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The Ruta del Cares: Seven-Hour Megahike

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Looking for a Hotel in the Picos de Europa?

The Picos de Europa are a huge mountain range that straddles the border between Asturias, Cantabria and León, just twenty kilometers from the ocean, and a paradise for mountain climbers, nature lovers and hikers.

Sun Hike

Juergen and I fall into that latter group for sure, so we embarked on the most famous hike through the Picos: The Ruta del Cares. Connecting the tiny villages of Poncebos and Caín, it’s a 24km, seven-hour roundtrip hike. That’s a lot, but the seven hours are packed with breathtaking nature, and fairly easy.

The river Cares has carved an immense and exhilaratingly narrow canyon into the Picos. The route travels alongside the river, high up into the mountains, through tunnels and along cliff faces. It was developed in the early 20th century for workers of the Electra de Viesgo company, who needed to reach the canal which still runs between the two villages. The hike has since become incredibly popular, and welcomes over 200,000 adventurers a year.

The Ruta del Cares starts with a long ascent, and before long we were high above the river. It leveled out from there, as we entered the canyon. I experienced some mild vertigo. In such a narrow canyon gap with sheer cliff faces towering high over your head and the river so far below, it’s easy to become disoriented.

There were long stretches through dark tunnels, over bridges high above the river, and we passed by a few waterfalls. By the time we reached Caín, we were exhausted but in great spirits. The first half of the hike had gone quickly by and, after a quick lunch, I didn’t dread the thought of returning the same way. The chance to see the canyon again was a powerful incentive.

If you’re fit enough and enjoy the outdoors, don’t miss this hike. But try and pick an off-season day during the week, as the route is truly popular and, on summer weekends, the number of people can be overwhelming.

Location of Poncebos (Start)
Plan of the Hike in Wikiloc
Detailed Info in Spanish on the Hike

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October 20, 2010 at 8:39 pm Comments (6)

The Lakes of Covadonga

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A road winds from the religious playland of Covadonga through a mountainous landscape, and ends at Enol and Ercina, twin glacial lakes separated at birth by a hilly clump of land.

Asturien

The lakes are only twelve kilometers away from Covadonga, but the steep, curvy drive requires 30 minutes to complete, and even more than that on busy days. Los Lagos de Covadonga are a popular destination; a gratifying breath of fresh air after the overly religious, incense-impregnated atmosphere of Covadonga.

Although the amount of tourists detracts from the sense of tranquility Enol and Ercina might otherwise possess, they’re still worth visiting. A number a hiking routes pass by, and there are tables for picnics.

Location on our Day Trips Map

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Ercina

Rent your car for your Asturias Road Trip there

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October 13, 2010 at 5:09 pm Comment (1)

Mirador del Fito

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The road between Colunga and Arriondas winds through the Sueve mountain range. Midway through the drive, is a viewpoint called the Mirador del Fito, which offers an incredible view of the ocean, valleys and the Picos de Europa in the distance.

When we arrived yesterday morning, a heavy fog had enveloped the valley below, and the scene was of breathtaking beauty.

Location of Mirador del Fito on our Day Trips Map

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October 10, 2010 at 1:36 am Comments (2)
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