A SCENIC MOTORCYCLE RIDE IN THE HEART OF LOS PICOS OF EUROPE
Los Picos de Europa is a mountain range in Spain a few kilometers south of the northern Spanish coast overlooking the Bay of Biscay. It is the biggest national park in Europe and extends over three historic regions of Spain: Asturias, Cantabria, and Castilla y León. In this area, ancient glaciations shaped the karst territory, forming high mountains and deep valleys creating different but always charming landscapes. Therefore this territory is an ideal place for this 1,239 km long motorcycle ride on scenic winding roads crossing ancient villages while enjoying stunning panoramas.
The starting point is San Sebastian located almost on the border with the north-western corner of France. This picturesque seaside resort is famous for two of the most beautiful beaches in the world: Playa de la Concha and Playa de Ondarretauna. From San Sebastian to Cangas de Onís, which is the gateway to the Los Picos of Europe, there is about 320 km of riding your motorcycle, but along the way, there are many interesting attractions to visit, such as the Urdaibai River Nature Reserve, where there is a suggestive Mirador (a panoramic viewpoint) where you can enjoy beautiful panoramas, or the cities of Bilbao, Santander, and Arenas de Cabrales in Asturias. From here you will head towards another Mirador where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Naranjo de Bulnes (2,519 m above sea level), the highest peak of this mountain range. Left behind this Mirador you will reach the ancient village of Tresviso in Cantabria, riding your motorcycle on the winding road of the Jitu de Escarandi, one of the most thrilling roads of the Vuelta, the cycling tour of Spain.
Keeping on riding your motorbike you will arrive at the enchanting village of Covadonga featuring the suggestive Basílica de Santa María la Real. After about ten kilometers, you will reach the two beautiful Lakes of Covadonga. The climbing road leading to these two bodies of water is also part of the Vuelta. After passing Cangas de Onís, you will finally enter the heart of the Los Picos de Europa. A few more kilometers riding your motorcycle and here you are at the "Stelvio" Asturiano! It has little to share with the famous Italian Stelvio Pass (that is unique in our opinion) despite his name: here you have to settle "only" for the 20 tight hairpin bends that lead to the Iglesia de San Juan, a small and mystical church. Anyway, you will have fun here too riding your two-wheelers!
Left behind Stelvio Asturiano, you will enter the wild Desfiladero de Los Beyos which is a 12 km long deep and narrow canyon formed over the millennia by the waters of the Sella river. A little further on you will turn into the Oseja de Sajambre valley, located in the Cantabrian mountains, a very suggestive area and natural habitat of eagles, bears, wolves, lynxes and wild boars.
After crossing the Puerto del Ponton pass, 1,280 m. above sea level, you will ride down towards Riaño and the artificial lake of the same name also called the Leonese Fjords for its particular shape. If you like you can also take a catamaran and sail on the lake enjoying this beautiful environment. Then, head towards Caín de Valdeón entering the wildest mountains of the Los Picos de Europa. You will follow a narrow road, carved out of the rocks, and surrounded by stunning views. Climb to the Mirador del Tombo (viewpoint) so you can enjoy the impressive scenery this mountain range offers.
Continue climbing up on the wide and curvy road of Puerto de San Glorio, 1609 m. above sea level. Some more kilometers and there is the Mirador del Corzo offering great views of the Port of San Glorio you have just crossed. A little further on, it is time to stop at the Mirador de Santa Catalina, one of the most panoramic points in Cantabria overlooking the Hermida gorge. Then you will turn around the Sierra de Peña Sagra crossing the Puerto de Piedrasluengas pass (1355 m.a.s.l.). Mirador Fuente del Chivo, 1,980 m. above sea level will offer the last spectacular view of the awesome Los Picos de Europa before riding back to San Sebastian, the starting and ending point of this beautiful motorcycle ride tour.