Picos de Europa

The Picos de Europa (literally: "Peaks of Europe", often abbreviated in English to the Picos) is a range of mountains 20 km inland from the northern coast of Spain, located in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains. The most widely accepted origin for the name is that they were the first sight of Europe for ships arriving from the Americas.

It took 300 million years to create the steep landscapes of the “Picos de Europa”.

This region combines a great variety of different landscapes, which give shelter to the peculiar fauna of this region, of great importance within Spain.

 It is not rare to observe the flight of the golden eagle dominating the mountain or Egyptian vultures nesting in the steep walls of the mountains.

If you’re quiet you can see and hear Capercaillies singing in forest areas, or ducks fishing in the lakes of Covadonga. If we penetrate deep into the rocky areas of high mountains, it is easy to bump into tousled chamois, which shed their skin in spring into an intense reddish chestnut colour. Roebucks, emblematic animals of these forests, live together with partridges and wild boars. The rivers that flow through the Picos de Europa vibrate with the presence of otters, salmons, alpine newts and Seaone vipers. The numerous limestone caves are teeming with bats, and it is easy to see, in the abandoned sheepfolds, a great number of owls waiting for nightfall to start their hunting.


Its proximity to the sea, precisely the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay, explains why the Picos de Europa mountain range is particularly prone to sudden changes in weather; mists rolling in, clag appearing from nowhere, which can further complicate navigation. Legend has it that the mountains were named the Peaks of Europe by northern European sailors arriving by sea. On a clear day modern visitors crossing the Bay of Biscay, arriving by ferry into Santander, can appreciate the same view.


Sierra Nevada

The Sierra Nevada (meaning "snowy range" in Spanish) is a mountain range in the region of Andalucia, provinces of Granada and Almería in Spain. It contains the highest point of continental Spain, Mulhacén at 3,478 metres (11,411 ft) above sea level.

Sierra in Spanish means the teeth of a saw, which peaks of a mountain range may resemble.

It is a popular tourist destination, as its high peaks make skiing possible in one of Europe's most southerly ski resorts, in an area along the Mediterranean Sea predominantly known for its warm temperatures and abundant sunshine. At its foothills is found the city of Granada and, a little further, Almería and Málaga.

Parts of the range have been included in the Sierra Nevada National Park. The range has also been declared a biosphere reserve. The Sierra Nevada Observatory is located on the northern slopes at an elevation of 2,800 metres (9,200 ft).


Sierra de Guadarrama

Ever wondered if it snows in Spain. Well, you would be surprised. Spain does get snow and a lot of it, but the possibility of snow depends greatly on where you are in the country. The mountainous regions of Spain are the most expected regions for snow. This photo is of the mountain region closest to Madrid. It's called "La Sierra de Guadarrama", declared as a National Park last year 2013.

The Sierra de Guadarrama is a mountain range forming the main eastern section of the Sistema Central, the system of mountain ranges at the centre of the Iberian Peninsula. It is located between the Sierra de Gredos in the province of Ávila, and Sierra de Ayllón in the province of Guadalajara. The range runs southwest - northeast, extending into the province of Madrid to the south, and towards the provinces of Ávila and Segovia to the north. The chain as a whole measures approximately 80 km in length, with its highest peak, Peñalara, reaching 2,428 m above sea level (7,965 ft).

The name, Sierra de Guadarrama (Guadarrama Mountains), is taken from the Guadarrama river and the town of Guadarrama, both of which are located in these mountains. The word Guadarrama itself is derived from the Arabic words for sandy river. The Guadarramas form a natural division between the North and South mesetas of the Iberian Peninsula, part of the so-called Sistema Central.


Pyrenees

The Spanish Pyrenees region is the portion of the Pyrenees mountain range within Spain.It stretches for more than 800 kilometres from the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay) to the Mediterranean Sea. They are one of Europe’s best kept secrets and combine stunning scenery with great weather.