Picos de Europa Wildlife Holidays with Iberian Wildlife Tours
    Iberian Wildlife Tours in the Picos de Europa - for the wildlife holiday or natural history tour of a lifetime

Picos de Europa:
a naturalist's paradise - part 1

by Teresa Farino

The Picos de Europa is a small but spectacular range of jagged limestone mountains in northern Spain, harbouring an incredibly diverse flora and fauna.

The Picos de Europa is one of those rare places in Europe today that combines magnificent scenery, a thriving rural economy and an enormous range of flora Liébana - Picos de Europa. © Teresa Farino Ándara: the eastern massif of the
Picos de Europa
© Teresa Farino
and fauna, the traditional methods of livestock farming practised here allowing wildlife to flourish alongside mankind. A veritable pincushion of knife-edged ridges and pinnacles - the heritage of localised glacial activity and ongoing Bee Orchid - Picos de Europa. © Teresa Farino Bee Orchid
Ophrys apifera
© Teresa Farino
karstification - peaks at 2,648m (Torre Cerredo) and is split into three distinct massifs by precipitous gorges.

In part a parque nacional of 64,660ha, the Picos de Europa houses more than 1,400 species of vascular plant, 70-odd mammals and 154 butterflies, such that even a brief visit in early summer will make a lasting impression. In addition, the Picos de Europa supports healthy raptor populations, harbouring around 130 pairs of griffon vulture (plus numerous immature birds: a total of around 400 individuals), as well as several pairs of Egyptian. The eagles are represented by golden, short-toed and booted, the latter two in fair numbers throughout, while honey buzzard, goshawk and sparrowhawk are all common in forested areas. Breeding black kites are particularly abundant in Cabrales, hobbies occur in the drier habitats around Potes and peregrines are Griffon Vulture - Picos de Europa. © Teresa Farino Griffon Vulture
Gyps fulvus
© Kola Produkties
regularly seen preying on choughs around Fuente Dé.

From May to early July, the haymeadows of the Picos de Europa are simply glorious: some of the richest temperate grasslands in the world, literally teeming with orchids and butterflies. Add to this the faunal and floral delights of the alpine rockgardens and the diversity of woodland types in the surrounding valleys - ranging from Mediterranean evergreen forests to cool, humid swathes of beech and sessile oak, from mixed deciduous canopies of ash, wych elm and small-leaved lime to extensive tracts of Pyrenean oak - and you have the recipe for the perfect natural history holiday.

Flora & Fauna of the Picos de Europa
Over the past 25 years, Teresa Farino has compiled a report (more than 100 A4 pages) that includes lists of all the mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, butterflies, dragonflies, beetles, grasshoppers & crickets and vascular plants ever recorded the Picos de Europa, plus summaries of each of these groups and an eight-page introduction to the natural history of these mountains. If you would like to purchase a copy, the price is 17.50€, excluding postage and packaging; alternatively, a copyrighted PDF document sent by email costs 11.50€. Please contact Teresa for further details or to place your order.
 
Picos de Europa: a naturalist's paradise
[Introduction]
Alpine birds & flowers
Meadows & forests
Lakes & gorges
San Glorio
Scientific names of plants
 

Natural history tours in the Picos de Europa:

Daily wildlife excursions in the Picos de Europa
A Family Wildlife Holiday in the Picos de Europa
Butterflies and Moths of the Southern Valleys of the Picos de Europa
Natural History of the Picos de Europa and Páramos of Northern Castile
A Feast of Flowers - botanical trips to the Picos de Europa

Reports from past trips to the Picos de Europa:

Picos de Europa trip report 2013
Picos and Páramos trip report 2012
Picos de Europa trip report 2011
Picos de Europa trip report 2010
A Feast of Flowers in the Picos de Europa - 2009 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2008 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2006 trip report
Butterflies & moths of the Picos de Europa - 2005 trip report
BSBI Botanical Tour of the Picos de Europa - 2004 trip report

Related information:

Complete list of orchids for the Picos de Europa
Complete list of butterflies for the Picos de Europa
Read about Teresa Farino
Wildlife holidays and natural history tours in Spain & Portugal
HomeTours for 2015About IWTTestimonialsIWT BlogContact us Publications
Wildlife books
Wildlife articles
Translations
Custom wildlife & birding tours
Birds & birdwatching
List of birds
Geography & climate
List of dragonflies & damselflies
Travellers' Nature Guide species menu
Andalucia tours
Cabo de Gata
Sierra de Grazalema
Grazalema botanical trip report 2007
Aragón tours
Benasque botanical trip report 2008
Asturias tours
Canaries tours
Natural History of the Canary Islands
Fuerteventura trip report
Catalonia tours
Catalan Pyrenees botanical trip report 2005
Extremadura tours
Birds & birding
Habitats
Location & geography
List of birds
List of butterflies
List of dragonflies & damselflies
Castilla y Leon tours
La Mancha tours
Birds & birding
Botanical trip report 2009
Madrid tours
Birds & birding
List of dragonflies & damselflies
Picos tours
A naturalist's paradise
List of orchids
Botanical trip report 2004
Butterfly & moth trip report 2005
Butterfly & moth trip report 2006
Butterfly & moth trip report 2008
List of butterflies
Picos walking guide
Natural history of the Arrábida
Wildlife of the Sado estuary
Botanical trip report 2006
Ecuador cloudforest birdwatching
Birds & bison in Poland
 
 
 
  
Casa Gustavo
Friendly, family-run guesthouse near Potes, Cantabria, whose English hosts have an in-depth knowledge of the Picos de Europa.
All photos and text © copyright of the authors.

Designer & webmaster: Richard Albion

Home  |  About Iberian Wildlife Tours

Casas Cantabricas
The leading specialists in 'Green Spain' and Northern Portugal, offering a selection of over 150 handpicked holiday houses and delightful small hotels.