Riaño (León), Spain :Picos de Europa Road trip



I visited Riaño as part of my road trip around the Picos de Europa in northern Spain.  I drove from León, which takes about an hour twenty minutes.   You could feasibly do it as a day trip, but it would be a lot of driving.

Riaño is right on the cusp of the National Park, situated on a picturesque reservoir. 



This bench is signposted ‘the most beautiful in León’ (I presume they’re talking about the view rather than the bench itself)


The embalse (reservoir) at Riaño.  You may wonder what lies beneath

The town of Riaño is now actually ‘New’ Riaño. In the 1980s there were seven small villages here, all farming communities occupying low level ground.  Then a decision was taken to relocate the villages in order to flood the land and build a reservoir.  Riaño, along with the other villages, was then moved to its current site. 

Some properties were moved brick by brick to their new location, others now exist only in the murky depths of the water.


Riaño: the church was moved to its new location as you enter the town

You can walk around the water edge and look at old photos of the various villages before they were flooded. This is an easy walk with plenty to look at.

Pico Gilbo nearby offers a more challenging walk.



It rains a lot in Riaño; that’s why it’s so green and lush.  The driest months are July and August, but they are also the busiest.  The relatively high altitude means that it is covered in snow during winter.  I went in October; it was drizzly although the sun did make brief appearances.



If you arrive on a Sunday you will find almost everything closed.  This is true of pretty much all of Spain of course, outside the big cities, but when there are only a small number of restaurants in a town (all booked out) and no shops open you will have wished you’d planned a bit better.

If all else fails the petrol station sells overpriced snacks and drinks.  I really should remember this stuff; I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve plodded up to a petrol station in a small Spanish pueblo on a Sunday, in the hope they have something edible.


There is a small selection of hotels in the town, mostly two-star hotels and all in the same price range.   If none of them appeal then neighbouring towns and villages have some more options.  I chose Hotel Presa, which was in a great location.  I paid an extra ten euros for a view, and this was the view:


View from my room

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