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Comarca Vaqueira
Comarca Vaqueira
Boroughs it comprises
Comarca Vaqueira
Comarca Vaqueira
    • Town of Luarca and Cape Busto.
    • Barayo Nature Reserve and River Esva Gorges.
    • Town of Cudillero and Cape Vidío.
    • Towns of Salas and Cornellana.
    • Towns of Tineo, Tuña and Navelgas.
    • Pola de Allande and San Emiliano.
It takes its name from the vaqueiros de alzada, a social grouping of high mountain herdsmen with a nomadic culture, which has left its mark on an extensive region covering five boroughs where there is a bit of everything: coast and inland encompassing peaks, mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, lush forests and more...

History is conveyed in its name. The vaqueiros de alzada were a social grouping that marked the life of this region from ancient times with their "nomadic" way of life. Cattle imposed on them both pace and place. In the summer, life elapsed in the pastures and stone-and-thatch dwellings known as brañas of the mountain passes, with the herdsmen and their cattle returning to the villages with the coming of winter. This way of life ,along with their constant intermarrying, led them to live "ostracized" from the social scheme of the populations living in agricultural areas. Vaqueiros can still be identified today by their surnames and even their physical features, while their culture is one of the great intangible heritages of the region that bears their name.

The Comarca Vaqueira, or "Herdsmen's Shire", is a vast expanse of land, as it is comprised of some of the largest boroughs in Asturias. It is precisely its extension that converts it into an area where there is a bit of everything: coast and inland encompassing peaks, mountain ranges, valleys, rivers, lush forests and more... It is, in fact, a summary of all the variety and richness of Asturias, with a unique personality.

In the coastal area, both the boroughs of Cudillero and Valdés afford an intense fishing and seafaring culture that "crystallizes" in two towns of great beauty: Cudillero, known as the Villa Pixueta in reference to the unique socio-linguistic slang used by the local fishermen, and Luarca, called the "White Town" for the colour of its buildings. Cudillero is nestled in a natural amphitheatre, unique in Asturias due to its layout and brightly painted houses, which still hang out the town's famous "curadillos" - small sharks- to dry at the door of fishermen's houses, while the views from the lighthouse are a must experience. Famous for being the hometown of Nobel Laureate Severo Ochoa, Luarca has a similar physical layout to Cudillero, and the views from its lighthouse are likewise stunning. Both have noteworthy examples of civil architecture and Indiano villas, built by returning emigrants who had made their fortune in the Americas. As regards the beaches, both Cudillero and Valdés have truly beautiful, sandy and rocky beaches and cliffs. In terms of Capes, Cape Vidío in Cudillero is well worth a visit, as isCape Busto in Valdés, which is also home to Barayo Nature Reserve and the River Esva Gorges.

Further inland, the "Herdsmen's Shire" dazzles the visitor with the gold of Tineo, just as it did the Romans, who found in western Asturias an inexhaustible supply of resources to maintain the "machinery" of the empire. The visitor is also surprised by Exemplary Towns like Tuña - birthplace of General Riego - and Navelgas with its gold-panning traditions, or by the old quarter of the Town of Tineo and its Museum of Sacred Art. Tineo means good food, with unique produce such as the hardy cured sausage called chosco. It is an organic pantry with a mining past where prehistory surfaces in Merillés burial mound...

Also huge in extension, Allande reveals hill fort culture at San Chuis, the best western Romanesque in Santa María de Celón, Indiano architecture and tradition in the borough capital,Pola, which also has examples of medieval mansions such as the Cienfuegos family home, and delights the visitor with excellent homemade recipes... Allande is dotted with farmsteads and livestock, with friendly people and rolling landscape.

Of the five boroughs making up this territory, Salas is the one with a medieval capital, radiating out from Valdés Salas Castle, birthplace of the founder of the Inquisitor General who founded the University of Oviedo. With rich hazelnut biscuits called "carajitos del profesor" and salmon from the River Narcea, Salas displays its status of being located on the Way of St James, of having Indiano villages like Malleza and Mallecina and the riverside path beside the Narcea.

A territory with a medieval stamp, one of livestock, nomadic herdsmen, returning emigrants, miners, hill forts and a Roman past... A territory of hospitable people, wholesome food, bountiful nature and endless scenery.

The territory that the nomadic herdsmen roamed spans five boroughs in western Asturias: Allande Cudillero Salas, Tineo and Valdés. Some of them, like Tineo, Allande and Valdés, are among the largest of all Asturias.

See location of the región