Category Archives: Natural and National Parks in Asturias

The Picos de Europa National Park

  • Region: Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León
  • Province: Asturias, Cantabria, León
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1918 enlarged in 1995
  • Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve 2003
  • Z.E.P.A
  • Park surface area: 64.660 hectares

Points of interest

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.

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Ponga Natural Park

  • Region: Asturias.
  • Declared a Natural Park: 2003.
  • Park surface area: 20,533 hectares.
  • Place of Community Importance of Ponga-Amieva.
  • Ponga-Amieva Special Conservation Area.
  • Special Protection Area for Bird (ZEPA)
  • Peloño Partial Nature Reserve.
  • Towns and villages in the Area: Ponga, San Juan de Beleño, Sobrefoz

Points of interest

Ponga Natural Park is located in the central-eastern area of the Cantabrian Mountains entirerly within the environs of the town of its namesake, Ponga.

The most noteworthy of its mountain ranges comprises the sector of the Cantabrian mountains forming its southern boundary, constituting the watershed between the basins of the Rivers Sella and Duero and home to peaks such as El Abedular (1,813 m), Les Pandes (1,879 m) and Ten Crag (2,142 m), among others. Ponga Ridge constitutes its western boundary, with noteworthy peaks such as Maciéndome (1,899 m) Tiatordos (1,951 m) and Campigüeños (1.838 m).

The most important rivers in the area are the Sella, which runs through the eastern part of the territory to continue its course through Amieva and the Ponga, which runs from south to north. The local tributaries of the River Sella include the Roabin and the Rivers Mojizo, Porciles and Santa Bustia. The most important tributaries of the River Ponga are the Taranes and El Valle Moro. Most of these river valleys are narrow with sheer slopes, the most spectacular cases being those of Ponga Gorge and Beyos Gorge.

The economic importance of the forest in the recent history of Ponga and its inhabitants has always been present since ancient times. Forests such as Peloño and Semeldón were subjected to massive logging on several occasions for shipbuilding and to meet the demand for fuel in forges and ironworks, fed with charcoal. To a lesser extent, the wood burned in the limekilns to obtain lime also significantly influenced the decline of the forest masses in the region.

Thankfully logging is now highly controlled or banned and the natural park is a safe haven to the wildlife that inhabit it.

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More than a third of the Ponga Natural Park is made up of mature forests such as oak, birch, ash, maple and alder and the main forest in the area is called Bosque de Peloño. This is located in the southeast of the natural park and covers approximately 1,500 hectares.. Beech, however, is most predominant and together with other numerous forests scattered around the park they represent places of great importance since they are a vital habitat for emblematic and endangered species.

Along with these wooded formations, thickets and plantations alternate, reflecting the human management of the landscape. Among the bushes, heaths, gorse and broom stand out and among the plantations, chestnut trees (especially in the central area of ​​the park).

Among the flora of the Park it is worth mentioning the presence of the Asturian daffodil (Narcissus asturiensis) and the gentian (Gentiana lutea) both cataloged as species of special Interest in the Regional Catalog of Threatened Flora of Asturias.


The excellent state of conservation of the habitats in this natural park makes it possible to find some of the most emblematic species of the Cantabrian mountains. Among the mammals, the otter (Lutra lutra) and the desman (Galemys pyrenaicus) Also there is the occasional presence of the brown bear (Ursus arctos).

The Ponga Natural Park is also included in the Natural Network as a Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA). This is due to a rich and diverse bird fauna mainly composed of forest species such as the Cantabrian grouse (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus) and the middle spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius) or birds of prey such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus ) and goshawk (Acipitter gentilis).

Information/Visitors Centers

Ponga Natural Park Interpretation centre

The Interpretation Center of the Ponga Natural Park, in the town of San Juan de Beleño, offers visitors an interesting tour and covers themes of human history in the area, towns, traditions and crafts as well as the expected exhibitions on the natural history, flora and fauna of Asturias.

