Picos de Europa

Cordiñanes de Valdeón

After we reach our first destination – Posada de Valdeón – we found the caravan parking and had a look at the village. (43.152339, -4.91765)

We then take the bikes out and first head in direction of Cain, but find the street going very much downhill, so we turn around and head instead in the direction of Soto where we find a beautiful path along the river.
We enjoy a sundowner at a local bar and in the evening a nice lady from the village comes to collect the 10,- for parking over night.

Caravan Parking Posada de Valdéon

The next day we want to do the PR 11 from Panderruedas, so we call a cab which takes us to the pass for 15 Euros. We first head a short way up to a lookout point called Piedrashitas, before we start the walk down into the valley through a beautiful beech forest with the ocassional big oak tree. We do not meet anybody for most of the way, which takes us about 3,5 hours.

View from Piedrashitas
PR 11 Panderruedas – Valdeón

Old oak tree

In the afternoon we walk down to a small reservoir of the Cares river, but spend the rest of the day relaxing and the sundowner at the same bar again.

Sunset on the peaks around us

The following morning we leaf early and drive up to Puerto de Panderruedas, where we had been the day before. It was still foggy in the valley but the view from the pass is spectacular. The parking there would be a good spot to spend the night. (43.124937, -4.981636)

View into the valley of Valdeón

We take the N-625 to Cangas de Onis, which is the road through the “Desifiladero de Los Beyo” a narrow canyon which makes it a sensational route.

Desifiladero de Los Beyo

We stop at Cangas de Onis, until 774 capital of the Kingdom of Asturias and the place where Pelayo died. We walk through the village to the famous bridge with the copy of the cross of Pelayo.

Roman bridge with the famous cross of Pelayo

Roman Bridge
Cangas de Onis

Cangas de Onis

We drive on to Covandonga and stop at Parking No 4, where we stay the night. (43.313729, -5.062353)
But first we put the hiking boots on and walk to the bus stop for the buses to the lakes of Covadonga. The weather was not good and the bus service had stopped due to too much fog in the mountains.
So we walk the short distance to Covadonga and have a look at the chapel and the basilica.


Basilica of Santa María la Real of Covadonga

We ask again at the bus stop and they were running again, but we are warned to expect fog. We get on the next bus and drive up the narrow mountain road, something you don’t want to do with a big caravan and oncoming buses. When we reach the lakes we don’t see anything at all. We later found out that we had pased one of the lakes, we just didn’t see it. We walk first to the old mine and than the PR-2 around the lakes. When we come directly to the waterfront, we can see some water, otherwise we just hear the bells of the cows grazing up there.

PR-2 Lagos de Covadonga
Shepherd’s Hut

Earning my lunch at the mine

When we reach the bus stop again after 2,5 hours, we are soaked and manage to get on a leaving bus which takes us down until our parking No 4.

Parking No 4 – 2,- for a day and night

In the evening we had dinner at the very recommandable restaurant just opposite the parking: Restaurante El Repelao.
We order half a cheese plate, which is enourmous, Fabada, a very typical bean dish of Asturias and the grandmother’s pan full of potatoes and fried eggs.

Asturian cheese – very delicous

Fabada – beans prepared with sausages and meat

The next day we work in the morning until the weather gets a little better.
Our next target is Bulnes, so we drive past Arenas de Cabrales to Poncebos, where we park as close as posible to the funicular or cable car.  But instead of driving up we take the path through the valley which took till 2001 also the postman once a week, as the village has still no conection by road.
We reach Bulnes after 2 hours and enjoy a bottle of Sidra before we return. 10 min past Bulnes you reach a look out point for the famous Uriellu peak, which we skip as the clouds are hanging low.

The way up to Bulnes

Aren’t they beautiful ?

Picturesque Bulnes

Sidra served by a profesional

On the way down

2 km back to Arenas de Cabrales, we reach a big parking which we use for the night. (43.2752 , -4.8338)

Parking between Arenas de Cabrales and Poncebos

We didn’t walk up the Cares canyon, which also starts there. Best to stay overnight at this parking and drive in the morning closer to the funicular and park along the road. We will do that next time.

Next morning we drive to Arenas de Cabrales, which is famous for its Cabrales cheese. There is a big parking in the center, where you can stay over night aswell, and just a short walk to an exhibition cheese cave.  (43.3019 , -4.8175) We get a view into a small cave and a guided tour in spanish with a video with english subtitles and some cheese to try at the end.

On the way to Panes, we stop at the cheese dairy of Vega de Tordín. (43.302949, -4.808624) They offer guided tours and show you the whole process of producing Cabrales cheese, but we just buy some cheese at the shop and drive on.
In Panes we turn right in the direction of Potes, following the river Deva into the Desfiladero de la Hermida, another beautiful canyon through the mountains.

Our first stop is at Lebeña to visit the preroman Church of Santa María, which has some Mozarabic influences. It is of course closed for lunch. (43.214919, -4.589949)

Santa María de Lebeña

Santa María de Lebeña

We drive on to Potes where we park behind the Lupa supermarket and head into town. (43.1552 , -4.6188) We like it so much that we decide to stay for the night and go out in the evening.

Caravan parking at Potes behind Lupa supermarket


Torre del Infantado
Beautiful Villa

Potes at night

Lively street

Sidra again!

Beautiful food

Potes at night

In the morning we leve early to drive to Funte Dé to get there in time before the parking gets full. (43.1444 , -4.8118) We take the first cabel-car up to El Cable at 1.847m and walk down past the Avila mountain hotel in 4,5 hours. We have good weather and the route is terrific. At the vast mountain pastures we watch something thrilling: up to 30 vultures coming in to go down in  a spot where we located with the binoculares a dead cow. We watch the spectacle for a while, with a big dog joining them. At the beginning chasing them away, but just a little later they are on the cadaver again. Sadly we have no foto as it was too far away for the camera.

near El Cable

Aviles pastures

Aviles pastures
Down at the beech forest

After this wonderful day, we leave the Picos de Europa and drive to the coast of Cantabria and Asturias.

More about this spectacular coastline in the next post!

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