On July 22, 1918 the Picos de Europa Mountains were declared a national park by Alfonso XIII under the name Montaña de Covadonga National Park, the first protected area in the country. The mountains contain the largest limestone formation in Atlantic Europe, with major karst processes, chasms up to more than 1,000 meters deep, very visible glacial erosion and lakes.
Its cliffs are inhabited by chamois and its dense woods are home to roe deer, wolves and some bears occasionally. More than 100 species of birds live in the park, including the black woodpecker and capercaillie. Large birds of prey include the griffon vulture and golden eagle.
But there is much more than just scenery here: there are centuries of written history in the people, the valleys, the churches, the huts on the mountain passes and the trails. On July 9, 2003, Unesco approved a proposal to make the park a biosphere reserve.