Cangas de Onís is located in the east of the province of Asturias just a few kilometres from such emblematic sites as Covadonga, the Enol and Ercina lakes and the beaches of Ribadesella and is very close to Colunga, Lastres and Llanes and other beautiful and interesting sites in Asturias.
This privileged position half-way between the Atlantic Ocean and the Picos de Europa mountains make Cangas de Onís the perfect place to rest after a day spent enjoying the numerous attractions that Asturias has to offer.
Cangas de Onís has numerous restaurants where wholesome local cuisine can be enjoyed, sidrerías where Asturian cider is served, shops, supermarkets – all the advantages of a city combined with the tranquility of a village.
In the market square, with its traditional Asturian-style architecture, there is a Sunday market selling quality products from local producers.
No one should leave without taking a photo of the Roman Bridge, actually of medieval origin, one of the most emblematic monuments in the Principality of Asturias, or visiting the Hermitage of the Sacred Cross, which is built on a prehistoric dolmen that can be seen from inside the building. By visiting the Aula del Reino de Asturias, one can take a journey through the history of the monarchy in Asturias.
Los Picos de Europa National Park
In 1918 the National Park of the Mountains of Covadonga was created, the first in a series of protected areas designed to preserve Spain’s rich variety of ecosystems.
In 1995 the name of the Park was changed to Los Picos de Europa and the area was extended to include all three massifs of the Picos Mountains and the sources of the principal rivers. At 64,660 hectares (160,000 acres) the Picos de Europa Park is Spain’s largest national park and protects an enormous range of flora and fauna.
Enol and Ercina lakes
The Enol and Ercina lakes of glacial origin are situated at an altitude of 1100 metres (3600 feet). There is a third lake, Bricial, that only exists for a short period each year as it fills with spring melt-water.
The access road to the lakes from Covadonga climbs 680 metres (2200 feet) in 10 kilometres (6.3 kilometres), a gradient of almost 7%.
It is well worth making a stop at the Queen’s Viewpoint at 910 metres (3000 feet) to enjoy views of the Picos de Europa mountains, the
One shouldn’t forget to visit the Pedro Pidal Visitors Centre located by the Buferrera Car Park at the Lakes. Access to the Centre is free and it is dedicated to explaining the ecosystems, values and traditional cultures of Los Picos de Europa National Park. Of particular note are the exhibitions that recreate for visitors the caves, forests and the high mountains of the Picos Mountains. There s a 3D audiovisual display, information on trails and mountain-paths and bookshop.
Access to The Lakes
In order to protect Los Picos de Europa National Park access to the lakes is restricted during the busiest days of Easter and summer and on Bank Holidays. For the rest of the year private vehicles have access to the lakes but during these restricted periods the lakes can only be reached by public transport.
A fleet of buses guarantees that all visitors can travel between Cangas de Onís and Covadonga and the lakes, stopping at hotels and all the principal points of interest on the route. There are four car parks ready to for visitors with a capacity of 1600 vehicles: Cangas de Onís Centre, El Bosque, Muñigo and Repelao.
The Sacred Cave of Our Lady and the Basilica of Saint Mary can be found 11 kilometres from Cangas de Onís at Covadonga.
In the chapel in the cave visitors can see the statue of the Virgin of Covadonga and the tomb of King Pelayo, the first King of Asturias whose victory of a Moorish army at Covadonga is considered the beginning of the reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors.
In the square in front of the Basilica is the Chapter House, the bronze statue of King Pelayo and the Campanona bell. Nearby at El Repelao is an obelisk topped by a copy of the Victory Cross at the spot where, according to tradition, King Pelayo was crowned following his victory.
Routes and Villages
One of the best known routes is the Cares Gorge path. This route between the villages of Poncebos and Caín, running through the gorge of the Cares River, is one of the most spectacular in all Europe. The route is 12km long on a path only 1.5 metres wide, that runs alongside cliffs and steep cuttings.
The Naranjo of Bulnes Mountain, better-known locally by its true name Pico Urriellu, is situated in the central massif of the Picos Mountains. Although it is not the highest peak it is famous amongst mountaineers for its 550 metres high eastern face. From Sotres, a three hour walk will bring you to the base of the mountain and it can be seen from Poo de Cabrales, Asiegu and Camarmeña.
