The Picos de Europa are a range of mountains in northern Spain. They form part of the Cordillera Cantabrica, a long chain of mountains running between the Pyrenees to the east and Galicia to the west. They take their name from being the first land seen by sailors returning from the Americas – the “peaks of Europe” – announcing that they were almost home. Most of the range lies within the Picos de Europa National Park (Spain’s oldest national park) which straddles the boundaries of the three autonomous regions of Asturias, Cantabria, and Castilla y León.
The Picos de Europa are a wonderful setting for hiking and mountain-climbing, wildflower-spotting and bird-watching, scenic drives through the valleys and villages, or even pot-holing and rock-climbing for the more adventurous. They are a working landscape, as can be seen by the network of pathways and pastures, farmsteads and barns. They are also an important wildlife area, home to wolves and Cantabrian brown bears, and are included in UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
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