Cangas de Onis, Asturias (Spain)

According to, the city of Cangas de Onis is the main tourist center of the Picos de Europa National Park, which is located in the northern part of Spain in the Cantabrian Mountains, just 20 km from the coast of the Bay of Biscay.

This is the first national park in Spain, it was created at the beginning of the 20th century. The park covers an area of 650 sq. km and is now part of the vast Gran Cantabrica Biosphere Reserve, designed to protect the biodiversity of the Cantabrian mountain range. Due to the proximity of the sea coast, the climate of this part of the Cantabrian mountains is humid. Mixed forests grow in the park with a predominance of beech, oak, maple, hazel and chestnut. Animals such as Cantabrian bears, Iberian wolves, wild boars, roe deer, many species of birds, including the symbol of the park – capercaillie, as well as various birds of prey, and more than a hundred species of butterflies live here. There are three mountain ranges in the park: Western (Kornion), Central (Urrieles) and Eastern (Andara). The highest point of the park is Mount Torre de Serredo (2648 m). This is the highest point of the Cantabrian mountains. In total, there are about 200 peaks in the park with a height of more than 2000 m. An interesting fact is that, along with the highest points, the deepest gorges and caves of the country (up to 1.5 km deep) are also located in the park. The presence of many caves in the local mountains is due to the fact that these mountains are mainly composed of limestone. In the middle of the slopes overgrown with forests, turbulent mountain rivers flow, and lakes lie in the valleys.

The Picos de Europa National Park is a great place for hiking and rock climbing. The best time to visit the park is from May to September, and August is the most popular time when most hotels are empty. Hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty are laid out in the park, and in July, August and September, free hiking tours are offered in the park, accompanied by guides. However, most guides only speak Spanish. You can also explore the park by taking a funicular ride. Camping in the park is possible only at night and at an altitude of over 1600 m.

The city of Cangas de Onis is located on the northwestern outskirts of the park on the territory of the Western Mountain Range. It was founded in the 8th century by King Pelayo and became the first capital of the kingdom of Asturias. Among the sights of the city, one can single out the Roman bridge thrown over the Sella River, which was actually built in the Middle Ages, the Santa Cruz Chapel, erected in the 20th century on the site where the temple was located about 1000 years ago, and several palaces 16-20 centuries.

In the vicinity of the city is the village of Covadonga (Covadonga) with the chapel of the Holy Virgin of Covadonga. The chapel is located in a cave where, according to legend, King Pelayo and his army hid from the Arabs in the 8th century. It was in these places that the army led by King Pelayo defeated the Arabs who conquered the Iberian Peninsula, which marked the beginning of the Reconquista (the centuries-old struggle between Christians and Arabs). Today, pilgrims come here to venerate the face of the Holy Virgin of Kovadnog. The tombs of the kings of Asturias – Pelayo and Alfonso I have been preserved in the chapel. Also in the vicinity of Covadonga are the glacial lakes of Ersina and Enolfrom which interesting hiking trails start. In addition to mountain landscapes, waterfalls and reserved forests, along these routes there are caves where traces of the presence of ancient people who lived here about 18 thousand years ago have been preserved – rock paintings and burials.

In the town of Arriondas, located near Cangas de Onis, canoeing is offered on the Sella River, which flows along the western border of the Picos de Europa National Park. The most popular trips to the sea coast are 15 km long, they take about 4-6 hours.

Be sure to take a trip to the Massif Central Picos de Europa National Park. From the east, it is bounded by the Kares River Gorge, which is the main tourist attraction in this part of the park. The depth of the gorge reaches 1.5 km. The gorge has a hiking trail called La Ruta de la Granta del Cares, the park’s most popular route. The 12-kilometer exciting route starts from the town of Cain. It is laid right along the sheer cliffs of the Kares River gorge high above the river bed, in some places the footpath passes along bridges built across the gorge and tunnels carved into the rocks. The main city of the Massif Central is Posada de Valdeon.

The center of the Eastern massif is the city of Potes, located in the mountain valley of Lieban. It is interesting not only for its surrounding landscapes. In Potes, it is worth visiting the Old Quarter of La Solana, which has retained its original appearance for 500 years, and look at the 15th century Torre del Infantando tower, where a prison was located for a long time, and now Town Hall. In the vicinity of Potes, there is the famous monastery of Santo Toribio, where one of the parts of the Life-Giving Cross, on which Jesus Christ was crucified, is kept. The relic was brought by Archbishop Toribio from Jerusalem in the 6th century. To the west, near the village of Fuente De, a cable car was laid on the slopes of the mountains, which takes tourists to an observation deck located at an altitude of 800 m.

Cangas de Onis, Asturias (Spain)

You may also like...