Bulnes is a small village located 649 metres above sea-level in the central massif of the Picos Mountains. Historically the village could only be reached on foot on a path that climbs 500 metres up the steep valley of the Tejo River and that takes approximately 2 hours. In 2001 a funicular running 2km underground improved access to the village.
In Fuente De in Cantabria a cable car climbs to the viewpoint 1847 metres above sea-level and gives an opportunity to see splendid views of the mountains to those who are not such keen walkers.
Between the 1st of July and 30th of September the National Park of Los Picos de Europa offers a guide service covering a variety of ROUTES.
In a stretch of 50 kilometres of coast there is a concentration of over 50 beaches of an enormous variety of sizes and types, so that everyone can find one suited to their taste.
The closest beach to Cangas de Onís is Santa Marina beach in Ribadesella. The beach is a kilometre and a half long with a long promenade dotted with summer palaces built at the start of the twentieth century.
For those who like beaches and coves where mountain and sea meet are faced with a difficult dilemma, as the there are so many to choose from.
Close to Colunga are such beaches as La Espasa, La Isla and La Griega that are perfect for children because shallow pools of calm water form where they can play in safety.
The La Vega beach is perfect for those who are looking for larger waves and for long stretches of sand to play and stroll.
In the vicinity of Naves can be found on of the most peculiar beaches of the Asturian coast, Gulpiyuri, which is completely enclosed by cliffs and the sea-water reaches the beach through underground caves. At low-tide the water disappears completely from the beach.
In Niembro are found two of Asturias’ most beautiful beaches, Toranda, a small, calm cove with fine sand, perfect for couples and children, and Torimbia, which is only accessible by taking a 20 minute walk along a coastal path with particularly lovely views of the coast. Due to its relative isolation, Torimbia is Asturias premier nudist beach.
Close to Llanes is Poo, a beach particularly recommended for small children as the water is both shallow and calm.
The coastal town of Llanes has a small beach, El Sablón, close to the centre and just outside the urban area is a cove, known as Toró, with some peculiar rock-forms from which a lovely coastal path starts. To the east of Llanes is a beautiful inlet called Cué and also a path leader up to the Andrín Viewpoint from which the Andrín and La Ballota beaches can be seen.
RIBADESELLA: Divided in two by the river Sella, the town of Ribadesella is particularly worthy of a visit. The old town centre, which is almost entirely pedestrianised, has been declared a protected area for its cultural interest. On Wednesdays there is a market that is the perfect place to obtain the local delicacies and handicrafts.
Also in Ribadesella are the Tito Bustillo caves where, in several linked galleries running for over 800 metres, can be found Neolithic cave paintings.
The La Guia hermitage on the Corbero cliffs has wonderful views of Ribadesella and the coast.
COLUNGA is halfway between Ribadesella and Villaviciosa, surrounded by meadows and with beautiful beaches. In the old town is the Estrada Palace, used as the town hall, and the San Loreto and Santa Ana chapels. Between Colunga and Lastres, close to La Griega beach, is the Asturian Jurassic Museum (MUJA), a building in the form of a dinosaurs footprint dedicated to exhibiting the evidence of dinosaurs in Asturias.
LASTRES, a beautiful fishing village, is best known now for being the location for the Spanish TV series Doctor Mateo. The old town, declared of national artistic interest, offers the chance to visit the Clock Tower, a former watchtower, and Castle Point, a fort that was used to defend the village against pirate attacks.
From the San Roque Hermitage and its meadow can be seen Lastres and all the coast to Ribadesella and the Sueve range of hills behind the coast. Two kilometres away is the Lastres lighthouse, actually located by the village of Luces.
LLANES, is particularly famous for its Memory Cubes, large concrete cubes that form part of the breakwater protecting the harbour that have painted in bright colours and abstract designs by the artist Ibarrola. The old town has been declared of artistic and historic interest and the Aula del Mar exhibits photos, models and other displays about Llanes’ history. The San Pedro Walk, which runs along the cliff tops from Llanes, has amazing panoramic views of the coast.