As an introduction to Spain’s Picos de Europa mountains – and to riding in Spain as a whole – you can’t do better than this route, which we think of as the Riaño Triangle. The roads making up all three sides are amazing, delivering brilliant bends amid stunning scenery. The show stopper is always the run into Riaño, a quaint town sticking out into a deep blue lake that’s ringed with grey-topped mountains.
However, this is a real rider’s route – it’s not just about the amazing views. Starting from Panes it heads south on the N621 through the La Hermida Gorge – high-sided, twisty, the road running beside the rushing river. From Potes it climbs high over the San Glorio Pass – an Alpine-style treat that’s as good as any mountain road in Europe – before dropping down through another gorge to Riñao.
From there it takes the N625 over the Del Ponton pass and through the tighter, shady Los Beyos gorge to Cangas de Onis. The run to Panes on the AS114 is wide, well-surfaced and beautifully involving as it cuts through another spectacular landscape. But the best bit about this route is just how quiet it is. You’ll have these roads more or less to yourself. It’s perfect.