One would think that it is not possible to discover Spain as the country is so well traveled. The warm climate, historical cities, and sun drenched beaches of Spain attracts thousands of visitors year upon year. Yet even in this frequented country, there are hidden secrets that are only discovered by those looking for true adventure.
From the noise of the many tourists and locals of the hot spots with traditional dances, street artists, beach side bars and hundreds of people in one place, to a peaceful rolling meadows, playful brooks, hauntingly baron gorges and deep forests. There is a part of Spain that silently screams splendor, nature and history: Asturias.
Asturius in Spanish means “rural, green and friendly” which couldn’t be more fitting for the area. The highs and lows of the mountains and valleys offer splendor beyond compare.
Two national parks are located within Asturius:
- Ubina la Meso
- Somiedo Nature Reserve
The rest of the countryside is a patchwork of meadows, dry stoned walls and small villages with less than a hundred inhabitants in each. Many of the villages are deserted altogether during the harsh winter months due to the remoteness of the location.
Ubina la Meso
The national park that encompasses 32,630 hectares of open space contains significant landmarks along with a menagerie of wildlife. The Pera Ubina Mountain is the second largest in the area after Cornon and can be seen clearly in the park. Golden eagles can be seen soaring high above, whilst otters play in the streams and rivers. Brown bears are also known to be in the area. There is a real sense of being on ancient ground in the area. This is perhaps helped along by the paintings that can be found on the rocks in the area. All rock art dates back to the bronze and Iron ages.
Somiedo Nature Reserve
Home to the largest mountain in Spain as well as the biggest population of Brown bears in Western Europe, the nature reserve is an excellent way to while away the days in this breath taking area. There are a number of forests, mainly beech and oak. However, walking in the forests is restricted due to the bears.
Camin Real de la Mesa
The Camin Real is an ancient trail travelled by pilgrims from Leon to Asturius. The trail is difficult to walk and takes days but some of the loneliest and exhilarating views of the Spanish countryside can be seen from the hike.
There are a number of villages along the way that offer accommodation for the traveller. Holiday cottages can be found with the traditional stone walls and wooden balconies.
If the trail is too tasking for people, there are many alternative trails and walks less tasking. Cycling is also very popular in the area with some holiday homes offering free bike hire with the accommodation.
For a taste of Spain before the influx of millions of tourists began taking over the country each year, Asturius mustn’t be avoided.
This post is written by Miles Schmidt in behalf of Richardsons Holiday Villages (previously known as New Horizon Holidays). Follow her on twitter at @schmmiles.
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