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Picos De Europa

Picos Europa, Spain

The first National Park in Spain

The Picos de Europa National Park was the first one to be awarded that designation in Spain. Its history goes back to 1918, when don Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa, promoted the law to create the Montaña de Covadonga National Park, which was named Picos de Europa National Park on 30 May 1995. This natural area was awarded the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation in 2002.

The Picos de Europa Mountains are made up of three important massifs: eastern or Andara massif, central or Urrieles massif, and western or Cornión massif. Its climate is humid and rainy, because it is affected by the sea (which is only 20 kilometres away). It snows in winter but it is not strange to find year-round snowfields. Because of the park's special climatology, there are often fog banks, much feared by mountain climbers. Regarding its orography, it stands out because of its strong relief, where high peaks are followed by deep ravines and canyons. In more than 200 spots the mountains are over 2,000 metres above sea level and there are slopes that are more than 2,300 metres high. The central massif is the most abrupt of the three, with the highest peaks: Torrecerredo (2,646 metres), the highest peak in the range, Naranjo de Bulnes (2,519 metres) and Pico Tesorero (2,570 metres). The eastern massif is the longest one, where high summits, such as Peña Santa de Castilla (2,596 metres) alternate with meadows, hill forests, beech forests, oak groves and heathland. In this massif you'll find the famous Covadonga Lakes. The eastern massif is shorter and lower, and the sharp crags contrast with the green pastureland. There are four rivers flowing through the park, along deep ravines: Deva River in La Hermida gorge; Sella River in Los Beyos gorge; Cares River in the "Garganta Divina" ravine; and Duje River in La India gorges. There are many viewpoints from where we can contemplate its beauty. A good option is to use the Fuentedé cable car which will take you higher than 1,800 metres above sea level.

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