If you are interested in hiking and walking in the area then this office has a good selection of local maps and guides.

Opening Times
Spring and Summer – Monday to Saturday 9 am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 7pm. (Sundays 9am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm).
Autumn and Winter – Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 2 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm (Sundays 9 am to 2pm) Closed on Mondays


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Redes Natural Park

  • Region: Asturias.
  • Park surface area: 37,700 hectares.
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1996.
  • Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve; 2001.
  • Site of Community Importance.
  • Special Protection Area for Birds (ZEPA).
  • 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.

One of the most visited places in the park is the plain of Brañagallones, a typical braña vaqueira (mountain shelter for farmers and animals) where there is now a mountain refuge for hikers.


The vegetation is dominated by forests of beech and oak especially in the upper parts of the basins of the Nalón and Ponga rivers. Holly, yew and ferns such as Trichomanes speciosum are also present. In the Llagu Ubales area the reed fern (Isoetes velatum) is present. This is a species of ecological value, highly protected and can also found in the Arbás Lagoon. In the area of ​​the Pico Vamartín peat bogs there is a population of woolly reed (Eriophorum angustifolium) which is the only one existing in Asturias.

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In addition to the iconic Iberian wolf and Cantabrian brown bear present in the Natural park, other mammals include the brown hare (Lepus castroviejoi), the Iberian desman (Galemis pyrenaicus), an insectivore that inhabits streams and rivers with clean and oxygenated waters. Chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica parva), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), wild boar (Sus scrofa), Stone Marten (Martes martes), badger (Meles meles), wild cat (Felis silvestris), fox (Vulpes vulpes), Iberian mole (Talpa occidentalis) and grey dormouse (Glis glis).

We can also find some species of chiropterans such as the small horseshoe bat (Rinolophus hipposideros) Mediterranean horseshoe bat (Rinolophus euryale ), large horseshoe bat (Rinolophus ferrun-equinum), long-tailed bat (Tadarida teniotis), the dwarf bat (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) and the riparian bat (Myotis daubentoni).

The diversity of birdlife in the park is very high, thanks also to the different and varied types of habitats. The presence of the Cantabrian grouse (Tetrao urogallus) is of great interest , a species ” in danger of extinction” that lives in the extensive beech forests of the Park. Also present are golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), alpine sparrow (Montifringilla nivalis) and grey partridge (P. perdix). in higher areas you may be very lucky to spot the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius).

In addition to a variety of snakes, such as the southern smooth snake (Coronella girondica), the European smooth snake (Coronella austriaca ) and the collared or water snake (Natrix natrix ) in this area two lacértids are worth highlighting as they are Iberian endemisms. Schreibers black-green lizard (Lacerta schreiberi) and the Iberian rock or “mountain” lizard (Iberolacerta monticola). The males of the former are very striking in mating season due to the strong blue color of their heads. They are usually seen on the edges of forests and in rocky and high mountain thickets.

Information/Visitors Centers

Redes-Caso Nature Park Reception and Interpretation Centre.

The Reception and Interpretation Center of the Redes Natural Park is located in the town of Campo de Caso on the road towards Puerto de Tarna.

In the interpretation center you will find all the information you need to get the most out of a visit to the Redes Natural Park. There is a permanent exhibition covering the geology, flora, fauna and culture of the area through photographs and explanatory texts. There is also an audiovisual room with capacity for 50 people showing a film about the area, its people and wildlife.

Opening times

October 1 to May 31.
Tuesday to Saturday, and holidays: From 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Sunday: From 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Monday: closed.

June 1 to September 30
Monday to Saturday, and holidays: From 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday: From 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Web: (In Spanish)

The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.

Peña Ubiña – La Mesa Natural Park

  • Region: Asturias
  • Declared a Natural Park: 2002.
  • Declaered UNESCO biosphere reserve: 2012
  • Park surface area: 35,793 hectares.
  • Towns and Villages in the area: Teverga, Quirós, Lena and Yernes y Tameza.

