About The Picos De Europa
The Picos de Europa are a range of dramatic mountains inland from the northern coast of Spain. They straddle the 3 regions of Asturias, Cantabria, Leon and Castille. The name derives from ships arriving from America and these were the first landmark “The Peaks Of Europe”
The Picos de Europa consists of three massifs Central, Eastern and Western. The Picos are mainly limestone and thousands of years of weather and glacial action has sculpted the peaks into some awesome landscapes.
The central and western massifs are separated by the breathtaking Cares Gorge(Garganta del Cares), a 1.5km deep gorge with a stunning path running along the water canal that feeds two hydro electric stations. The highest peak is Torre de Cerredo at 2650m but the most recognisable peak is Naranjo de Bulnes or Picu Urriellu at 2529m.
The Picos De Europa, has Cantabrian brown bears (Ursus arctos pyrenaicus) and wolves (Canis lupus signatus) live in the more remote regions. There are about 150 bears in the massifs and they are timid. There are roughly 2000 grey wolf in Spain with only a fraction of the population exsisting in the Picos. The main mammal you will encounter is the Rebeccos(Cantabrian Chamois), there were reportedly 8000 sightings in 2008.
Bilbao has more than a dozen museums covering a range of fields including art, science, and sport, which have played a central role in Bilbao being named one of the creative cities in the world.
Museums include the famous Guggenheim Museum Bilbao of contemporary art, designed by Frank Gehry and opened on 19 October 1997. Another important museum is the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum,established in 1908 and housing a notable collection of Spanish and other European work. Bilbao is also home to the Basque Museum, which showcases Basque archaeology, ethnography, and history.
There are an array of excellent restaurants and tapas bars in Bilbao making this an excellent city to visit after a long weeks walking in the Picos De Europa.
Cares Gorge - Garganta Del Cares
The Cares Gorge (Garganta del Cares) is enormous, outstandingly beautiful in its upper reaches, and unmissable if you are anywhere near the Picos de Europa.
The river Cares has carved an improbable gorge through the heart of the huge limestone Picos range, dividing its Western and Central massifs. This chasm is a mile deep in places, with vast rock walls on both sides.
The river has been partially diverted for hydroelectric power, water coursing down a canal built into the mountain itself, and walkers can use the related maintenance path. This is an impressive feat of engineering, clinging to the cliff face and tunnelling through live rock. Although the track is wide and easy, its not the best place for sufferers from vertigo.
Fuente De Teleferico - Cable Car
No trip to the Picos is complete without a journey on the cable car at Fuente De - a dizzying 750 m climb along a 1.5km cable. Its a great way to gain substantial height before starting a walk. Excellent views from the top when you open your eyes again!