The Council of Somiedo is part of the Camín Real de la Mesa. This route is Pre-Romanic in origin and, up to 19th century, it was one of the busiest routes between Asturias and the central plains of Spain, connecting with the well-known Route of the Silver. You can still find the original Roman Pavements as the route winds its way through hills, meadows and along the Rivers Narcea and Pigueña.
It is well located at the South-centre of Asturias, in the middle of breath-taking mountains, and less than 40 minutes from the city of Oviedo, the airport of Asturias, and the beautiful beaches of Castrillón or the West of Asturias.
The Natural Park of Somiedo is an extraordinary landscape and it is an incredible place for lovers of nature with peaks of over 2,100 metres. These mountains, now a Biosphere reserve have twelve organized routes to walk, cycle or horse-riding. One of the most popular is through “Las Brañas Asturianas” which are gorgeous meadows and pasturelands with very characteristic Stone Mountain Cabins with thatched roofs known as Teitos. These cabins were used by cattle herders known as “vaqueiros de alzada” to take refugee from bad weather. They were migrant cattle herders that spend their summer days in high mountain pastures to then go to lower ground during winter season. In Somiedo you will find some of the most popular Brañas like La Pornacal, La Campa Mumian or Braña Viella. You can learn everything you ever wanted to know about the Natural Park in the Interpretation Centre of the Natural Park of Somiedo, where you can admire a permanent exposition about all the resources of the Park.
The Eco-Museum, separated in three different centres, is a showing of the traditional life style of Somiedo. The first centre, located in Veigas has three “Teitos” with the traditional broom thatching. The second centre, located in Caunéu, is a showroom of the different trades and crafts that traditionally took place in the county. The last one, located in La Pola de Somiedo, has different showcases shaped as Teitos that, through objects, images and text show the traditional house and lifestyle: agriculture, transport, bread-baking, water, hunting and fishing.
The Interpretation Centre of Somiedo and the Bear shows the way Somiedo has always been linked to the brown bear. From here you can also book guided tours organized by the “Fundación Oso Pardo” or Brown Bear Foundation to follow the steps of the brown bear, to see its natural environment, and meet the rest of the fauna.
Another of the more popular and beautiful Routes of Asturias and the area are the Routes of the Lakes of Somiedo. This area is home of most important lakes in Asturias, the lakes of Saliencia and the Lake Valley. The Route to the Lake Valley is a much frequented one by locals and foreigners throughout the year.
In Somiedo you can also admire the annual Rut of the Stag, one of the most haunting and impressive mating rituals, that takes place between late summer and early autumn. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy natural life at its purest form. To enjoy this activity you can book one of the many packages available.
If you just want to enjoy the impressive views and landscapes of this area then you must visit the Prince’s Viewpoint in the town of La Peral. It is also recommended that you visit the town of Pola de Somiedo or any of the other local country towns and villages in the area. The hydroelectric power station at Malva, built in 1915 and is still in service, offers a fine example of industrial architecture.
Somiedo is the perfect place to enjoy a day out in nature.
The Gastronomy of the area is classically Asturian providing very nice seasonal vegetables, stews, Asturian reared beef and nice fish from the rivers or sea and also a nice selection of desserts and cheeses.
If you want to know more about the Camín Real de la Mesa you can read this article written by Paul Richardson for the English newspaper The Guardian: Secrets of Spain on a road less travelled
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