Points of interest

Peña Ubiña – La Mesa natural Park (in Asturian Parque natural de Les Ubiñes-La Mesa) is a natural park located in the central area of ​​the Cantabrian mountain range. The Ubiña massif is more than 2400 meters high with the Picos del Fontán and Peña Ubiña at 2417 meters above sea level. The valleys are formed by the basins of the Taja, Valdecarzana and Val de Sampedro / Páramo river.

As well as the main Natural Park area there are other protected areas of great cultural, wildlife and botanical interest:

  • Somiedo regional hunting reserve.
  • Protected landscape of Peña Ubiña.
  • Partially declared a Site of Community Importance of Peña Ubiña.
  • Montovo-La Mesa Place of Community Importance.
  • Partially declared a Special Protection Area for the Birds of Ubiña-La Mesa.
  • Protected landscape of Picu Caldoveiru.
  • Natural monument of the Ports of Marabio.

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The entire park is an area of ​​great biodiversity and is in an excellent state of conservation with a third of its surface occupied by forests of high ecological value. The forest mass of the park is made up mostly of beech accompanied by sessile oak, birch, yew, ash, maple and alder.

Scrubland, valleys and pastures contain junipers, laurel and holly. The Asturian dafodil (Narcissus asturiensis) and gentians are among my favorite flowering plants.

Special mention should be made of the lagoon vegetation areas, which, although small in size, have great ecological wealth. These areas are made up of ponds, lagoons and peat bogs. Of the latter, those in the area of ​​Lake El Llegu in Lena stand out.


The presence of the Cantabrian brown bear stands out and also within the park you can find species such as wild boar (Sus scrofa), roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus ) and chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica). Other mammals present are Iberian wolf, fox, marten, genet, wildcat, badger, otter and desman .

Also present are the birds that normally inhabit wooded areas such as the Cantabrian grouse (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus) and the black woodpecker (Dryocopus martius)

The birds that inhabit the high mountain areas are woth a mention such as the alpine sparrow (Montifringilla nivalis), alpine accentor (Prunella collaris), grey wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe), alpine pipit (Anthus spinoletta), wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria) and grey partridge (Perdix perdix) .

Among the raptors present, griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) are worth looking out for.

Also in the area

The Peña Ubiña – La Mesa Natural Park is an area of ​​great archaeological value and the Fresnedo Rock Shelters near the town of Fresnedo are worth a visit as are the forts of Focella and Barrio (Teverga), Ricabo and El Collao (Quirós). These sites linked to the Vía de La Carisa and the Visigoth fortifications of Homón de Faro (Lena). There is also the Camino Real del Puerto de la Mesa, a Roman road built on top of a path already used by the first settlers of the area.

Cueva Huerta Natural Monument.

Declared Natural Monument in 2002, this is one of the largest caves in Asturias. It consists of about 15 km of galleries of great speleological interest. Part of the cave can be visited but most of the cave is closed to preserve a colony of bats. Find out about visitng this cave in the information centre (see below)

Information/Visitors Centers

Centro de Información del Parque Natural Las Ubiñas – La Mesa

From this Information centre you can find out all you need to know to get the best out of a visit to the area. Topics covered are Las Ubiñas-La Mesa Biosphere Reserve, Las Ubiñas-La Mesa Natural Park, Natural Monument of the Ports of Marabio and the Cueva Huerta Natural Monument.

Address: In the area of the town of Lena look for Tuiza Riba.

Opening times

Winter – Open weekends, from 10:30 am.
Summer – Open from 10:30 am.

Closed on Mondays

The Grazalema Guide

The best way to see all our web projects in one place is over at the Grazalema Guide.

The Grazalema Guide – Tourist Information Portal for the Sierra de Grazalema, Wildside Holidays, The town of Ronda and the Caminito del Rey.