After we left Bilbao, we moved to the beautiful mountain area in Asturias and stayed in Berodia (Picos de Europa) for 3 nights.
Leaving The Basque Country behind we started our trip through the incredibly gorgeous regions of Cantabria and Asturias. Our fist stop was Santillana del Mar.
"There is an old saying that Santillana del Mar is The Town of Three Lies, since it is neither a Saint (Santo), nor flat (llana), nor is it by the sea (Mar) as implied by its name. However, the name actually derives from Santa Juliana (or Santa Illana) whose remains are kept in the Colegiata, a Romanesque church and former Benedictine monastery." (Source)
Food & Drinks to try
We tried to check out all traditional products so we of course also had the chuleton
and then we had dessert :)
before going back to the car maybe a couple of extra pictures from the village
Picos de Europa are incredibly awesome and you can do a lot of hikes around for all ages and hiking conditions. We decided to spend 3 nights in Berodia and here what we did.
we booked an Airbnb only to find out when we arrived that the lady had a double booking on the house advertised on Airbnb and so she decided not to tell anything and bring us to a different house (with lower conditions than the original one). I guess she hoped we won't notice, but when we asked why we don't have several of the things advertised she apologized and said that there was a mix in calendars. I must say it was not very pleasant, but she did seem to truly be sorry and arranged us to move to the original place next morning. Here you can read my review on Airbnb about it. Other than that, everything was perfect!
Although tiny (194 inhabitants *) Berodia is a charming little village in Cabrales municipality. It's a very relaxing place where you can rest and get prepared for some hiking activities. Here some pictures of the short tour we did around.
We opted to explore Playa de Gulpiyuri & Playa de Borizu. Here what you should know.
"It is an inland beach, without a direct outlet to the sea. It consists of white sand and seawater, although the Cantabrian Sea reaches the shore a short distance away and only makes its way here under the cliffs. It is about 40 meters long and the sand almost disappears at high tide. It experiences a kind of drainage phenomenon at the beginning of the low tide. It is listed as a Natural Monument." (Source)
"Gulpiyuri has no amenities of any kind and is not easily accessible due to being surrounded by meadow-land at a higher elevation. The nearest village is Naves and access is via a farm lane." (Source)
We drove to a parking which is about 1.5km away from the beach, the rest of the stretch you need to walk. Don't expect a definition of a beach as it is tiny and quite dangerous to swim (which you should not try), but it is very beautiful if you reach there at lower tide. Take also some minutes to walk around you can get a great view over the Cantabrain Sea.
"Borizu Beach has the peculiarity of being joined to Borizu Isle (aka Arnielles Isle) at low tide by an isthmus. This increases its scenic interest and makes the changing of the tides a beautiful spectacle." (Source)
If you love nature & the mountain, there is no better place for you to enjoy some days than the incredibly beautiful Picos de Europa.
There are trails for everyone, old and young, experienced and novice hikers, half day or 2-3 days long trails, everything you want can be found in these breathtaking mountains.
We searched for an easy one, as even though we love hiking it was this time not enough time for more, and we found the incredible lovely little hike around Covadonga Lakes. It all starts in Cangas de Onis where during peak season the road up to the lakes is closed for cars and you can only reach it with an ALSA bus. The road up is gorgeous and you reach up to a parking. If you go very early in the morning (before 8:30) or late in the evening (after 20:00) you will be allowed to enter with your own car (as for as we heard from some locals). You can get details regarding dates here. Mabe interesting to mention that the bus ticket is 8 Euros for the day.
First stop Ercina Lake situated at 1108 m. "The basin of Lake Ercina comprises a long, flat pool, the final size of which was greatly influenced by the Buferrera Mine, as a 1.5-m-high dam was built at one end of the lake to impound water which was lost through the sump, thus doubling the original length." (Source)
You can take the easy way from the parking or the more beautiful one that continues from the Ercina Lake. You get a map at the tourist office in the parking when you arrive. The trail is semi marked, but normally there should be no reason for you to get lost. After a about 1h you reach at 1060m Enol Lake.
Everything is super super super amazing around, but my favorite part was to discover the little stone houses up in the mountains where people live a maybe hard but tranquil life enjoying the landscape and the nature.
Back to Cangas de Onis, if you have the time you can visit the Basilica de Covadonga which looks very imposing up the hill. We decided to have something to eat and found La reconquista open. The food was ok but nothing extraordinary.
and so we finished our 3 lovely nights in the Asturian Mountains...next Oviedo :)