Asturias – A Model Paradise
12 March, 2015
Here are some routes we have planned around these exemplary villages:
Eastern Charm – First Stopover
Our unique, Asturian cultural itinerary starts at the easternmost village, San Esteban de Cuñaba, with its high-mountain scenery, footpaths, houses and inhabitants. From here, you can also get a view of the Picos de Europa, the first national park in Spain. It is renowned for its shepherding community which has been living here for hundreds of years. They make such cheeses as Gamonéu and Cabrales, celebrated gems on the international cheese map. The village of Porrúa (Llanes), for its part, is the veritable guardian of Asturian traditions. It features an Ethnographic Museum which records much of these, as well as the Mercáu Astur, a bagpipe ensemble called El Llacín and the bucolic Llanisco village landscape facing both the sea and the Picos de Europa mountains.
From Apple Groves to Cider – Food and Shelter
Both Villaviciosa and Nava have large stretches of pomaradas or apple groves, as well as llagares – places where cider is made and gastronomic festivals called espichas are held–and chigres, typical bars or restaurants offering dishes based on the Asturian tradition. As if that isn’t enough, in Nava we also find the Museo de la Sidra (Cider Museum) where we can steep ourselves in the enthralling universe of cider. At Sariego, another award-winning village, we can taste good cider and haute cuisine. If we take the pilgrim’s walk along the road to Santiago, here we’ll be treated to the finest rural Asturian Romanesque architecture. And, if we’re out caleyando (roaming around), we might arrive at Cabranes and even Torazo, another award-winning village. The route through the Cider District will take us to within a stone’s throw of the sea, to one of the most charming seafaring towns of the north –Lastres– also an award-winner, where we can delight in its views, its atmosphere and its indispensable seafood cuisine.
Symphony of Summits in the Montaña Central and the Nalón Valley – a Break in the Journey
Amid the symphony of summits, mountains, valleys, rivers and forests of the Montaña Central, this journey will lead us to Jomezana and the Huerna Valley, in the heart of Lena. And, from here to Morcín and on to La Foz, to savour its cheeses – including its stunning “Afuega’l Pitu” – its turnips and its scenery. Pressing on through this district we come to Aller and Moreda, where every 11 November the “Fiesta de los Humanitarios” is naturally celebrated by sitting down to a typical feast of fabada bean stew. To top it off, we can stop at Bueño, to view an impressive line-up of hórreos (granaries raised on pillars). The river Nalón, the longest in Asturias, imbues the valley with life. The high note is Sobrescobio, a model neighbourhood community where you are just as likely to stumble upon a madreña – a type of footwear – as a capercaillie, all set against an idyllic rural backdrop.
Camín Real de la Mesa – the Roman Road that Connects us Along this Route
The Camín Real de la Mesa was one of the most important Roman roads connecting the Meseta to the Cordillera Cantábrica range. It was after this road that a splendid district was named, with municipal territories like Somiedo or Teverga where the Cantabrian brown bear roams freely. About ten years ago, the village of Villar de Vildas in the Somiedo municipality was also endowed with the royal award. In Teverga, which was listed as of 2013, mining and stockbreeding are still the major activities. Don’t miss a tour of their Parque de la Prehistoria (Prehistoric Park).
Enchanting Eo and the Magic of the Vaqueiros – a Western Stopover
The Eo ría (estuary) is much more than just a natural divide between Asturias and Galicia – its beauty and biodiversity vivifies an entire Biosphere Reserve. There, Castropol, another model village, faces both the sea and the hinterland; it is an ideal spot for chilling out, playing sport and indulging in its superb cuisine. Further inland, San Tirso de Abres,also a listed village, is an oasis of peace and tranquility. In contrast, Los Vaqueiros de Alzada, a livestock and transhumant village par excellence, gave its name to a district which features a number of interesting stopovers along our route –Soto de Luiña and Novellana, in Cudillero, contribute their enticing pastures and coastal villages of western Asturias. Turning inland, we come across the secluded Valle de Paredes (Valley of Walls) and the river Esva, in Valdés. And, further inland, we arrive at two villages of Tineo studded with character and history – Tuña,the land of General Riego, and Navelgas, well-known for its gold-panning tradition.
Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña, Ibias and the River Navia – the Final Stage
The district of Narcea, Degaña and Ibias has been famed for its mineral wealth since ancient times, a land of pure air and valiant people whose exploits and love of their land have made them a legend. We are approaching the last few stopovers in this unique tour of Asturias. Highly recommended is a visit to Grandas de Salime, the Principality’s ethnographic and military preserve, Boal – the latest village to be listed – and Puerto de Vega, by now on the seaboard. Don’t forget to take a last look at the Cantabrian Sea before you leave, and what better place to do so than Puerto de Vega? This has been a journey with a difference which has led us to come close to a genuine Asturias and its vital essence.
Further information at Turismoasturias
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12 March, 2015