Are you guys aware of the Little Switzerland of Spain?? My last year's vacation was spent exploring the North of Spain on a 12 day road trip which I still believe was one of the best vacations I have had in Spain. Our final destination was Asturias and I regretted the moment we entered that why did we plan 3 days in this magical land. We entered this small town of Cangas de Onis, and I was in love with it the moment I saw it. Asturias is unlike any image you have of Spain, its the hidden wonder of Spain. We stayed for just 3 days but we made the best of it!!!
If you din't know, your trip to Spain includes a visit to Switzerland!!!! Visit heaven on Earth, Picos de Europa, also called the Mini Switzerland of Spain. Touch, see and experience nature in its purest form.
Picos de Europa, still unexplored by the tourists, are the most majestic peaks of Spain with with main point of attraction being the 2 Lagos, that are the 2 glistening lakes amidst the lush green nature.
You need to trek a bit to see these beauties, but trust me its worth it!
There is a small restaurant called Bar Restaurante Mª Rosa next to the bus stop, where the bus drops you (How to Reach details are at the bottom of the blog post). You can stop for a quick coffee or snack here.
The peak time to visit Picos de Europa is July-August. The weather is cold all year round excepting these months. Its pleasant during July-August.
A. Carry jackets (Don't get inspired by what am wearing in my pics, I was freezing with that light jacket and muffler on)
B. Wear comfortable shoes for trekking (Again, learn from my photos what not to wear :p)
C. Please do check when the last bus leaves (around 18:30-19:30), or else you will be stranded
This small little town of Asturias is full of surprises! Want to enjoy the town with the backdrop of Picos de Europs while canoeing in the River Sella?? This town offers one of the best experiences I have had so far - Descenso del Sella.
While there are many companies offering great packages for the activity, we did ours through Astur Aventura. I think I was scared than excited for it as this was my first time ever at canoeing, but it was an experience of a lifetime. Me and my husband shared the canoe. They slip the canoe from the ground into the water through a slide which was a fun start. As we both were first timers to canoeing, we managed to spin the canoe in the opposite direction every few minutes. I think it was hilarious and a little embarrassing as everyone was heading further while we were still struggling to face the right direction. It took a while and a lot of skill and muscle power to finally make it work. The best part of this activity were the pit stops every few kilometers for a picnic or beer break which made the experience even more glorious. We managed to do 7 kms in 4 hours while the usual time was 13 kms in 4 hrs. But we had a time of our life!!! Do not leave this town without experiencing this wonder!!!!!
TIPS FOR DESCENSO DEL SELLA
A. Wear swimsuits for the activity, or you can choose to pay for the bodysuits the companies offer (I wore my swimsuit with a beach dress over it, my husband wore his trunks with a polo). Was comfortable to row as heavy clothes weigh down further when wet.
B. Buy these kind of shoes for the activity as they have a great grip and are waterproof. Available all around the town of Cangas de Onis at affordable prices.
Another small beauty in this town of Cangas de Onis was a picturesque small bridge called Puente de Romano. You can see kids jumping from the small rocks on the side of the river and enjoy the view of the bridge with a coffee or beer from the cafes placed well around the bridge.
Am almost embarrassed to confess, while running a Spanish travel blog that I have not yet fallen for the Spanish gatsronomy, and hence I keep exploring places which have fusion cuisine or something not authentically Spanish. This led me to this small restaurant called Cuarenta Grados, which was our to-go place for the first two nights in Cangas de Onis. For Spanish food lovers, there are plenty of local Spanish bars and restaurants to try out!!
It is a small village that falls in your route from Cangas de Onis to Picos de Europa. The only point of attraction in this village is the Sanctuario de Covadonga & Santa Cueve de Covadonga. The Sanctuario is a beautiful castle like structure which is picturesque and worth visiting for some great pictures and the Santa Cueve are the caves within which is a small chapel with a waterfall on its base.
Enjoy an evening walk along the river sella uniting with the Bay of Biscay with a beautiful sunset in the background and a rocky beach below! This picturesque town of Ribadesella, could also be labelled as the town of the rich is worth a visit. Enjoy the sunset with a coffee in the cute terrace cafes facing the sea along the wide promenade. This small town catches your attention with its contemporary modern glass beach houses covered in greens and magenta bougainvilleas facing the sea.
PICOS DE EUROPA
Private vehicles not allowed
Bus : From Cangas de Onis (Estacion de Autobuses de Cangas de Onis) to Lagos de Covadonga : 1.5 Hours | 8euro per person
Car : 15 mins (Recommened to take a bus to Picos de Europa and stop on the way at covadonga, roam around and then take the bus from there further up to Picos de Europa)
Bus : From Cangas de Onis (Estacion de Autobuses de Cangas de Onis) to Covadonga (Estación de autobuses Basílica de Covadonga) : 20 mins
Car : 30 mins drive
NOTE : BUY TICKETS FOR PICOS DE EUROPA IN ADVANCE FROM CANGAS DE ONIS
By far the cutest AirBNB i have stayed in, located in a tiny village which has nothing except this BNB I believe! A 2.5 floor house with the cutest corners, niches, balconies, kitchnette, tv lounge and a bedroom. We cooked our own breakfast and went out on our day trips around Asturias. The streets are extremely narrow of this town and no street lights so we made sure we returned back on time.