If you're looking to avoid Spain's main burgs and have a more active holiday in an area of the world not yet overrun with gawking tourists and docking cruise ships, the Picos de Europa are right in your wheelhouse. Located in the municipalities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León in northern Spain, the Picos de Europa range is a majestic confluence of 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) and higher mountain peaks and majestic glacial lakes known for providing spectacular views.
Best explored in the summer months, when bus services into the mountains are consistent and mountain huts are better maintained, this national park is a must for anyone looking for novelty in a natural setting. The most popular hike is the 12 km (7.5 mile) trek through Caros Gorge on a path that skirts the sides of mountains, although the hike from Poncebos to the tiny village on Bolnes is also particularly gratifying.
If you're staying in Covadonga, we suggest you take the bus to the western massif (El Cornion) before you head out into the wilderness. Most trails are well-marked, but if you need more information, visit the Sotama Visitors Center in Cillorigo de Liébana.
Note:The Picos de Europa are about a five hour drive north on the A6 from Madrid, near the Bay of Biscay.