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Visiting the Lakes of Covadonga in Asturias, Picos de Europa National Park

The Lakes of Covadonga (Lagos de Covadonga in Spanish) are two glacial lakes in Asturias in Northern Spain: Lago Enol and Lago Ercina. These lakes are also called Los Lagos, Llagos de Cuadonga, and Llagos d’Enol in Asturian. 

There’s also a third lake, Lago Bricial, but it’s only visible in spring during the thawing season. 

Lake Enol and Lake Ercina are located within Picos de Europa National Park, near the Sanctuary of Covadonga (Holy Cave and Basilica). The closest town is Cangas de Onís. 

This is one of the most popular attractions in the Picos de Europa Mountains, so private traffic is regulated during peak seasons in order to preserve the environment. 

If you’re visiting the area with a car, we highly recommend driving up to the Covadonga Lakes before 7:30 am in order to avoid the mayhem that ensues later on in the day. Also, it’s best to get an early start, if you want to hike. 

The meadows around Lakes of Covadonga are grazed in summer. Always maintain a respectful distance from the cows and do not disturb them, despite what idiotic behavior you may witness here. 

Lago Enol, Lakes of Covadonga, Asturias, Spain

Lakes of Covadonga Map


Where are the Lakes of Covadonga

Lago Ercina, Covadonga Lakes, Asturias, Spain

The Lagos de Covadonga are located in the municipality of Cangas de Onís in the region of Asturias in Northern Spain. 

The Covadonga Lakes are situated in the Western Massif (Cornión) of the of Picos de Europa Mountains.


How to Get to the Lakes of Covadonga in Asturias


Car

Covadonga Lakes Road,  Asturias, Spain

During peak seasons, the road from Covadonga to the Lakes of Covadonga is restricted to private vehicle traffic between 7:30 am and 9 pm (April 1st – September 30th) and between 7:30 am and 7 pm (October 1st – December 10th). 

It’s still permitted to drive to the lakes before 7:30 am. You just need to pass through the liftgate in Covadonga before 7:30 am (gate: Google Maps).

There is no toll fee to drive up to the Lakes of Covadonga.

Lakes of Covadonga Access Road, Picos de Europa National Park, Asturias, Spain

You can drive down at any time; you don’t need to wait until 9 pm. 

Consult guideasturias.com for up-to-date information on access restrictions. 

Once you pass the gate, it’s a 25 minute drive to the Covadonga Lakes. 

Mirador de La Reina Viewpoint, Covadonga, Asturias, Spain

Along the way, there’s a spectacular viewpoint called Mirador de La Reina. It’s easy to spot, because it’s located next to a small car park just off the main road on the left side (viewpoint car park: Google Maps).

Make sure to stop here on your way up. In the morning, it’s common to see cloud inversions. On clear days, views extend to the Bay of Biscay. Vultures linger around the cliffs here as well. 

Vulture, Picos de Europa, Spain

The narrow mountain road continues to twist up to the lakes. After passing Lago Enol, the road divides. Bear right and drive down to the car park at Lago Ercina (car park: Google Maps). 

This car park is located next to Bar María Rosa and less than 200 meters away from the lakeshore of Lago Ercina. 

If this car park is full, there’s another large parking area near the bus stop (Parking Buferrera: Google Maps). 


Bus 

There are buses that connect Cangas de Onís and various paid car parks along AS-262 with the Lakes of Covadonga. 

In spring and summer, these buses run daily between 9 am and 7:30 pm. In October, November and December, these buses run between 9 am and 5:30 pm. 

The bus ticket costs 9 EUR and is valid all day. 

There are several helpful infographics on guideasturias.com that explain everything in detail. Use Google Chrome to translate this page to English. 


Lakes of Covadonga Viewpoints 


Mirador de Entrelagos (aka Mirador de La Picota) Viewpoint 

Mirador de Entrelagos Viewpoint, Lakes of Covadonga, Picos de Europa, Spain

This viewpoint is located on the crest that rises between the Lago Enol and Lago Ercina. From this elevated vantage point, you can see both lakes, though not in the same “frame.”

You can walk up to the viewpoint from either lake. 

