Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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Welcome to The Picos de Europa,

your complete English guide to these beautiful mountains of Northern Spain.

Here you'll find information on the area's wildlife in the nature pages Picos de Europa wildlifewhich are part species identification guides on plants and animals found around the Picos de Europa and part English translations of Spanish news regarding rare species such as the Cantabrian brown bear or threats to their habitat such as the San Glorio ski resort project. Check out the special interest holidays too, such as bear-watching and birdwatching.

Find a friendly place to stay in Picos Holiday Rentals from our selection of self-catering holiday houses and apartments to let in Asturias, Cantabria and Castile-León.

For planning excursions into the mountains you'll need to check current weather conditions and forecasts for the Picos de Europa.

Picos Rock and Snow
And in Picos Rock & Snow you'll find guided mountain activity holidays such as walking and trekking, snowshoeing and ski touring - plus trip reports as well as general mountaineering information. Catch up with the latest expeditions in the Picos Blog. Independent travellers can find trip packages, support and bag transfer services for self-guided routes.

We hope you enjoy your visit to the Picos de Europa, whether virtual or real!


Find a Place to Stay in Asturias

Find a place to stay in Asturias

Find a Place to Stay in Cantabria

Find a place to stay in Cantabria

Find a Place to Stay in Leon

Find a place to stay in Leon

Big excitement on Sunday as we set off to confirm a sighting Teresa had around the same time last year of a Spanish festoon in Cillorigo de Liébana.

No sooner had we got out of the car to start our search, and dispel any ideas of April fool's jokes, the first butterfly we saw was in fact Zerynthia rumina! I've seen Spanish festoon before in Andalucia and as far as I'm aware the only other records for the north of Spain have reached to Reinosa in Palencia and Ourense in Galicia.

I managed to grab a distant shot before it left the brambles to fly over the evergreen oaks on the edge of the track.

Distant Spanish festoon

As we continued our walk around the valley we saw at least five separate individuals of these intricately-coloured butterflies (the Spanish name is Arlequin) and at one point I saw two at the same time. Either among the scrubby undergrowth of Holm oaks or in patches of meadow, where we also found the larval foodplant Aristolochia paucinervis, Spanish festoons are breeding in Cantabria!

Flower-wise the last of the Angel's tears narcissi were still in flower while the first buds of Tassel hyacinths were just opening.

Here's my butterfly list for the day and some more plant and Zerynthia rumina images.

  • Spanish festoon, Zerynthia rumina
  • Clouded yellow Colias croceus
  • Brimstone Gonopteryx rhamni
  • Orange tip Anthocharis cardamines
  • Green-veined white Artogeia napi
  • Green hairstreak Callophrys rubi
  • Scarce swallowtail Iphiclides feisthameli
  • Weaver's fritillary Clossiana dia
  • Speckled wood Pararge aegeria
  • Wall brown Lasiommata megera
  • Cleopatra Gonopteryx cleopatra
  • Mallow skipper Carcharodus alceae
  • Large tortoiseshell Nymphalis polychloros
  • Peacock Inachis io
  • Small copper Lycaena phlaeas

Angel's tears, Narcissus triandrus


















Purple (or Blue) gromwell, Lithospermum purpurocaeruleum












Tassel hyacinth, Leopoldia comosa


















Tassel hyacinth which seems to have changed it's name while I wasn't looking from Muscari comosum to Leopoldia comosa.

Spanish festoon, Zerynthia rumina

A Cantabrian Spanish festoon and it's foodplant, Birthwort Aristolochia paucinervis, below.

Birthwort, Aristolochia paucinervis

Bear News

Bear or Dog?

Following the recent heavy snowfalls a photo has been doing the rounds on Spanish social media and even made it to the

The Picos Blog

Go to the blog


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