Los Ancares, rural flavour in inland Galicia
Sierra de Ancares mountains
Allow us to present one of the most surprising regions of northern Spain: Los Ancares. This area of mountains has the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve designation and runs into two different Regions: Galicia and Castile-León. Exploring the tracks and trails that run through this area is a good way to get to know it. What is more, you will also be able to discover the rural surroundings of this unique area of Green Spain.
The Los Ancares Mountains run across two provinces: Lugo, in the Region of Galicia, and León in Castile-León. Hiking enthusiasts will love this destination - its woods and valleys have a host of tracks and trails, some of which head up to peaks over 2,000 metres above sea level. They are routes that run through high-mountain areas. Nevertheless, many of them are only of intermediate or low difficulty, so they can be done with children or older persons.
Summer and autumn are the ideal seasons for walking in this region. On the way you will find streams and small waterfalls, as well as tiny villages, medieval castles and churches, Celtic "castros" (forts), traditional dwellings such as the "pallozas"... Not forgetting, of course, stunning landscapes that are a refuge for endangered species such as the capercaillie and bear. Rest assured, there is lots to see. In any case, you can head for the region's tourist offices where they will help you to plan your getaway.
An alternative route in the Los Ancares Mountains
If you want to get to know this nature area in depth and you don't have much time, then why not do the following 3-day tourist route in the Los Ancares Mountains, Lugo province. It is a circular route, combining stages by car and on foot, and will take you to the area's main points of interest. 115 kilometres in total, starting and finishing in the village of Becerreá:
The first day covers 30 kilometres between Becerreá and Doiras on the LU-722 and LU-723 country roads: don't miss the 16th century castle and Roman bridge. The next destination is the village of Degrada, a little under 13 kilometres away. From here you can get to the Los Ancares Nature Centre, with spectacular views of the mountains from its viewpoint. The centre opens 1 June-15 September, and you will find information about the region's importance as a nature area, besides the activities and routes available to do. We would also recommend you climb Tres Obispos Peak, one of the area's most famous. It is not too difficult and the route will take you approximately six hours.
The second day starts in Piornedo, 10 kilometres from Degrada. Here you can see one of the region's most emblematic elements - its "pallozas": these are pre-Romanesque structures that served as dwellings and also for livestock. Some of these traditional houses can be visited, such as Casa do Sesto, for example. You can also visit San Lorenzo Chapel. We now continue some 28 kilometres by car, towards the villages of Murias and Rao, passing the stunning landscapes of the Rao River Canyon. On the way you will find the village of Coro. This is the departure point for a well signed hiking route that explores this area.
The third day starts in Rao, a village where peace and tranquillity reign. Here you will find the church of Santa María, with its two fine altarpieces, and picturesque "cortíns": these are circular stone constructions, about a metre and a half tall. Beehives were placed inside to protect them from bears. 20 kilometres away, in A Proba de Navia, you can visit its medieval fortress and unusual bridge. In this area you will also have the chance to do the los castros route, a walk that will show you six of the district's most important Celtic fort remains. On the LU-722 country road again, we now cover 17 kilometres to end our journey in Becerreá, although we suggest that first you take the turning to see the old Santa María de Cervantes fort, that dates from the Roman period.
Nature, tradition, culture... The Los Ancares region awaits you in northern Spain with plenty of surprises. When are you coming?