From the Lago Ercina Car Park, we walked up the stairs to the viewpoint in 5 minutes. 

When you see photos taken from this viewpoint, you typically only see photos of Lago Enol. However, the outlook towards Lago Ercina is equally impressive. 

Lago Enol harbors a replica of Our Lady of Covadonga, the statue of the Virgin Mary, which is located in the Holy Cave in the Covadonga Sanctuary

Each year, on September 8th, the statue is removed as part of the festivities celebrating the Feast day of Our Lady of Covadonga, the patroness of Asturias. You can see photos here and a video here. After the festivities, the divers return the statue to its watery depths. 


Lakes of Covadonga Hiking Trails 


PR-PNPE-4 Vega de Ario Hiking Trail 

PR-PNPE-4 Vega de Ario Hiking Trail, Picos de Europa National Park, Spain

The Refugio Vega de Ario (PR4 Vega de Ario) trail is a moderate out-and-back hike, which starts at Lago Ercina. 

The trail leads southeast, traversing several pastures along the way. We passed over 100 cows, calves, and bulls. It was a bit intimidating, because of the sheer number of animals on the trail. But, we didn’t have any problems. As a rule, we always give cows a wide berth, even if it means going off trail. 

PR4 is clearly waymarked and easy to follow. It rises in stages to the Collado del Jitu pass and then descends to the Vega de Ario mountain pasture. 

The managed Refugio Vega de Ario sells drinks and snacks (cash only). We ordered drinks and a plate of eggs and chorizo for lunch.

Vega de Ario hiking trail, Picos de Europa National Park, Spain

Is this hike worth it? Kati and I hiked this route at the end of our Picos de Europa road trip (coming soon), after having hiked several magnificent trails. So, by comparison, this trail didn’t quite captivate us like the others. 

The best part of the trail is at the very beginning, when you hike by Lago Ercina, and at the very end, when you arrive at Vega de Ario. The middle part is a bit monotonous. 

There’s no shade on this route, so it can feel oppressively hot on a sunny day. Bring plenty of water and sun protection. 


Trail Details

PR-PNPE-4 Vega de Ario Hike, Picos de Europa, Spain

Trailhead | Parking Lago de la Ercina

Distance | 14 km out-and-back

Time Needed | 5 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 690 meters

Minimum Elevation | 1122 meters

Maximum Elevation | 1642 meters


PR-PNPE-2 Ruta de Los Lagos Hiking Trail 

Lago Enol, Covadonga, Asturias, Spain

The Ruta de Los Lagos is a circular hiking trail that links the two Lakes of Covadonga together. You can start at the bus stop, or at the car park at Lago Ercina. 

This is the best option for anyone seeking an easy, short hike (2 hours max). 

Here’s a brief summary of waymarks and points of interest along the way. 

Starting at Lago Ercina car park, head south and follow the trail along the west shore of Lago Ercina. The trail leads to Majada de las Rebajas and then west to Majada del Bricial. The path continues northwest to Vega de Enol, home to Refugio de Enol.

Follow the path along the north, or south shore of Lago Enol and then hike up to the Mirador de Entrelagos viewpoint, located on the ridge between the two lakes. Descend to the Lago Ercina car park. 


Trail Details

Distance | 6 km circuit

Time Needed | 2 hours

Elevation Gain/Loss | 147 meters

Difficulty | Easy

Minimum Elevation | 1045 meters

Maximum Elevation | 1161 meters


Places to Eat around Lakes of Covadonga


Bar Restaurante Maria Rosa / Bar Restaurante Mª Rosa

Bar Restaurante Maria Rosa, Lakes of Covadonga, Northern Spain

This rustic restaurant with outdoor seating is located near Lake Ercina, next to the car park.

They serve traditional, homemade Asturian food like Fabada Asturiana (bean stew), Carne de Ternera Guisada (stewed veal), Cachopo (beef Cordon bleu with ham, cheese, and peppers), and eggs with chorizo. You can also order cheese boards and salads. Service is swift and friendly, even when bursting with visitors. 

Location | Google Maps

Reviews | Tripadvisor


El Casín / El Merendero de Los Lagos 

This restaurant is located on a side road overlooking Lake Enol. They also serve local dishes. There’s some confusion about the name of this eatery, so reviews are mixed and dated. 

