Walking Camin Real
During this new 8 day self-guide tour you will enjoy wonderful walks through open countryside, dense forests and splendid mountainous landscapes. Visit the UbiÃ±a-La Mesa and Somiedo Natural Parks. Follow along the historic CamÃn de la Mesa footpath, past friendly farming villages and overnight in charming & characteristic rural accommodations.
To Spaniards, "Asturias" means rural, green, friendly, tasty and authentic. This is the place to relax, walk, cycle, swim and sample fresh products, straight from the garden, mountain meadows or the sea. Thanks to a relatively mild and humid climate, temperatures are pleasant, even in the height of summer, and the landscape is green year round. Rural Asturias is a patchwork of walled pastures, dense forests and farming villages, bordered by a magnificent coastline to the north and steep limestone massifs to the south. A rich cultural tradition, vibrant historical towns, (pre-)Romanesque churches, welcoming accommodations and superb regional cooking combine to make visitors feel at home instantly. Extra nights may be booked to enjoy a few days at the beach in GijÃ³n or in the capital city of Oviedo.
Day 1: Arrival in Asturias
Arrive in the peaceful town of Grado where a taxi transfer will take you to your accommodation in Sama, a 3-star rural hotel with spacious guestrooms, and a comfortable sitting room, dining room and garden. A lovely place to relax as you begin to soak up the peaceful ambiance in the Asturian countryside. Tonight enjoy a tasty dinner. (D)
Day 2: El Valle de Grado
The first walking route of the program takes you through the valley of Grado, home to over a thousand years of history on the oldest pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the Camino Primitivo. The trail passes through peaceful countryside, bucolic farmland and tiny villages, many of them abandoned. Toward the end, you choose between an adventurous hike on ancient footpaths through the Sierra de Cuota or a stroll along quiet country lanes to Vallonga or Vayo and a taxi transfer back to the hotel. (B.D) Today's challenge: 12km; 4.5hrs; 250m climb/descent; OR 15km; 5.5hrs; 500m climb/descent
Day 3: From Sama to Proaza
Today's walk leads from Sama de Grado to Proaza, following quiet country lanes with just one ascent, up to the Sierra de Buanga. As you walk, sweeping views widen to reveal an ever-expanding landscape of tiny mountain ranges. You reach Linares, just one of the many villages along this narrow mountain ridge, then begin your descent toward the Trubia River. Down in the valley, you pick up a converted railway path, now the popular walking and cycling route known as the Senda del Oso. This "Way of the Bear" takes you to a small reserve where two Asturian brown bears have been raised in captivity in a desperate attempt to increase the native (bear) population. Your next accommodation is a pleasant family-run hotel situated on the square, in the pleasant village of Proaza. (B) Today's challenge:16km; 5.5hrs; 500m climb, 575m descent
Day 4: From Proaza to QuirÃ³s
Today combines a walk through the spectacular Xana Gorge with the high pastures of the Ruta de las RelÃÂquias. You follow a long-distance trail gradually up, to reach 1050m at the edge of the Sierra Aramo. Enjoying open views, you descend along cow trails and quiet lanes to reach QuirÃ³s, where you'll spend the night at a comfortable hotel, run by a very hospitable Spanish-English couple. Option of being dropped off in La Robellada or picked up at Bermiego. Dinner and overnight in Faedo, QuirÃ³s. (B.D) Today's challenge: 10km; 4.5hrs; 465m climb; OR 16.5km; 6.5hrs; 950m climb.
Day 5: Circular route from QuirÃ³s
After three days of tough hikes, your knees will get some rest today on a circular walk around Valdemurrio Reservoir. You pass quiet hamlets and tiny chapels with a chance to stop at the beautiful Romanesque church of San Pedro de Arrojo, all the while following country lanes and farming tracks through the valley. Return to your accommodation in QuirÃ³s for dinner and overnight. (B.D) Today's challenge: 12.5km; 4hrs; 250m climb/descent
Day 6: From QuirÃ³s to Teverga and Walking the BraÃ±as
This morning you'll be dropped off at San Lorenzo Pass (1375m) near the entrance to Somiedo Natural Park. From here, you follow the CamÃÂn Real de la Mesa through summer pastures on either side of the ridge. Marvellous views and thatched shepherds' huts in the summer pastures on the "braÃ±as". From La Magdalena pass, you walk down a winding land rover track to reach the village of Barriu. Your accommodation for the next 2 nights is a lively bar/restaurant/hotel just opposite the Romanesque Iglesia de San Pedro in La Plaza, Teverga. Choice of dining at the hotel or elsewhere in the village. (B) Today's challenge: 5.5-6hrs; 17km; 300m climb 950m descent.
Day 7: Choice of activities
If you are now hooked on views from high ridges, you can walk the CamÃÂn Real de la Mesa northward to Puertos de Marabio, a vast karstic landscape in the midst of idyllic summer meadows. Another option for the day: cycling on the Senda del Oso or visiting the Prehistory Park with replicas of valuable cave paintings from northern Spain and elsewhere in Europe. Taxi transfers or bike rental not included in today's program. Overnight accommodation in Teverga.(B) Today's challenge: walking or cycling; 4.5-6hrs; 14-20km.
Day 8: Depart Asturias
Today this fascinating walking tour comes to an end. Enjoy breakfast at your hotel and end of our services. (B)
From Oviedo airport, you first travel by bus to reach the city centre (45min, see www.alsa.es, departures hourly, book in advance). You then take a local train to the peaceful town of Grado. If you are coming from elsewhere in Spain, there are direct train and/or bus connections to Oviedo from Madrid, Valladolid, Bilbao & Santander. If you prefer, a direct taxi transfer from Oviedo or Oviedo airport to Grado is available on request. On departure day take a local bus (4 daily departures) to Oviedo or order a taxi to Oviedo or the airport. The return taxi transfer should be booked in advance through CIT Tours.
Extra nights can be booked at any of the standard accommodations, at city hotels in Oviedo or Bilbao, or in GijÃ³n on the coast. Optional bike hire on day 7. Optional taxi transfers on day 7.
The Challenge: Level 2 (moderate difficulty) Lodging: Charming family-run rural accommodations and one modern hotel in the village centre of Proaza. Tour Departure: Daily from March 15 to October 15.