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From Gijón to Covadonga

A route with great  geographical variety, that passes through valleys, mountains and villages.

Area: Coastal and inland Asturias
Lenght: 76 Kilometres.
Duration: 2-3 days.
Starting point: El Güeyu Deva oo the Ñales path ( El Camín de Ñales).
Finishing point: The Holy Cave of Covadonga (Cueva de" La Santina")

Itinerary:
  • Gijón.
  • Villaviciosa.
  • Piloña.
  • Parres.
  • Cangas de Onís.
It is RECOMMENDED to take the route on foot or by mountain bike



The walk or camín from Gijón to Covadonga is a primitive hiking route which has been covered since time immemoral. However, thanks to recent promotion, more people have begun taking this route througout the whole year. There are different variations but the most popular route is the one recommended by the cultural association called Tertulia el Garrapiellu since 1993.

To explain the route more simply, it is divided into the three traditional stages, wich can be walked independently.



FIRST STAGE FROM GIJON TO VILLAVICIOSA

Starting from El Güeyu Deva, next to the stone-made washing place and the parish church, take the route to El Pedroco. Then, ascend to La Olla while enjoying the fantastic views, until you arrive at the Council of Villaviciosa, passing next to the Restaurant El Pinal. Climb the El Curbiellu hill, belonging to the Parish of Peón, while admiring the beautiful views of the Asturian coast. In Les Mariñes, hikers usually take the first stop.

From the El Curbiellu hill, start the descent to the valley through the primitive path called Camino Real de Peón. It leads first to Bárzana and then to Llantáu and the River España, a crossroads where many walkers take a break. Continue towards Casamorías until the first slopes leading up to the La Cruz hill. This is a charming wooded stretch of eucalyptus and pines. Once at the top, admire the amazing landscape which spans from Villaviciosa to the Sueve and the Picos de Europa mountains. Start the descent, fisrt by the local road and then follow a detour on the right hand, which leads to the Parish of Niévares passing by the rural houses called Fernandiz and La Piñera, and ending in El Pueblu. Go on through a flat stretch next to the walls of La Torre de Niévares, an ancient medieval fortress with a chapel, a large house called casona and a shed for storing cereal called panera. This place is located next to the La Peña hill. Then follow the path called El Camino de Llivinque until you come to Grases.

Walk across Grases de Baxu, between picturesque houses and horreos, wooden or stone-made sheds used to keep grain and other agricultural products. Here you can visit the chapell called Capilla de las Ánimas (an oratory where people leave their offerings for the deceased) and the San Vicente parish which stil preserves traces of the ancient inhabitants known as astures lugonni. Leaving behind the La Mota palace and its mill, pass by La Venta and Casquita, very small rural villages famous for the San Blas chapel and their typical cider presses, in the delightful water meadows of the Valdediós River. By following the river, you will arrive al Amandi. Take a break in La Parra, a crossroads only two kilometres to the south from the capital of the Council, Villaviciosa. Then, cross the Roman bridge until you get to the chapel located in the middle of the San Juan fields, next to the Romanesque church of San Juan d'Amandi, an impressive medieval monument. Once in Villaviciosa, enjoy a variety of accommodations, bars and restaurants.


FROM GIJON TO COVADONGA

SECOND STAGE: FROM VILLAVICIOSA TO LLAMES DE PARRES

From the chapel of Amandi, take the AS-255 road until you reach Valbúcar. Then, along a path in the middle of nature go to Malpasu. Following the banks of the Puente Coro River and through a land of luxuriant vegetation you will arrive at the fields called Las Vegas and Villaverde. Then you will pass by the Parish of Fuentes, famous for its rural houses called quintanas, holiday cottages and ancient mills. Then, a gradual slope across the Sama hill and groves, leads to La Venta Coro, another typical hikers, stop and place to spend the night. The adventure contunues by passing next to the Romanesque chapel of Los Mártires towards Moratín. Take the La Cuesta Coro slope to approach Breceña, passing by the horreo called Casa'l Xaullar located in the Cuetu area. Once you are on the road again, head for the parish church of San Pedro, have a rest and drink a little glass of cider or, as the Asturian people say, "un culín de sidra", to quench your thirst and get your strength back to go on with the trip. From La Infiesta to Sietes you can go by road or by taking the detour which, from the Buslaz hamlet, leads up the Tandión hill.