Location | Google Maps 

Reviews | Tripadvisor 


Where to Stay near Covadonga Lakes


Cangas de Onís Accommodations 

Hotel Ecos del Sella, Cangas de Onis, Asturias, Northern Spain

Where we stayed – Midrange | Hotel Ecos del Sella stands out with its modern, millennial-friendly decor, air-conditioned rooms, and relaxing communal spaces. We loved staying here. The breakfast was phenomenal. The design and concept were refreshing. And, there’s plentiful parking. The only downside is that it’s not within walking distance to Cangas de Onís (3 minute drive to the main car park). 

Midrange | Apartamentos Prestin offers spotless 1-2 bedroom air-conditioned apartments with on-site parking. It’s a 7-minute walk to the town center of Cangas de Onís.  

Luxury | Hotel Mirador de la Cepada (3 nights minimum stay in high season) is a 4-star hotel that stands on a hill overlooking the Sella River Valley and Cangas de Onís. Rooms are beautifully-furnished, spacious, air-conditioned, and equipped with tea and coffee makers. Free parking is available on site. Definitely book the breakfast. The restaurant and bar are open seasonally. 

Look for accommodation in Cangas de Onís.


Covadonga Accommodations 

Hotel El Repelao, Covadonga, Picos de Europa, Spain

Budget | Casa Rural Priena is a comfortable B&B with a garden, bar, and free parking. 

Budget | Hotel El Repelao is a hotel and restaurant in Covadonga, 1.5 km from the Sanctuary. Rooms are clean and decorated in a country-house-style. We ate lunch in their restaurant and it was wonderful. Breakfast is included. 

Midrange | Hotel La Casona de Llerices (3 nights minimum stay in high season) is located in Llerices, close to Covadonga. This is a lovely hotel with 11 comfortable and lovingly-furnished rooms. Breakfast is available. Parking is free. 

Look for accommodation in Covadonga.



Picos de Europa Trip Planning Essentials

Picos de Europa National Park stretches across three regions in Northern Spain: Asturias, Cantabria, and León (Castile and León). 

It comprises the majestic Picos de Europa Mountains, a limestone mountain range composed of three massifs.


How to Get to Picos de Europa

The closest airports to Picos de Europa are Santander Airport in Cantabria, the Asturias Airport (aka Oviedo-Ranón, OVD) in Asturias, and the Bilbao Airport in Basque Country. 

We recommend renting a car from the airport and driving directly to Picos de Europa National Park. Follow our 10-day Picos de Europa road trip itinerary for inspiration.

Use the intuitive Discovercars.com car rental reservation platform to search for and book car rentals. This easy-to-use booking platform compares car rental deals from 500+ trusted providers, so that you can choose the best option for your trip.

Check car rental rates here


Where to Stay in Picos de Europa

We recommend dividing your time between Northern Picos de Europa and Eastern Picos de Europa. If you have more time, extend your visit to Southern Picos de Europa and Northwestern Picos de Europa.

Northern Picos de Europa: Poncebos, Arenas de Cabrales (Las Arenas), Sotres, or Tielve in Asturias

Eastern Picos de Europa: Potes, or Camaleño Valley in Cantabria 

Southern Picos de Europa: Valdeón Valley, or Caín in León

Northwestern Picos de Europa: Cangas de Onís, Soto de Cangas, Llerices, or Covadonga in Asturias

Find out where to base yourself in the national park in Where to Stay in Picos de Europa.


Hiking in the Picos de Europa National Park

Hiking in Picos de Europa National Park is an extraordinary experience filled with magical landscapes of lush forests, craggy mountains, and deep gorges.

During our road trip, we hiked the Ruta del Cares trail, the El Cable to Fuente Dé trail, Brez to Canal de las Arredondas circuit trail, and the Covadonga Lakes to Vega de Ario trail.

We also hiked this riveting 2-day Refugio Jou de los Cabrones trek.


Picos de Europa Packing List

Hiking Gear

Outdoor Photography Gear


How to visit the lakes of Covadonga in Picos de Europa, Northern Spain

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Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

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