Finally. Finally I can tell you about those beautiful highlands in the center of northern Spain. Before coming here I never heard of them. Ever. Guess you as well. Somewhere in between Santiago de Compostella, Burgos and Bilbao you can feel like you're on top of the world.
Ranging roughly through all of Asturias and some parts of Cantabria and Castilla Leon, the Picos de Europa are an awesome place for hiking here in Spain. From Santander you drive along the sea for about an hour until you reach the beginning. From here the landscape starts to be very rocky and the roads get more and more narrow. Driving from one end to the other takes you ages, because it's just narrow and curvy. However it's worth it.
We've been there for a couple of times by now, hiking some prominent routes. The most well known is the river with the same name.
It's a 12 km one way path along a beautiful gorge. On your way you encounter some semi wild mountain goats and a crystal clear river.
Half way you end up in Caen, a tiny little village at the other end of the mountain.
For me, the impressive thing about this mountains is, that while you're not even very high up, you still feel like it, because of all the rocks and views. On good days you can see up to the see from the highest ones, or far inside. Next time we came back we decided to go deeper to the Asturian part. Compared to the central part, where the Cares route is, this part is far more remote and you need to drive a lot longer to get to some routes. We decided for a spot beginning a few kilometres from a lake.
Following a path over fields with cows, we finally reached the most beautiful view off a rock face, which I unfortunately couldn't photograph because I was to scared at the edge. But you can still get an impression: