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Spain / Picos de Europa tour provided by: Andreas Lienhardt


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Tour

Start
POTES - in north of Spain between OVIEDO and SANTANDER

Route


Starting in POTES let you make several different tours through the PICOS DE EUROPA. The most are on roads in good conditions.
Go round on the N 621 to RIANO at the same named lake. Than take the N 625 to CANGAS DE ONIS.

There you should make a little excursion through COVADONGA to the LAGO DE LA ERCINA. This little lake is high in the mountains (alt. near 1000 m). If it is not raining you can enjoy a nice view. Then back and along the AS 114 to PANES. Finally through the „LA HERMIDA“ - valley back to POTES. This is a near 200 km trip with nice curves and a lot up and downs around the PICOS. You also can take a route to the COSTA VERDE, the „green coast“.

Take the road from POTES 25 km to FUENTE DE. At the end of the road it seems like no way out of this valley. But there are several chances to go offroad. A great view of mountains and a cable railway awaits you.

Offroad Tour 1 (to the top of the cable):

When I was there the first time I didn't find the way up, but I knew that there is one. This year I found it and it was great! The entrance is a bit down from FUENTE DE. You have to go to the next little village which is named ESPINAMA. There is a parking on the left side, when you come from FUENTE DE, on the right side is a snack. Now go between the houses through the little village and the gravelroad starts at the end of the houses. The road is easy to ride but sometimes very steep. Drive careful, because the road is also used by walkers and bikers (think about that this is a national park, so protect the nature). After a few kilometers you arrive at some lonley cottages, time for a rest and for a view to the montains arround. After this houses you find a high valley, which is blocked by a door. You can open it if it is closed (it was open then I was there, I think it is used to close the road or to stop the cows). The first day in this summer I have to go back at this point, because a heavy thunderstorm came from the other side of the valley. I tryed it again the next day and it was a beautyful one.

After that gate the road is not so steep anymore. You have to follow the valley a few kilometer till you arrive at a crossing. If you go straight on you reach the other side of the Picos. So you have to go left if you want to go to the cable. Now you are in a fantastic landscape and still going up. Sometimes you are very close to the montains arround you. After a while you arrive at an resturant. Another break if you want.

The final stage begins here. Steep again and some heavy curves. A few kilometers later you arrive at the top of the road, but not the finnish. Between two montains the gravelroad start to go down. You don't have that big space anymore, so you have to be a bit careful again (also more people walking here). After a short while you can see the cable station. There is a small parking and you may meet other bikers or Jeeps. Enjoy the fantastic panoramic-view and as special tip go to the "view-platform" (enjoy the suprise). The road ends here so you have to go back the same way you came. If you go down to the other side of the valley think about that you have a long way back to POTES.

Offroad Tour 2 (from FUENTE DE to RIANO)

I also found a way out of the valley at FUENTE DE. When you are passing the cable station the road seems to end, but it didn't. A gravelroad starts at the end of the normal road. At the beginning you also have to be careful because of many people walking arround. The first kilometer is not very steep but then the road start to go up. After a while you are out of the trees. After the first round up the way follows the valley at the right side of the montains. You have a nice view to the left side montains and the valley. You also pass some lonley farming houses. The road is easy to drive, but then I was there a lot of mud and deep holes have been there (too much rain the days before). At the end of the valley the road changes the side. For a while you think you are going back to FUENTE DE, but not very long and the direction changes again and the road goes up steep.

At the top of the hill you will find a crossing. The way up is a dead end after ca. 4 km but with a nice view. From this point you also have a very nice view to FUENTE DE and the cable station. On the other side you can see the CARES valley. Following the gravelroad down (if you don't want to go back the same way) takes you along the hills without loosing much altitude. The road is again easy to ride. After a few kilometers you find a normal road. Going down takes you to the CARES valley (Dead end!!) up to RIANO. There you find a gas station. (It's also a long way back to POTES; watch your map!)

Offroad Tour 3 (from LA HERMIDA to the montains; heavy)

Going down from POTES to the LA HERMIDA - valley. When you arrive at the little village LA HERMIDA there is a road on the left side going to BEGES . The road takes you up to a side valley. After a little while you arrive in the little village. Cross through the hole village and it is going up steep. At the end of the houses the gravelroad begins. It is going up heavyly. The gravelroad is very bad with deep holes and big stones (difficult specially when you are two persons on an @). After you climbed up the hill you have again a phantastic view over the montains and to the coast. The road is going on flat now. After a while it is getting more difficult again. It seems the path isn't used since years. It's a lot of work to direct the @ on the way. After some small changes of the direction the way follows again the valley. It's impressing to ride near the rocks and the space down (also a great view down). At the end of the valley the road is absolutely mad and going up again realy steep. Very difficult to ride because of the big rocks you have to go between (my girlfriend was walking, because she thought she might fall over). At the top of the hill you may have the big suprise like me. Suddenly you arrive at a normal road, which takes you down to the next village SOTRES (from here you also can arrive the cable-station) or to TRESVISO where the road ends.


Camping

  • POTES or at the coast

Sights in the area

Special tipps:
  • When I was in the Picos, there was a lot of rain. In this part of Spain (Costa Verde) it is raining frequently. The funny thing was it only rained till the middle of the LA HERMIDA, when the sun came. If you go a few kilometres inside the land the chance for sun is higher.
  • Taste the food of the region !
  • If you donīt want to ride your @, you can ride with horses into the mountains
  • For other activities you can get informations at the campings
Sights:
  • CARES valley (ca. 20 km long, deep and nice valley, only to make by your feet, because it is a national park. You can reach it at both endings)
  • COVADONGA (Pilgrimage)
  • some dams (lakes). (EMBALSE DE RIANO etc. watch your map)

WWW Links


Andreas Lienhardt put together some fantastic Web ressources about Spain and Andorra.

Pictures

Pictures are included in the text. :-)


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