Picos de Europa

name=Picos de Europa
other_name= _en. Peaks of Europe
etymology=Europe|etymology_type=Named for

image_caption=The peaks of the Central Massif overlooking the village of Sotres, in Cabrales
geology= limestone
period= | period1 =
orogeny= |borders=
area=646 | length= | length_orientation=WE
width= | width_orientation=
highest=Torre de Cerredo

region=Iberian Peninsula
parent=Cantabrian Mountains

The Picos de Europa (literally: "Peaks of Europe") is a range of mountains some 20 km inland from the northern coast of Spain, located in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains. The most widely-accepted origin for the name is that they were the first sight of Europe for the ships arriving from America


It consists of three major massifs - Central, Eastern and Western (also known as the Picos de Cornión). The Central and Western massifs are separated by the mile-deep (1.5 km deep) Cares Canyon (Garganta del Cares), with the village of Caín at its head. The waters in the Cares mostly arise from cave resurgences. Some of the water in the Cares river is diverted through a hydroelectric scheme, with a canal running in the northern wall of the gorge to Camarmeña. An access path next to the canal provides a spectacular walk.

Almost all the rock is limestone and glacial action has contributed to create an extremely impressive area of alpine karst. The highest peak is Torre de Cerredo, with an altitude of 2648 metres at coord|43|11|51|N|4|51|06|W. Many others reach altitudes of over 2400 m. The area is popular with mountaineers, climbers and mountain walkers. There is a good network of well-established mountain refuges. The best-known climbing site is the Naranjo de Bulnes.


Cantabrian brown bears ("Ursus arctos pyrenaicus"), Iberian lynxes ("Lynx pardinus") and wolves ("Canis lupus signatus") live in the remoter regions. Rebeccos (Cantabrian chamois - "Rupicapra pyrenaica parva") are fairly frequently seen (according to a 2006 Ministry of the Environment report, there were around 8,000 that year); Choughs and Buzzards are common and there is a diverse butterfly population in the park.

Most of the region is now protected as a single "Picos de Europa National Park" in Cantabria, Asturias and León provinces of Spain; the Asturian part was Spain's first National Park. Access is via minor roads to each of the three massifs from the north and from the south to the aerial tramway at Fuente Dé and to Caín at the head of the Cares Canyon.


The Picos de Europa contain many of Spain's deepest caves, including Torca del Cerro (−1589 m), Sima de la Cornisa (−1507 m), Torca los Rebecos (−1255 m) and Pozo del Madejuno (−1252 m). Discovery of new caves and their exploration still continues.


The Picos support a dwindling group of shepherds who move up from the valleys in the summer with their sheep, goats, cows, and an occasional pig. The area is famed for its piquant blue cheeses, such as Queso de Cabrales, traditionally matured in caves.

External links

* [http://www.spanishminerals.com/picosdeeuropadata.htm Information (english languaje) about Picos de Europa Mountains]
* [http://www.asturiaspicosdeeuropa.com/ Asturias and the Picos de Europa]
* [http://www.picoseuropa.net/ National Park website and online Picos de Europa mountanieer community]
* [http://www.picoseuropa.info Picos de Europa y Amieva]
* [http://www.llanes.as/guia/pnc/index.htm Picos de Europa at Llanes]
* [http://www.visitasturias.co.uk/subpage1.html2.html Picos de Europa Asturias (English)]
* [http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/homengl.htm Routes in Cantabria and Picos de Europa, in English]
* [http://www.rutasporcantabria.com/picos_pictures.php Pictures of Picos de Europa, in English]
* [http://www.iberianwildlife.com/picos-europa/flora-fauna-picos-europa.htm Picos de Europa: a naturalist's paradise] Wildlife in the Picos de Europa
* [http://www.oucc.org.uk/procs/proc10/proc10_conts.htm Sistema del Hito / Xitu caves]

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Look at other dictionaries:

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