Boñar – Hoces de Nocedo – Puerto de Vegarada
We enter through La Vecilla in the upper basin of the legendary Curueño; after passing Valdepiélago we enter the heart of the mountains……
A small detour leads us to Valdorria, a steep and abrupt area to which the monk Froilán (9th century) withdrew as a young man to live a hermit’s life, who later, in his old age, was to become bishop of León, its patron saint. At the top, near the summit of Peña de Valdorria, there is a small hermitage dedicated to San Froilán, which can be reached by a long stairway carved into the rocks.
Returning to our route, we come across Nocedo and its thermal spa, which closed a few years ago.
Upstream comes the Curueño river fighting its way through the narrow gorges of the Hoces de Valdeteja. A road on the right takes us to Arintero, the birthplace of Juanita Garcia, the Lady of Arintero, the woman-soldier who fought for Isabella of Castilla and distinguished herself in the battles of Zamora and Toro at the end of the 15th century.
And then we reach Los Argüellos, an area of old muleteers, legends and goblins; here we find Lugueros, with a charcuterie factory, Tolibia, Cerulleda and small villages with ancestral homes and the remains of a Roman road.
The ascent to Puerto de Vegarada, at 1,560 m. offers good panoramic views of its surroundings; it is a big game hunting and grazing area for transhumant livestock. In the harbour, there is a small café for refreshments.
Destination: Puerto de Vegarada
Boñar – Hoces de Vegacervera – Valporquero Cave
It is a short route from Boñar to Valporquero but full of surprising charms and contrasts in the route along the basins of the three rivers that bathe it. Its destination, its famous caves, are of magnificent beauty and will take up your whole day.
La Vecilla, located overlooking the Curueño river, was once a welcoming, friendly and stately village, well communicated, a summer resort. It preserves a beautiful medieval tower (14th century), whose battlements have disappeared, and an old keep, recently repaired, which was once a prison.
Passing near Aviados, where there are the ruins of its famous castle, which was the ancestral home and primitive seat of the Guzmanes, you reach the Torío, the mining area of Robles and Matallana. Upstream we are surprised by the Hoces de Vegacervera, where river and road work together to make their way through the towering limestone crests, until we reach Felmín, from where a high mountain road leads to the Valporquero Caves, the most important speleological complex in the north of Spain. It is more than 3,000 m long and 1,300 m open to tourism. The Caves are under the management of the Diputación Provincial, which has published several works about them and to which we refer for this visit.
If you feel like it and have enough time, you can continue the route upstream of the Torío. Gete, Getino and Crémenes, once lands of muleteers with royal privileges for their trade, hold legends and traditions that still stand. Its beautiful landscapes, its singular cuisine and its trout cooked in the local style, will complement, at dinner time, this surprising day.
Destination: Cueva de Valporquero
Boñar offers two routes to Riaño, the shortest via Sabero, the other via Puerto de Las Señales……
Following the first road, between meadows and groves, we soon pass Grandoso, of Celtic origin, and Colle, of Roman origin. La Collada, a watershed, allows us access to the mining valley of Sabero, where its famous coal mines and open-pit mines are experiencing an uncertain future. There you can visit the MUSEO DE LA SIDERURGIA DE CASTILLA Y LEON (http://www.museosm.com).
In Crémenes you can visit its new neo-Romanesque church, with paintings by Santiago Eguiagaray from Leon.
From Las Salas it is a must to visit Lois, 10 km away, with several emblazoned houses and its famous baroque church, “La Catedral de la Montaña” from the 18th century, built with marble from the village’s quarries.
Back on the N-621 we reach Riaño, bordering the dam. The new Riaño is nothing like the old Villa, which everyone longs for. Riaño is today a modern urban development that struggles for a dignified and prosperous survival; to it have been transferred, stone by stone, the ancient church of La Puerta that will be, one day, a regional museum, and the church of Pedrosa, from the XVI century, with a reproduction of its romantic façade whose original has been returned to Siero, where it came from.
Riaño is the center of a large region of unique and beautiful landscapes, where one is able to admire the aggressiveness and haughtiness of its limestone ridges and the lush and varied vegetation of its mountains.
From Riaño the traveler can head towards Asturias, Palencia, Cantabria or head back to León. Any route will satisfy your tourist needs.
Boñar – Puerto de San Isidro
The upper Porma basin is an area that nature has blessed with great resources……
…of a surprising landscape with varied and diverse tree species and a fauna and flora so rich and abundant that it fulfills the demands of the most studious of scholars, the hand of man has collaborated with the creation of extensive pine forests, poplar groves and a water dam, once a source of discord and today a source of wealth, which together with the Esla irrigates large areas in the south of León.
Just started the route we arrived at Remellán, the Roman “Romalia”, today a restaurant of prestigious cuisine. A 3 km detour takes us to Oville which, together with Valdecastillo, up the road, has rich silica mines. Next comes the dam, which flooded Vegamián and the villages of the municipality in 1967. At its side the Pardomino mountain, with as many valleys as days of the year, a hunter’s paradise.
Puebla de Lillo is a beautiful village, in the shadow of the Susarón and Rebollares, with a great wealth of livestock supported by extensive meadows well watered by countless streams. Its famous pine forests, with picturesque landscapes, are actively sought after for their beauty and a relaxed walk.
The route leads us to the shores of Lake Isoba and a short distance from Lake Ausente, immersed in legends.
Finally we arrive at Puerto de San Isidro, with a modern winter ski resort, sponsored by the Provincial Council of Leon with a large number of mechanical means of transport to the slopes, ski school, the whole series of services, assistance and hospitality inherent to the quality of a first class resort.
Until May there is abundant snow, then the landscape is adorned with the beauty of the flora and fauna characteristic of this region.
Destination: Puerto de San Isidro
Boñar – Puerto de Tarna -Valle de Valdeón – Garganta del Cares
A route of infinite contrasts is offered by this region.
A few kilometers away we arrive at the Porma dam, built and filled in the 60s. To the right the legendary Pardomino mountain, with the most varied richness of trees, plants and animals; further up Puebla de Lillo, of Roman origin, with its hermitage of Las Nieves on the placid meadow; the tower of the Enríquez in the shadow of the Susarón; the talc mines at the foot of the mountain and in the background, to the right, the impressive massif of Mampodre, National Reserve.
Shortly after, we arrive at Cofiñal to ascend to the Puerto de las Señales and descend to the Puerto de Tarna, with the “La Nalona” fountain just a few meters away.
We begin the descent to the valley of Valdeburón, an ancient medieval Merindad. The whole area is a continuous green carpet, dotted with small villages such as Acevedo, the birthplace of illustrious men and historical traditions; its church has altarpieces, carvings and paintings of undoubted artistic interest. Further down Burda, head of the Merindad, where you can visit the church and the palaces of the Goméz Caso and the Allende.
Already in the valley of Orza is the hermitage of Nuestra Sra. de Pontón, erected by the Asturian King Fruela I in the VIII century.
The immediate detour to the right leads us to the valley of Valdeón. The Piedrasitas viewpoint in Panderrueda offers us the most wonderful spectacle of the Cantabrian mountain range: The Picos de Europa with Peña Santa, Torre Cerredo, Llambrión, etc.. Its a landscape of majestic beauty. In the villages of Valdeón, the hórreos, the typical houses and the church are a must. The whole valley landscape with the Tombo viewpoint, the Chorro, Corona and the devine Garganta del Cares will amaze you in a way that time will be unable to erase from your memory.
Destination: Ruta del Cares