Road Trip 05: Covadonga and the Lakes (Picos de Europa II)

Driving time / km:

Approximately 2 h 30 mins / 110 km

Itinerary:

  • el gran sueño - Cangas de Onís: 35 mins / 35 km (N-634 - N-625)
  • Cangas de Onís - Lakes of Covadonga: 38 mins / 22.5 km (AS-114 - AS-262 - CO-4)
  • Lakes of Covadonga - Covadonga: 28 mins / 13.5 km (CO-4)
  • Covadonga - el gran sueño: 50 mins / 39.5 km (AS-262 - AS-114 - N-625 - N-634)

This is our most popular day trip, visiting the Asturian side of the Picos de Europa, the first national park ever created in Spain, in 1918, and the largest limestone formation in Atlantic Europe, with numerous peaks over 2000m. In the summer months and many weekends you cannot access the lakes by private car. Instead, you have to use dedicated shuttle buses or taxis. We recommend parking in the Parking Grande in Cangas de Onís, where you can take the available public transport to visit both Covadonga and the lakes.

The lakes of covadonga Asturias

Cangas de Onís. To park, we recommend using the Parking Grande, next to the Bus Station, especially if it is Sunday, market day in Cangas de Onís. From here, once you cross the pedestrian bridge over the river you are practically in the centre. Cangas de Onís was the first capital of the kingdom of Asturias. The famous Roman Bridge is not Roman but from the 14th century.

Lakes of Covadonga. There are two lakes. First, you will see Lake Enol and then Lake Ercina, where the road ends. From here there is a well marked circular walk which is well worth taking. It takes about two hours to complete.

Covadonga is a site of importance for Asturias and Spain because it was here that in 722 the leader of the Visigoths won the battle that prevented the Moors from continuing their advance through these lands. It is worth visiting the basilica, built in 1886-1901, and the Santa Cueva of the Virgin of Covadonga, a traditional place of pilgrimage for many Asturians. We like to access the cave through the upper entrance, on the same level as the basilica. Then we take the stairs down to the fountain below, from where you will find yourself taking a picture of the sanctuary.

Remember that for the return the map indicates a scenic detour through Miyares, Vallobal y Cadanes, but it is not necessary. You can simply continue on the N-634 until the Villaviciosa / Pintueles exit.

Extra alternative visits:

Ribadesella: for those who do not have much time in Asturias and want to do the mountains and the coast on the same day. After visiting Covadonga, they can go and visit Ribadesella (41 mins, 35.5 km from Covadonga). For information on what to do in Ribadesella see Road Trip 2: Llanes and Ribadesella

Recommended restaurants:

  • El Molín de Mingo, Peruyes. It opens Thursdays to Sundays only for lunch.
  • La Sifonería, Cangas de Onís (restaurant, bar and shop)
  • El Molín de la Pedrera, Cangas de Onís
  • Sidrería El Campanu, Cangas de Onís

This trip by car explores the Picos de Europa, with the possibility of knowing legendary places like Covadonga and the lakes of Enol and Ercina.