Through the Sueve Range and Ponga Nature Park

Go to Image Through the Sueve Range and Ponga Nature Park
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Sheltered by the great scenic "umbrella" of the Picos de Europa, other eastern mountains like the Sueve Range and Ponga Nature Park are equally attractive.

Through the Sueve Range and Ponga Nature Park
GPS: 43.46920116797594, -5.234760014319416

Taranes - San Juan de Beleño - Villamayor - Sierra del Sueve - Arriondas - Llames de Parres - El Fito -Prado - Colunga - Ribadesella

Day 1: San Juan de Beleño - Taranes - Mestas 21,4

Day 1: Ponga constitutes the southernmost territory, with its Nature Park bordering the Picos de Europa. Its top three attractions are its natural surroundings, hot springs and high quality cheeses. The borough can be reached via two different routes: via the AS-339 off the N-634 near Sevares or via the N-625 from Cangas de Onís. The borough capital is a small country town called San Juan de Beleño. Los Beyos cheese is aged in the villages of Ponga. This highly prized variety is made from goat, sheep or cow milk. There are dozens of trails to explore. Perhaps the best known is the one through Peloño Forest, a large beech wood crossed by a 24-km trail. But there are other options, such as the path to Tiatordos from Taranes (16 km, taking seven hours) or the "Postman's Trail", which has a short variant of nearly 4 kilometres that takes 3 hours to cover as its stone path is not very well-marked. In the low-lying area are the Mestas Hot Springs, which can be an excellent energizer after a day in the mountains.

Day 2: Mestas - Alto de la Llama 41,6

Day 2: Heading back to Piloña on the AS-339, you can stop off in Villamayor to discover the Church of Santa María, a church of Romanesque origin once pertaining to a Benedictine convent that has long since disappeared. You can then continue on to the Sueve Range, the natural habitat of Asturcón ponies, travelling along the AS-259, a road that branches off the N-634 in the outskirts of Villamayor. If you organize your trip to coincide with the third Saturday in August, you can enjoy the Asturcón Festival held in the mountain meadow called Majada de Espineres. If you visit some other time of the year, there are different routes that give you an insight into the setting, maybe even allowing you to spot some of these ponies in the wild. Two options are the trail from El Alto de La Llama to Majada de Espineres itself or the one from Miyares to Ordiyón Peak.

Day 3: Alto de la Llama - Arriondas 27,8

Day 3: The Sueve Range extends into Parres, whose borough capital, Arriondas, is also known worldwide as the starting point for the International Canoe Race down the River Sella, popularly known as the Fiesta de Les Piragües. Some 6 kilometres before you get to Arriondas on the PR-3 you come to the village of Llames de Parres, where you find the Church of San Martín de Escoto, a listed 16th-century historic-artistic monument. A visit to Arriondas is well worth the occasion to rent a kayak and paddle off down the river just like the pros. Numerous active tourism companies offer this activity. More options for outdoor tourism in Parres are caving, quad routes, pony trekking, mountain bike trails and paintball. Another alternative is to go hiking near the Sueve Range, for example, along the Southern Mountain Meadows Trail).

Day 4: Arriondas - Prado 26,5

Day 4: Taking the AS-260 out of Arriondas leads you to the seaside after passing over El Fito. At the summit, a Scenic Balcony with a unique architectural shape, offers a privileged view of the centre of Asturias, the sea and the mountains, in addition to a recreational area. If you feel like a hike, you can head up to Pienzu Peak, which, at 1,161 metres above sea level, is the highest point in the Sueve Range. From El Fito, the route takes about three hours in all. After a drive down the other side of the mountain on the AS-260, you come to Caravia, a borough with two exceptionally beautiful beaches: La Espasa, frequented by surfers and kite fliers, who even organize a festival here every year, and El Arenal de Morís, both linked by an attractive coastal path. In the borough capital, Prado, is the 18th-century Church of Our Lady of Consolation and, in the village of Carrales, the 17th-century Church of Santiago de Caravia. A lot of local people emigrated from this area to seek their fortune in the Americas, so there are many examples of Indiano architecture, although these are privately owned and cannot be visited. These include the Prieto Brothers House, Villa Concha, Villa Rosario and the González-Cutre Country House.

Day 5: Prado - Colunga 7,26

Day 5: The last two options to head up into the Sueve Range are the boroughs of Colunga and Ribadesella. In Colunga, specifically in the former schoolhouses in Gobiendes, there is an interpretation centre about the mountain range which reveals the singularities of its wildlife and plant life. It is well worth a visit to get to know the peculiarities of the range, which are the highest mountains nearest the sea in Asturias, offering the possibility of going hiking, mountain biking, pony trekking or for a drive around the boroughs of Parres, Colunga, Caravia or Ribasedella.