Principality of Asturias
Walking Covadonga Lakes, AsturiasThe road ascending to the two glacial lakes that make up the center of Picos de Europa National Park is well known by bike racing aficionados as one of the most difficult stages (average climb gradient of 7.3% for nearly 8 miles) in the Vuelta a España. Hairpin turns all the way to the lake make for a white-knuckled ride, so most visitors are grateful they aren’t allowed to drive in themselves. The location is well organized and accessible to those who aren’t equipped for hiking. There’s an astonishing church built into a cave, which gives you a feel for how the mountain people lived. Many visitors remain around the tourist center to soak in the gorgeous snow-capped mountain views. For peace away from the crowds, get there early, and bring your walking shoes. Note: Views are less exceptional when the fog rolls in, so check the weather. European tourists flock during July and August, therefore going in September or as early as May will thin out the crowd.