The rugged mountain range 20 km south of the Costa Verda reaches an altitude of over 2,000 m (6,500 ft.) in places. The steep drop-off to the nearby sea led to the creation of valleys cut out by the rapidly flowing streams. The highest peak at 2,645 m (4,250 ft.) is the Torre de Cerredo, which marks the most scenic section of the 40 km long range. A national park was established in the region back in 1918 and extended in 1995. The park is home to brown bears, rare bearded vultures and various species of eagles. The area is a paradise for hikers as well as history buffs: Covadonga is considered the cradle of modern Spain. It was here that the Christian Visigoths won their first battle over the invading Moors in 722, thus paving the way for the liberation of the Iberian Peninsula.
The small town where Spain was born
This small town in the Picos de Europa is regarded as the place where Spain was born. A handful of Visigoth warriors had hidden themselves in this rugged wilderness after their kingdom had been laid waste by the Moors. They erected a sanctuary to Maria in the caves of Covadonga, and during the Battle of Covadonga, the leader of the Christian army won the very first victory against Muslim troops. This success is considered the start of the Reconquista. Here, you can see the basilica and monastery with a view of the Picos de Europa, as well as the cave housing the “Virgen de Covadonga” (Virgin of Covadonga) and the bones of King Pelayos.