The Council of Quiros is a part of the Camin Real de la Mesa (Royal route of the table). This route is Pre-Romanic in origin and up until the 19th century, it was one of the busiest routes between Asturias and the central plains of Spain. You can still see the original Roman Pavements as the route winds its way through hills, meadows and along the River Nalon.
Quiros offers spectacular views of mountains, landscapes, valleys and meadows. It is also a part of the Valley of the Bear which is an area dedicated to the protection of one of the last populations of Cantabrian Brown Bears, one of three varieties of brown bear existing in Europe.
The main town of Quiros is Barzana which is home to an Ethnographic Museum. Throughout the area of Quiros, you can also find the Alba Castle and chapel, the Romanic Church of San Pedro de Arrojo and many other Large Houses, Churches, Chapels as well as many civil and industrial constructions from the mining era. The town of Bermiego is popular with tourists due to the large concentration of Asturian barns or “horreos”, other ethnographic buildings and a thousand old yew tree which becomes the symbol of the town.
In this area you can visit the remains of a megalithic burial site at La Cobertoria and it is also home to archaeological remains of Celtic settlements such as the “Cochao Castro”
The area of Quiros is an amazing place for nature lovers. You can walk many Routes and practice a lot of outdoor sports and adventure activities. One of the most popular is “La Senda del Oso” or the Route of the Bear which is great for walking or cycling and is especially for those accompanied by small kids. Bicycle and Segway hire is available at reasonable daily rates. The route starts in the town of Tuñón, Teverga and follows 25 km of a disused mining railway from the 19th century, restored for hikers and cyclists as it passes through Quiros, Santo Adriano, Proaza and Teverga collectively known as the “Valleys of the Bear”. The section of the Route that goes through Quiros is 10 km between Valdemurio to Santa Marina.
Shortly, an extension of 6km more will open following the Old Royal Route (Camino Real) that will continue to the Ventana Pass. This route is known as the Road of the Relics because in 718AD, the route was used to bring the holy relics of Jerusalem to Asturias in order to protect them in the mountains. These relics left Jerusalem in the year 614 after the Persian invasion and were brought to be safeguarded in the Visigothic Court of Toledo, Spain, where they were safely stored for 100 years. After the invasion of Spain by the Moors, Toledo moved the relics to Asturias via this old Route towards the Monsacro peak in the council of Morcin. They were hidden in a cave which later was made into a chapel called Santo Toribio. After almost 100 years until 808AD the relics were moved to the Holly Chamber in Oviedo by the Asturian King Alfonso II El Casto. The King had contacts at the time with Carlomagno and was the one who discovered the tomb of the apostle Santiago, and started the very important “Route of Saint James”.
Quiros is a real paradise for rock climbers. The area is home to very prestigious climbing schools and boasts more than 300 climbing routes on the Sierra de Caranga in the Aramo Mountains which is a protected landscape due to its stunning beauty and panoramic views of Asturias. From its highest peak called “Pico Gamoniteiru” (1,791m) you can even see the sea. Also, Quiros lies at the foot of the highest peak of the Ubiña Massif called the Fontán Norte Peak (2,417 m.).
One of the naturalistic jewels of Asturias is the Puertos de Agüeria (Agüeria Pass), where you can find glacial and linestone valleys carpeted with holly and yew tree forests together with alpine pasturelands, peaks of more than 2,000m. and rocky cliffs faces of more than 500m. All of this makes this area as a rock climbers dream.
The Gastronomy of the area is a classical Asturian fare, enjoying very nice seasonal vegetables, traditional stews, Asturian reared beef and nice fish from the Rivers. The area is also very popular for game dishes (especially venison and wild boar) and roast meats, picadillo (asturian spiced minced meat) and callos (tripe). Three of the most popular and traditional dishes are the “Pote de Berzas” (a delicious traditional Asturian recipe for cabbage stew), the “Pote de Castañas” (Chestnut Stew) and the Xaldu Lamb Stew (with Xaldu lamb which is the locally reared Asturian lamb). You will find most meals are served with local Escanda Bread (Spelt Bread). One of the most popular cheeses is Bota cheese. Classic desserts to look out for in the area are the very popular “Borrachinos” which are a delicious Asturian traditional recipe of fried bread soaked in milk or wine.
Here you can enjoy the very popular Festival of the “Cordero a la Estaca” in the “Prau Llaguezu”, one of the most famous in Asturias. This is a lovely experience of eating a very tasty butterfield lamb slow roasted over an open fire and served al fresco, high in the mountain fields. The “Cordero a la Estaca” takes place in many towns throughout Asturias during the summer months.
Quiros also offers camping and services for motor homes.
If you want to know more about the Camin Real de la Mesa you can read the article written by Paul Richardson for the english newspaper The Guardian: Secrets of Spain on a road less travelled.
More info: Quirós Tourist Office
If you want more information contact Where is Asturias at firstname.lastname@example.org
Images supplied by Tomás Fano, Ayto Quiros and Turismo Asturias: Jano Foggia, Arnaud Späni, Camilo Alonso, Eduardo Velasco, Juanjo Arrojo, Carlos García Hevia, Alva Rodríguez and Carmen Celorio.