Matt Munro

Picos de Europa

The jagged, deeply fissured Picos de Europa straddle southeast Asturias, southwest Cantabria and northern Castilla y León, offering some of Spain's finest walking country – and some of Europe's most spectacular mountain scenery.

The Picos comprise three majestic massifs: the eastern Macizo Ándara, with a summit of 2444m; the western Macizo El Cornión, rising to 2596m; and the particularly rocky Macizo Central (or Macizo de los Urrieles), reaching 2648m. The 671-sq-km Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa covers all three massifs. At the park's higher elevations, open meadows filled with grazing cattle are backed by a wild landscape of sparkling lakes and imposing limestone peaks; down below, sheer rock faces plunge into a series of stunning river gorges.

Virtually deserted in winter, the area bursts with visitors in August. July is not far behind. June and September are quieter and just as likely to be sunny as August.

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