Sietes is remarkable for its Asturian architecture, its casas de indianos (houses belonging to Spaniards who made furtune in Latin America), its centenarian horreos and the breathtaking Santu Medero church dating from 1555. There is a rural hotel and marvellous viewpoints from which to enjoy the landscape. Go through the village towards the ancient recreational house and the district of Perviyao. There, you will leave behind the Council of Villaviciosa entering that of Piloña by the village of Llares, in the Parish of Anayo. You will soon arrive at the centre of Anayo, situated in a crossroads next to the ancient school, with some bars, the grill restaurant and its particular Asturian bowling green. This village is an impressive vantage point over the valleys of Piloña and the Ques mountains.

From Anayo descend to La Retuerta, in the Parish of Borines. This is a beautiful path which, between green fields, leads down to El Brixón and La Cuesta. These small towns stand out for their traditional houses and rural palaces. It is also an area well-known for its mineral water and ancient spas. The flat road which leads to Vallobal is full of bars and different types of accommodation. Vallobal is a town or unquestionable charm, famous for its ancient leper hospital. Continue to Mirayes, characterized by the lines of houses spread along the access road to the town. There is a place to have a rest in front of the church. Then, walk towards La Goleta and La Trapa, from which you can contemplate the Cutre palace, nowadays restored as a hotel, next to the Sueve mountains. You can admire these mountains as you walk across Sorribas, before descending to Cúa, entering the Council of Parres through El Puente, which is next to Soto de Dueñas, the Piloña River and the N-634 road. There, go over the old bridge to the other bank and follow the path which ascends to Villar de Güegu.. Take the ancient path called Camino de La Reina towards Llames de Parres. In this town there are many bars, hostels and holiday cottages. You can also enjoy the visit to different monuments such as the San Martín de Escoto chapel, rural houses called casonas and typical Asturian houses.


THIRD STAGE: FROM LLAMES DE PARRES TO COVADONGA

From the Llames hill descend through Valdebode to the church or Viabaño. Then take the path which goes back to the wooden banks of the Piloña River towards Romillu. When you arrive at the bridge over the Manpodre River, ascend to the district of La Faya, in Romillín, and the San Jose chapel. Descend and then walk through a flat path to Los Tucones and Los Coros. During this route you will already catch a glimpse of Cangas de Onís. In La Vega los Caseros, cross the Sella River and enter into the Council of Cangas through Villanueva. In this area there are many hostels, bars, restaurants, as well as the magnificient state-owned hotel, the ancient monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva, an essential sample of Romanesque Art in Asturias.

The trout reserves of the Sella River lead to Cangas de Onís, through two of its districts: Contranquil and La Pedrera. This is a good opportunity to visit the Santa Cruz chapel, the Roman bridge called El Puenton and other monuments of Cangas. This town is a tourist setting very famous for the Sunday market and the cheerfull atmosphere created by the large  number of travellers and hikers.

Following the course of the Güeña River through the Lleráu district, leave the urban area of Cangas, heading towards Susierra and Celorio. Go across the river and the road to arrive at Soto de Cangas, in the shade of the medieval tower of Cauvilla. Cuntinue towards Covadonga through El Bosque, La Riera and Muñigo, where there is the Museum of pottery and clocks (Museo de la Cerámica y los Relojes). Approach the Royal Site of Covadonga through the El Repelao field and follow the pedestrian path called El Camín del Príncipe which, passing by the ancient inn, leads very close to the Holy Cave ("Santa Cueva"). There, be sure to visit the statue of Our Lady of Covadonga or "La Santina" and the historical monument of Covadonga: the Basílica, the Explanada (the area in front of the Basílica), the Campanona ( a 4 m tall bell), etc. This is the end of the unforgettable walk which started in Gijón.

Translated by  Noemí Pérez Rubio