134 m
* Tiro La Llera 2286 m
* Torre Bermeja 2393 m
* Torre Ciega 2393 m
* Torre de Enmedio 2465 m
* Torre de Lueje 2130 m
* Torre del Torco 2450 m
* Torre de los Cabritos 2030 m
* Torre Parda 2314 m
* Torres de Cebolleda 2438 m
* Torres de Los Agaos: 2130 m

More than 2000 meters Central Massif (Macizo Central - Urrieles )

* Altu del Pardón 2137 m
* Cabeza Las Moñas 2073 m
* Cabeza Las Tablas 2026 m
* Cabezu Tortoriu 2163 m
* Corona del Rasu 2148 m
* Cuetu del Trave 2241 m
* El Carnizosu 2432 m
* El Llambrión 2642 m
* El Neverón del Urriellu 2559 m
* El Tiro Tirso 2653 m
* La Garmona 2281 m
* La Padierna 2319 m
* La Torre Blanca 2617 m
* Peña Castil 2444 m
* Peña Remoña 2229 m
* Peña Vieja 2613 m
* Picos de Juan de la Cuadra 2253 m
* Picos Urrieles 2501 m
* Pico de Santa Ana 2596 m
* Picu del Albo 2447 m
* Torre del Friero 2445 m
* Picu El Escamellau 2014 m
* Picu La Morra 2544 m
* Picu la Palanca 2614 m
* Picu la Párdida 2572 m
* Picu Los Cabrones 2553 m
* Picu Los Campanarios 2571 m
* Pico Tesorero 2570 m
* Picu Urriellu / Naranjo de Bulnes / El Picu 2519 m
* Tiros de Santiago 2602 m
* Tiro Llago 2567 m
* Torre Bermeja 2606 m
* Torre de Cerredo o Torrecerreu 2648 m
* Torre de Enmedio 2056 m
* Torre de los Horcados Rojos 2515 m
* Torre del Hoyo Oscuro 2417 m
* Torre del Osu 2460 m
* Torre Salinas 2446 m

More than 2000 meters East Massif (Macizo Oriental - Ándara )

* Cuetu Tejau 2128 m
* Pared Corbera 2007 m
* Peña Bermeja 2155 m
* Pico Cortés 2370 m
* Pico de Mazarrasa 2158 m
* Pico del Castillo 2198 m
* Pico del Jierro 2438 m
* Pico del Sagrado Corazón 2212 m
* Pico El Evangelista 2428 m
* Pico La Inagotable 2246 m
* Pico Samelar 2227 m
* Pico Soriano 2168 m
* Pico Valcayo 2027 m
* Pico Valdedominguero 2226 m
* Picu Arce 2286 m
* Picu de La Junciana 2061 m
* Picu El Castillo del Grajal 2052 m
* Picu El Jisu 2170 m
* Prau Cortés 2287 m
* Silla Caballo 2350 m
* Tabla o Morra de Lechugales 2441 m
* Tiro de La Infanta 2261 m


nikolai79 - Jan 10, 2006 2:59 pm - Voted 5/10

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Peña Santa de Castilla

Peña Vieja


nikolai79 - Jan 13, 2006 7:49 pm - Voted 5/10

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I enclose an external link to the superb web site

mike stuart

mike stuart - Feb 3, 2006 3:09 am - Hasn't voted

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The warden of the Cabana Veronica, Sr. Mariano, does not "own" the refugio but DOES live there all year round and provides an invaluable resource for mountaineers. (Espero que no me rinera por esto.)


kabernicola - Apr 17, 2007 1:51 pm - Voted 7/10

It´s just an advice

good page, but might not all the mountains (naranjo, cerredo...)go as children as Peña (not "Pena", that is "sadness" in spanish for godshake!) Castil does?

Diego Sahagún

Diego Sahagún - Jun 30, 2009 7:13 pm - Hasn't voted

Rutas guiadas gratuitas por los Picos de Europa

Diego Sahagún

Diego Sahagún - Jul 22, 2009 5:48 pm - Hasn't voted

La gestión de Picos de Europa será compartida en el 2010


nitram - Oct 20, 2010 10:20 am - Voted 9/10

Picos Guidebook in English

If you are thinking of heading to the Picos de Europa, then download the Climbers Companions eBook. Its written in English and give loads of useful info about logistics of climbing in the picos. Its a must if you don't read Spanish!

Viewing: 1-11 of 11



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