Nature in Asturias. What to see and what to do. #NaturalParadise
Nature. Explore paradise
One thing Asturians are proud of is their region's nature: its mysterious forests and coastline left unscathed by the whirlwind of property developments, its salmon rivers and steep mountains, ideal for rock climbers and hikers. Arising from this pride is a magnificent conservation that has led to more than a third of Asturias' territory being declared as national and international protected areas and the best-preserved coastline in Spain.
The only way to understand this passion for nature is to experience it. In order to get to explore it, you need to pack in your suitcase appropriate clothes and shoes.
The exploration begins with the 7 UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserves in the Principality.
The Fitu lookout (Parres), Pozo de la Oración (Cabrales), Cabo Busto and the Hermitage of La Regalina (Valdés) and Puerto del Connio (Cangas del Narcea).
Covadonga Lakes - Picos de Europa National Park.
Follow the traces of bears, deer and wolves: Montaña Central and the Nature Parks of Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias, Las Ubiñas-La Mesa, Somiedo and Redes.
Through the Asturian forests, oak groves and beech forests: Munieḷḷos and Peloño.
The Eo and Villaviciosa estuaries.
Routes through Oneta Waterfalls (Villayón), Seimeira (Santa Eulalia de Oscos), Cioyo (Castropol) and Xúrbeo (Aller).
From reserves, parks, protected landscapes to natural monuments, there is a total of 54 places that stand out for their landscape, geology or botany.
The Picos de Europa's reserve was Spain's first National Park, protected since 1918. Rising up in the centre of this park is the Picu Urriellu, a real magnet for rock climbers, which then opens onto the Lakes of Covadonga. Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias is a Nature Park with totemic fauna including the brown bear and capercaillie. Within this park you will also find the Munieḷḷos Forest Nature Reserve and El Cueto de Arbas Partial Nature Reserve.
Lago del Valle (Somiedo).
The brown bear's habitat extends up to Somiedo which, as well as being a Biosphere Reserve, became the first Nature Park in Asturias (1988). Its lake, El Valle, is the biggest in the region and its brañas (high-mountain pasture areas) are dotted with teitos (thatched roof cottages). Las Ubiñas - La Mesa Nature Park contains the second largest mountain range in the region, the Peña Ubiña Massif and is full of natural monuments, such as the Huerta Cave, home to a large bat hibernation colony, or the Puertos de Marabio, with its peculiar karst complex. Redes is a refuge for all species native to northern regions, from the brown bear to the capercaillie or the wolf. Its complex terrain, also recognised as a Nature Park, is combined with spectacular mountains, valleys and limestone gorges that can be discovered on the River Alba Trail or in Los Arrudos.
A Seimeira (Santa Eulalia de Oscos).
Submerge yourself into the magic forest
Only 20 people per day can enjoy the experience of travelling through the Munieḷḷos Forest, the largest oak grove in Spain and one of the best-preserved in Europe. You need to book far enough in advance. The route is mapped out, is circular and is 20 kilometres long. It's free, but you can pay for a guide. It takes about seven hours and covers a slop of 600 m. You need to bring appropriate mountain clothing and food. There is no bar or shop along the route.
Cantabrian brown bear.
Apart from the Biosphere Reserves, Asturias has 6 partial nature reserves, 39 natural monuments and 2 protected landscapes.
Follow the footsteps of the fauna
This alluring landscape is home to some rare animals, such as the Cantabrian brown bear, a species that is on its way to being recovered. The Bear's Trail is a greenway ideal for hiking and cycling. Bicycle rental is available. On one of its banks you can find the Proaza bear enclosure, where Paca and Molina. The Wolf House, in Belmonte de Miranda, is an interpretation centre that pays tribute to Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente. Complete your visit with a one and a half kilometre long guided and accessible tour of the installations, which are located next to the Pigueña River and extend up to the enclosure, home to three Iberian wolves. Another unforgettable experience is listening to the moving sound of deer bellowing that can be heard in the period between summer and autumn, coming from a valley which amplifies their call. Or take part in the Fiesta of the Asturcón in the heart of the Sueve Range, a party held in celebration of the small and robust Asturcón, one of the oldest and purest horse breeds in the world. The Montañas del Quebrantahuesos Centre, in Benia, is a space that promotes the study of natural science, as well as conservation and sustainable development.
Oscos-Eo Oscos-Eo is the biggest UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserve. Running through this territory is the river corridor of the Eo River, a special area for bird watching.
Other networks of international protected areas are the European Union's Red Natura 2000 and Sites of Community Importance (SCIs). Following their trace, you can discover the Sueve Range, the Oneta Waterfalls, the Esva Basin, the Deboyo Cave, the Santiuste Blowhole, the Villaviciosa or Barayo Estuary, the Caldoveiro Peak, or the Pastur Yew. Ponga Nature Park is made up of gorges such as the Ponga or Beyos gorges and lies within the Partial Nature Park of Peloño
Hiking is possibly the best way to admire these lush spots In Asturias.
Hiking is possibly the best way to admire these lush spots In Asturias, there are trails suitable for all physical conditions and tastes and for those looking for only short excursions. And you don't even need to park the car. The intricate network of regional motorways allows you to combine visits and organise unforgettable excursions. Other options are cycling along the sign-posted and well-preserved greenways or taking a journey on one of the routes travelled by giant dinosaurs, using their ichnites carved on rocks as a guide. There are themed experiences for all tastes and seasons. Wildlife watching tourism has opened up a new door of experiences: set off on an ornithological route, follow the footsteps of the brown bear, get a taste of nature on an excursion collecting plants that are used in cookery workshops or travel through folds used by shepherds keeping your eye on the sky to spot the bearded vulture, reintroduced into Picos de Europa, in flight. This way you will be able to experience the passion for nature first hand.