Hotel Nochendi en Cangas de Onís
El Parque Nacional más antiguo de España, en Asturias
In 1918 the Covadonga Mountain National Park was established, now called Los Picos de Europa National Park, the first in a series of protected areas that were conceived with the aim of preserving the rich diversity of the country's ecosystems. Here, in Los Picos de Europa, are combined high montain, deciduous Atlantic forest, a varied indigenous flora, a rich fauna including bears, wolves, rebecos (a species of deer), capercaillies, vultures and eagles. Also forming a vital part of this landscape and an essential element of teh local culture are the herdsmen who live in the mountains for many months each year with their sheep, goats and cattle from whose milk are produced extraordinary cheeses (Cabrales, Gamonéu, Beyos).
Covadonga, el origen mítico de una nación
Covadonga, which comes from the Latin phrase Covam Dominican meaning "the cave of Our Lady", gets its name from the large breach in the mountain where, according to legend, the Virgin Mary appeared in 718 A.D. Ever since that time an image of the Virgin Mary, known as Our Lady of Covadonga, has been venerated at the site. In the present day the Sanctuary of Covadonga conserves its pristine natural beauty, its historical significance and also the faith of the thounsands of pilgrims who every year make the journey to visit the tomb of Pelayo, the first King of Spain. The Sacred Cave, the cave mouth is in a vertical cliff face 40 metres above the ground.
Cangas de Onís, la capital de un reino antiguo
Cangas de Onís, with its population of three thousand inhabitants, has the honour of bearing the title of city as a result of having been the first capital of the small Kingdom founded by Pelayo following the Battle of Covadonga. This small Kingdom later expanded to became the Kingdom of Asturias, then the Kingdom of León and finally the kingdom of Spain. Cangas de Onís still preserves the Chapel of the Sacred Cross, a small church built to house the Cross of the Victory. It is built over a prehistoric dolmen that can still be seen today through an opening in the floor of the Chapel. Also from the medieval period dates the so-called Roman Bridge (Puente Romano), with a central arch 21 metres high and 25 metres wide, that croddes the river Sella at a point where the salmon and trout abound.
La Costa Cantábrica
The Limestone Mountains of the Picos de Europa fall precipitously to the Cantabrian Sea, forming a rugged landscape of cliffs that shelter small, fine-sanded beaches and coves. In many of this cliffs can be found deep sinkholes through which the sea. with deafening roars, expels geysers of water under high pressure in an unforgettable experience.
El río Sella y el río Cares
Two rivers, the Cares and the Sella, delimit the extent and the personality of the region, as the force of their waters has carved deep canyons and gorges into the landscape that gradually give way to wider, forested valleys and plains that lead down to the sea. Their waters, of exceptional quality, have created a rich ecosystem including species like otters, herons and cormorants and salmon and trout, the fishing of which is one of the regions greatest attractions.
- Sanctuary and a site of historical significance since 718 A:D. Open all year round.
- Dolmen and Chapel of the Sacred Cross:
- small, reconstructed church first built in 735 A.D. and incorporating a prehistoric dolmen inside.
- Saint Peter of Villanueva:
- 12th century Romanesque monastery, today converted into the National Parador.
- Saint Eulalia of Abamia:
- church founded by King Pelayo in the 8th century. The Romanrsque buildings date from the 13th century and include several thousand -year-old yew trees.
- Cave of Tito Bustillo:
- Contains Palaeolithic cave paintings. Open from April to September.
- Cave of Buxu:
- Palaeolithic carvings. Open all year.
- Cave of Pindal:
- Palaeolithic paintings and carvings. Open all year.
- Peña Tu Idol:
- Carvings from the Bronze Age (4th century B.C.) Can be visited all year around.
- Ethnographical Museum of Western Asturias:
- Contains collection relating the popular culture, traditions and crafts of Asturias. Open all year.
- The Museum of Emigration and the Indians Archive:
- Museum locaed in a palace constructed by an emigrant who returned to Asturias from South America a rich man. The museum is dedicated to the history of emigration grom Asturias. Open all year.
- Los Picos de Europa National Park:
- The Enol and Ercina Lakes, the Ordiales Viewpoint, the route through the Cares Gorge, Fuente De, the famous Naranjo de Bulnes mountain, the Angón Valley, Vegabaño.
- Ponga National Park:
- the Peloño Forest, Ventaniella, Viego, many villages and traditions.
- Sueve Natural Reserve:
- The last place where the species of wild horses known as "Asturcones" can still be found roaming free.
- El Fitu viewpoint:
- Panoramic view from the coast to the Picos de Europa.
- Desfiladero de los Beyos:
- canyon through which the river Sella flows.
- Oriental Coast:
- this area of the coast has been declared a National Monument for its great beauty, geological interest and rich ecosystem.
- Descent of the river Sella in canoe.
- Trekking: The Cares Gorge route, Vegarredonda and the Ordiales Viewpoint, The Angón Valley, Pico Pienzu, Casaño River, The coastal path.
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Rock climbing
- Golf: Courses at la Cuesta (Llanes) and la Rasa de Berbes (Ribadesella)
Cómo llegar a los Picos de Europa
The region of los Picos de Europa is located on the north coast of Spain in the Autonomous region of Asturias, which can be found between Santander and Galicia.
- By plane:
- The region is located between the airports of Oviedo (135 km) and Santader (130 km)
- By road:
- One can reach the region via the motorway that runs parallel to the coast from the French border until Oviedo. From the interior of the country one can take the A-6 motorway (Madrid-León-Oviedo) and then the Cantabrian motorway or the N-634.
- By train:
- The narrow gauge railway (FEVE) connects the region with Bilbao and the French border and with Galicia. Also from Oviedo the National Railway Network (RENFE) connects the region with the rest of the Peninsula.
The region is located only one hour journey by car from Santander, a city to which ferries sail from Plymouth.