Today’s Doodle celebrates Picos de Europa National Park. Spread across 11 villages in northern Spain, the park is home to meadows, lakes, and a steep, sloping mountain range. On this day (the 17th of September) in 2001, the Bulnes cable car was inaugurated, which ended the isolation of the town of Bulnes which is located in the Picos de Europa. The Bulnes train station can be spotted within the second “G” in today’s Doodle artwork!
The park’s natural beauty and abundant resources attract more than millions of visitors annually. From flourishing grasslands to dense forests, its 67,127 hectares provide ideal dwelling places for protected species like bearded vultures, brown bears, and Iberian wolves. The Cantabrian chamois has become the unofficial mascot of the park. Statues of the mountain goat antelope decorate trail signs and lodging throughout. Picos De Europa is also a flower enthusiast’s paradise with over 40 orchid species and rare fauna like the pulsatilla rubra — known for its vibrant red petals with golden yellow stamens.
In 2003, UNESCO approved Biosphere Reserve status for the park, establishing it as a site for scientific work. Nearly a decade later, Spain extended the park’s boundaries to its current size. Today, Picos de Europa remains one of nature’s wonders and reminds us why we should protect it.
The protected area encompasses these spectacular limestone mountains which are approximately 40 km in length (E-W) and 20 Km wide (N-S). They are situated just 20km inland from the Atlantic coast in northern Spain. This gives them a mixture of both Mediterranean and Temperate climatic influences.
Altitudes range from 75m to 2,646m with 200 points over 2,000 metres, all given greater relief by the depth and steepness of the gorges and ravines cut by the rivers and tributaries. The highest peaks are Torre de Cerredo at 2,646m, Naranjo de Bulnes at 2,519 m and Pico Tesorero at 2,570 m. The latter is where the borders of the three provinces meet.
Partially declared a place of Community importance of Fuentes del Narcea and Ibias.
Place of Community importance of Munieḷḷos.
Partially declared a Special Protection Area for the birdlife of Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias.
Special Protection Area for Birds in the Munieḷḷos area. (ZEPA)
Declared a Muniellos Biosphere Reserve.
Declared a Biosphere Reserve in 2003.
Cueto de Arbás Partial Natural Reserve.
Villages and towns in the area: Cangas del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias
Points of interest
The Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias Natural Park (in Asturian Parque Natural de les Fontes del Narcea, Degaña y Ibias ) is a protected natural area located in Asturias. It borders to the south with the Cantabrian mountain range in Cangas del Narcea, and to the east with the Somiedo natural park.
The park takes its name from the Narcea and Ibias rivers. The natural park encompasses the upper reaches of these two rivers including tributaries from the Collado Alto to Rengos. Within the park area there are the Degaña, Rañadoiru, Obayu, Cagamosa, Caniellas, Soldepuestu and Xenestosu mountain ranges.
This video from the Asturian tourist board has some great sights and sounds
Perhaps the he most important peak is El Cueto de Arbas (2006 m) which gives its name to the extra natural reserve area. Here we can can find beech and oak trees that are well represented on its slopes along with subalpine vegetation. There is also an extensive hydrographic network that has numerous lagoons and peat bogs such as Arbas, Chauchina, Fuentes del Narcea, Reconco, Chagueños and Changreiro that host a rich animal and plant life.
The natural park also has a large number of valleys among which the Degaña valley stands out.
Find a hotel in the Fuentes del Narcea y del Ibias Natural Park
A habitat of wild forest landscapes
In the park there is one of the largest oak groves in Europe called the Munieḷḷos forest which is located in the valley of the same name. The most important beech forest found within the park is Valle De Hermo with an area of 10 km. The mixed woodland also contains birch, chestnut, poplars and many of the other common trees of the Atlantic forest habitat.
Mammals are well represented with the Cantabrian Bear at the top of the list along with. Iberian wolf, roe deer, wild boar and chamois. Also look out for fox, genet, stone marten, wild cat and badger.
(Please note that all opening times are often changed without prior notice but are normally open during the mornings and most weekends)
Casa del Parque Natural de las Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña e Ibias (Courias)
Located in the old stables of the Monastery of Corias this is one the most important information centres and a major entry point to the Natural Park. In addition to housing the natural park administration offices it also has an exhibition space where you can learn about the main characteristics of this extensive territory.
There are also interesting remains of an old cocoa mill belonging to the monastery that was found and partially restored during the buildings restoration.
Aula de la Naturaleza del Parque Natural de las Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña e Ibias (San Antolín)
In this museum you can explore the culture, traditions, architecture and crafts, of the area through fascinating objects, stories, exhibitions and workshops. There is also a fascinating re-creation of a traditional building showing how people lived and worked centuries ago.
The landscape Interpretation Center
The landscape Interpretation Center of the Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias Natural Park is located in Cerredo (Degaña) in a traditional house called Casa Florencio. The house dates from the 19th century.
With its slate roof and a chapel the house represents the traditional architecture of the area. The house holds temporary exhibitions and is also the official tourist office for the village of Degaña.
Centro de Recepción de visitantes de Muniellos (Las Tablizas)
Located in the Muniellos forest in a restored quarry, this is a place where you can learn more about the nature of the Muniellos forest and surrounding areas. There are exhibitions, a cafeteria, a recreational area and two viewpoints accessed by footpaths with stunning views.
Centro de Recepción de Visitantes de Muniellos
This is the ebtry point for the Natural Reserve of Muniellos. Information and a small exhibition showing the flora, fauna and landscape of the area.
Towns and villages in the area: Caso, Sobrescobio.
Points of interest
The Redes Natural Park is mostly covered by large wooded areas, among which its endless beech forests are striking. It is located in the eastern / central area of Asturias. At high altitude there is evidence of glacial erosion that occurred during the Pleistocene period. This glacier modeling allows you to see wide glacial cirques and valleys.
This is an impressive karst landscape with many chasms and sinkholes and there are also high moorlands, pastures and also chestnut plantations. Redes Natural Park is home to all the characteristic species of the north of the peninsula such as the brown bear, capercaillie and Iberian wolf as well as the largest populations of chamois and deer in Asturias.
Fantastic promo video by Turismo Asturias about the Redes natural park
One of the most visited places in the park is the plain of Brañagallones. here you can find the typical braña vaqueira (mountain shelter for farmers and animals) where there is now a mountain refuge for hikers.
The Montaña de Covadonga National Park ( now The Picos de Europa National Park) was established in Asturias in 1918, the first national park in Spain. The now much larger park covers three major massifs – Western, Central and Eastern which are all part of the Cordillera Cantabria range. The dramatic Cares river canyon, which is 1,500m deep, divides the western and central parts.
The protected area encompasses these spectacular limestone mountains which are approximately 40 km in length (E-W) and 20 Km wide (N-S). They are situated just 20km inland from the Atlantic coast in northern Spain. This gives them a mixture of both Mediterranean and Temperate climatic influences. Altitudes range from 75m to 2,646m with 200 points over 2,000 metres, all given greater relief by the depth and steepness of the gorges and ravines cut by the rivers and tributaries. The highest peaks are Torre de Cerredo at 2,646m, Naranjo de Bulnes at 2,519 m and Pico Tesorero at 2,570 m. The latter is where the borders of the three provinces meet.