The Picos de Europa
The Picos de Europa National Park was created in 1918 as the Parque Nacional de la Montaña de Covadonga, becoming the first ever National Park in Spain. In 1995 it was extended to take in the three massifs that make up the current day Picos de Europa and changing its name at the same time.
At 65,000 hectares, it is one of the largest protected areas in the North of Spain, covering land that belongs to three regions: Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla-León.
There is a large variety of interesting plant and animal species to be found in the area: beech forests, high mountain meadows and characteristic exotic plants such as Wolfsbane, digital dwarf alpine lilies, golden eagles, vultures, wolves, otters and chamois.
Likewise, the area is an exponent of the traditional cultures linked to grazing and cheese-making.
The Picos de Europa are made up of three important massifs known as the Eastern Massif (the Andara), the Central Massif (the Urrielles) and the Western Massif (the Cornión). Its climate is characterized by humidity and constant rainfall, a fact of it being close to the sea, only 20 miles away. Snowfall is higher over the winter months but there are some odd snow patches that remain all year round. The park's special climate means there are often dense areas of fog.
In general, the terrain is a bold one, its high peaks alternating with deep gorges and canyons. In the range, there are over 200 peaks which are more than 2,000 metres above sea level and several in excess of 2,300 metres.
For more information, see: http://www.picoseuropa.net/