Our modern mountain holiday house lies in the Cabrales Cheese valley, in front of the Picos de Europa National Park, Asturias.
Asturias is full of places to discover. Dramatic mountain ranges emerging from beautiful forests with stone shepherds’ cabins off the beaten track; a green, unspoilt coast with pretty fishing villages and crystal clear rivers running down to secluded beaches below clifftop walks with spectacular blowholes spraying up on wild, stormy days; and, cultural small cities with bustling historic streets and traditional farmers markets.
The local area enjoys a good range of activities, from walks along the many rivers to mountain climbing, from horse rides through the forest to barranquismo – traversing rock along the river edge and plunging off waterfalls. The local area around the Picos de Europa is mostly limestone rock, so there are also many caves in the area, with many sites of cave paintings, rupestre. Asturias has over a thousand years of culture, including numerous UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites and many Pre-Romanesque buildings.
Please enjoy your stay, but remember that the weather can change very quickly in the mountains. Ensure you are appropriately equipped, with clothes, maps, water, etc. There are incidents every year, please take care. Casa Cusau can take no responsibility for any of the suggestions made. There are a number of weather sites, including: El Tiempo. Type ‘Cabrales’ for the area of Casa Cusau. Arenas de Cabrales has a number of shops on the main street that sell maps and equipment. (general maps below)
The Asturias website has a wealth of information covering all the main activities, in English, French, German and Spanish. Turismo Asturias
Verde Norte (Green North) has wide range of information for the whole of the Cantabrian coast, including nature, maps, cuisine and transport. Spanish only. Verde Norte
There are a number of nice towns nearby: Cangas de Onís with a farmers market every Sunday, pretty seaside towns of Ribadesella and Llanes, and Arenas de Cabrales (being the nearest to Casa Cusau) for access to the heart of the Picos de Europa.
There are many mountain refuges in the Picos de Europa park, with routes between them. Picos refuge (main page in English, French, Spanish)
Casaño river walk, La Molina. This route appears in the Sunflower and Rother guides of Picos de Europa. Sunflower (English), 2015, sixth edition: page 16; Rother (Spanish), 2010, first edition, page 64; Rother (German), 2015, third edition, page 66.
Gentle, chestnut tree-shaded walk along the Casaño river, with very little climb. Walk down through the far, Western, end of La Molina village, and follow the path through the forest. In less than one kilometre (0.7 km), you reach the Pompedro stone bridge on the left, dating from mediaeval times and with Roman origins. The route passes by this bridge WITHOUT crossing it. Although it is worth stopping, as from the bridge itself you can see the river as it torrents through water carved rock formed by a hidden waterfall. (There is a wild laurel tree overhanging the bridge. Its leaves dried are good for cooking.) Passing the bridge, the path continues and crosses to the left (South side) of the river. Within a few hundred metres, there is a small river beach (1.0km), which is a good spot for a picnic and a swim. From the beach, the next marker is 700m further, a wide concrete bridge, Puente Escobín (1.7 km). Cross this bridge and the path continues up-stream on the North side. Another half a kilometre brings you to a metal bridge, Puente Los Mineros (2.3 km), where the path crosses back to the South side of the river. From here, another kilometre brings you to the edge of a large Beech forest (3.3 km) across the river to the North, which is spectacular in Autumn. The main path continues to the left, from the large Beech tree, but a small short path to the right takes you down to the rivers edge where it ends in a nice river-side picnic spot. From the large Beech tree, the main path becomes more difficult as it heads up the valley towards the lakes of Covadonga. For this a guide is advised. There is another route from La Molina to the lakes of Covadonga, which starts from a halfway between La Molina and Canales, the village on the main road. This goes along the top of the cliffs, past Collado los Buitres, to the North of the river, which you see early on along the Casaño river walk.
Cares gorge walk, between Poncebos (200m) and Caín (500m). Spectacular gorge within the Picos de Europa national park. 12 km, good path. (Note: there and back is 24 km.) Can be busy in high season. Initial two kilometres quite a steep walk (300m level change), then more gentle to Caín. Food and accommodation available in Caín. Arriving: drive south out of Arenas de Cabrales, to Poncebos. Parking available. Car access to Caín is possible but a 2 hour drive around. Nearby to Poncebos is Camarmeña, with Bar La Fuentina: Saturdays ‘pote’ – a meat and vegetable stew. View of El Urriellu/ Naranjo de Bulnes peak from terrace
Poncebos (200m) to Bulnes (650m) walk. Beautiful walk up to Bulnes village, within the Picos de Europa national park. Five kilometres, 450m level change. There is a tunnel train up to Bulnes village, every half an hour, times vary through the year, €15-20. Food and accommodation available in Bulnes. Arriving: drive south out of Arenas de Cabrales, to Poncebos. Parking available. Nearby to Poncebos is Camarmeña, with Bar La Fuentina: Saturdays ‘pote’ – a meat and vegetable stew. View of El Urriellu/ Naranjo de Bulnes peak from terrace
Ándara walk, circular route. Varied with mountain views and Beech forest, within the Picos de Europa national park. 17 km, 800m level change. Passes mountain refuge Casetón de Ándara. Spectacular forest in Autumn. Less well known route. Between Sotres and Tresviso. Arriving: drive south out of Arenas de Cabrales, towards Tresviso. Parking available.
Covadonga, near Cangas de Onís. Mountain village in the Picos de Europa park with large basilica church. Lakes of Covadonga further up. Can be busy in high season. In 722 AD, Don Pelayo and Iberian Christians won a namesake battle over the Moors in Covadonga. This was the first Christian victory in the Iberian Peninsula over the Arabs and Berbers from North Africa.
Tito Bustillo, Ribadesella. Cave paintings, rupestre. Tours are usually in Spanish, but tours in English and French can be arranged. Tito Bustillo
Torimbia beach, Barro. (Torimbia beach allows nudist bathers). There are a number of beaches in the Niembro/ Barro area. There is also a pretty river-side church along the road between the villages.
La Griega beach, Colunga. Between Ribadesella and Villaviciosa. Beautiful beach with river emerging through the forest into the sea. Vista Alegre restaurant, with raised terrace looking out over the sea. Vista Alegre restaurant
Ranasella, Arriondas. Canoeing trips down the Sella river. The Sella is quite a gentle river at this point, so is not the white water rafting type experience. Often in Summer, part way down the river, a chiringuito is set-up, a small bar serving basics such as cold drinks and sandwiches. Ranasella also offer other activities including horse rides. Ranasella
Rumbo a picos, Llanes. Canyoning, Barranquismo – traversing rock along the river edge and plunging off waterfalls, as well as other mountain activities. Rumbo a picos