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Learn a different view of Spain, the fields are green and the mountains reach almost to the coast. Visit the Sanctuary of Covadonga, the glacial lakes of Covadonga, the beautiful village of Cangas de Onís and its Roman bridge and the famous apple-press El Gaitero. Asturias is very different from the Mediterranean Spain, which is full of beach, sangria and beach bars.
Gijón , Oviedo, Llanes.
This tour gives you the option of visiting the places that gave Asturias its “natural paradise” title. The area of Eastern Asturias has many attractions and appeals visitors from all over Europe to their camping places every summer. We suggest a tour valid for any season, either in sun or snow visit the National Park Picos de Europa, the first one created in Spain.
One of the most visited spots in Asturias, and that I recommend as a must for any visit to our region, is the Picos de Europa National Park. It was the first Spanish National Park, declared Park of Covadonga’s Mountain in 1918 and recognize as Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO since 2003.
In Covadonga the bus can be parked in the forecourt of the basilica, built early last century. Here you can pay a visit to the Virgin of Covadonga, patron saint of Asturias, whom is located at the holy cave.
In this same cave it is also located the tomb of King Pelayo, first monarch of the Kingdom of Asturias, who fought in these mountains against the Moorish army that tried to conquer Asturias in 722.
Asturian troops lead by Pelayo’s Warriors won, and this episode is considered the beginning of the Spanish Reconquest.
In case anyone wants to tempt fate, beside the waterfall there is a fountain with 7 pipes, the legend says that whoever drinks of the 7 pipes in a row will marry within a year.
Our bus will now take us to the lakes of Covadonga, two glacial lakes located 1134 meters above the sea, just 14 kilometers from Covadonga.
The road leading to the Lakes is the typical Asturian way, a narrow and curvy road with lots of cows and old shepherd cottages on the sides. These cows are mostly belonging to the “asturiana del valle” type, known for its delicious steaks. Do not forget to eat one before leaving Asturias.
We will leave our bus at the parking enabled near Lake Enol, from this parking a short path will take you to Ercina Lake through the park visitor center, where there is a permanent exhibition about the geology, flora and fauna of the park. On your way up you will also pass through the Buferrera Mines, currently unused.
After climbing a few stairs, you reached Ercina Lake. This small effort will be worthwhile. From my point of view, this is one of the most beautiful postcards of Asturias. It has its charm in a sunny day with cows grazing around or even on a cloudy day.
Beware of the fog, can be treacherous, and in a matter of minutes it can appear or disappear preventing you to see 3 meters farther.
Beside this lake there is a bar where we can order a broth if the day is cold, or take a "Gamoneu" cheese tapa, typical of this area.
Following the steps at the left side of the bar you can reach the lower lake, Enol and return to our starting point where the bus will be parked.
We may ask our driver to stop on the way to Cangas de Onis, in Soto de Cangas, where there are several restaurants and grills along both sides of the road. Most typical in this area would be "cabritu with patatines" (kid goat with potatoes) or the most famous Asturian dish, fabada (stew with white beans and pig meat).
When deciding what to order please keep in mind that these dishes are no light meal, and generally Asturian portions are always plentiful.
After that you can stop in Cangas de Onís to stroll through the Roman bridge, rebuilt in the XIII century over the river Sella. It will be a good plan to help our stomachs settle.
Hanging from this bridge we have the "Victory Cross" symbol of the region and that is represented on the flag of Asturias.
Cangas de Onís has plenty of stores, full of souvenirs or typical products such as cheese, beans, pastries…
Just 50 minutes from Cangas de Onis we find Villaviciosa. It is known for the quality of its cider, a fermented apple juice with little alcohol. Beware, it is easy to drink but you can get tipsy fast.
In Villaviciosa we have the apple press factory of Cider “El Gaitero” (The Piper), with their slogan "Famous all over the world".Gaitero’s Llagar (place of cider production) or any other from the area have "espichas" which are typically Asturian cider celebrations where you can drink cider straight from the barrel and eat some typical tapas. The most common are the meat pies, boiled eggs, sausages cooked in cider, Spanish omelette, ham...
This tour is written by Ana Covadonga Alvarez, tourism certified, expert in Asturias and tour guide.