Geographical features of Spain;

May 30th, 2010

Cabo de Peñas – the northernmost point of Asturias

Al norte del norte por batiskafo.

Cabo de Peñas in Asturias is the second most northern point in Spain. A well marked trail runs along the rugged coast. The photo is by batiskafo on Flickr.

In the heart of the Picos

Peña Maín por batiskafo.

Photo of the imposing Picos de Europa showing Peña Maín in the centre and my favourite (though not to climb) Naranjo de Bulnes to the left. The photo is by batiskafo on Flickr.

Route up Peña Maín here “From the summit of Peña Main there are spectacular views of the whole of the central massif. This is a lovely route taking you over the Peña Main range and through the farming pastures above Tielve. Care is needed as the paths are not well defined in the higher section of this walk.”

Las Hoces de Rio Piedra


Las Hoces de Rio Piedra is a delighful verdant gorge running through the sparce uplaods of Daroca in south-eastern Zaragoza near the Castilla-La Mancha border. Griffon vultures soar above the canyon. Makes a nice trip from Gallocanta or Daroca. Continue reading

Almanzor Peak

The granite peak of Almanzor (2592 m) is the highest mountain in the Sistema Central, the range that cuts the great Meseta of Spain in two. It crowns an immense glacial cirque in the Sierra de Gredos, known as the Circo de Gredos (read about legend below). The mountain is also known as Pico de Almanzor and Moro Almanzor.

Almanzor takes its name from Al-Mansur (the victorious), the de facto Moorish ruler of Al-Andalus during the late 10th-early 11th centuries. His rule marked what was probably the peak of Islamic power in Spain. Legend has it that Al-Mansur passed by here after a terrible battle with the Christians. He was taken by the beauty of the mountains which at the time functioned as a frontier between Islamic Spain and the Christian lands, and so he decided to set up camp for the night. Under the stars, he was captivated by the stories of shepherds from the area. They told him than in the heart of these mountains, terrible noises could be heard that would echo along the gullies and ravines, and which would shake the very hearts of the people of these parts. The next day, the Moorish king bade the shepherds to lead him to the place they spoke of: a magnificent cirque in centre of the Gredos mountains. When the company reached the place, they were greeted by a deafening silence. Fearful of the Kings reaction, they began to shout his name, which the mountain duly returned amplified as an echo.

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Aitxuri, the most prominent in the Basque Country

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Aitxuri (1551m) meaning white stone in Basque is the most prominent peak (943 m) in the Basque Country, and the highest in the Montes Vascos. It is located in the limestone massif of Aitzkorri. Photo: wikipedia

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Blowholes of Asturias

There are a number of blowholes known as bufones along the Asturian coast, the best of which is perhaps the Bufones de Arenillas near the village of Puertas de Vidiago. Closeby is the similarly spectacular Bufón de Santiuste. Both of these blowholes are capable with the right tide of throwing up noisy shoots of water as high as 40 metres. They were formed by karstic and wave action. Bracing stuff. Continue reading

Mallos de Riglos

Los Mallos de Riglos

The Mallos de Riglos are remarkable, almost sheer rock formations in Huesca, forming part of the foothills of the Pyrenees. The rocks are conglomerates and were formed during the Miocene.

Unsurprisingly, these 300-high cliffs are a Mecca for climbers from around the world, and the little village of Riglós nestled improbably below the rocks does a very nice business in accommodating them. However, some of the most demanding routes require spending a free night in a tiny tent strapped to the bare rock face.  I suffer from a degree of vertigo and the idea of waking up half way up the sheer face of Los Mallos is one of my all-time favourite nightmares, though I do get a frisson (and a stiff neck) watching those who dare to climb these looming beasts, each of which has its own name; El Puro, El Pisón, Castilla, Volaos, Cuchillo, Frenchín, Visera and Fire.

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La Cueva de los Murciélagos – The Bat Cave

La Cueva de los Murciélagos – The Bat Cave is a system of caves in Zuheros, Córdoba, and one of the largest in Andalucia. It is situated on the edges of the limestone Sierras Subbéticas Natural Park. The cave is famous for its rock paintings and archaeological remains dating from Neolithic times, and features beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.

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Aneto

Aneto is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees at 3,404 metres is part of the Maladetta ridge. The Aneto glacier is still the largest in Spain with 163 ha. though it is melting fast due to climate change and is predicted to succumb by the mid-late 21st century. The glacier covered some 692 ha in 1894 at the close of the so-called Little Ice Age. Aneto’s French name, Pic de Néthou, is in disuse as the mountain lies entirely within Spain, specifically in the province of Huesca in Aragon. First climbed in 1842 by a Russian named Chikhachev. Continue reading

La Torca del Carlista

The Torca del Carlista in the Basque Country is the largest cavern in Europe. It is currently only accessible to expert cavers. It is the fourth (not the second as some sources claim!) largest cave chamber in the world. Legend has it that a Carlist follower threw himself to his death here rather than be taken alive.

Torca del Carlista

Photo of the Torca del Carlista

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The Torcal de Antequera

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El Torcal de Antequera in Malaga is one of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe. Photo by Jakub Botwicz from Wikipedia.

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