The first Spanish National Park
Picos de Europa is the first Spanish National Park to receive this classification. Its origin dates back to 1918, when don Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa, helped establish the law to create Montana de Covadonga National Park. Since 30 May 1935, it has been called Picos de Europa National Park.
The Picos de Europa consist of three important massifs that go by the names of the Eastern Massif or Andara, Central Massif or Urrielles and Western Massif or Cornion. The climate is characterized by humidity and constant rainfall, a fact that is determined by its proximity to the sea (barely 20 kilometres). The presence of snow is accentuated during the winter months, however, it is not unusual for there to be perpetual snow. The Park's special climate means that there are frequent fog banks, something that is greatly feared by mountaineers. As for its orography, the Park has an exceptional relief, where high summits alternate with deep gorges and canyons. The park boasts 200 heights of over 2,000 metres, and vertical drops of over 2,300 m. The Central Massif is the most abrupt of the three that make up the Park and the greatest heights can be found there: Torrecerredo (2,646 m), the highest summit in the Picos, Naranjo de Bulnes (2,519 m) or Pico Tesorero (2,570 m). The Western Massif is the most extensive, and it possesses high summits, like Pena Santa de Castilla (2,596 m), intermingled with meadows, hillside forests, beech and oak groves and moors. The famous Covadonga lakes can be found on this massif.