Somiedo, a small paradise in Asturias
Somiedo was declared the first Natural Park in Asturias in June 1988. Since 2000 it has also formed part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, thus becoming one of the most valuable and best conserved natural areas in the Cantabrian Mountains.
Somiedo boasts a landscape full of contrasts and colours. Located in the heart of the Cantabrian Mountain range, Somiedo is enrobed by mountains, making it a truly unique setting, while the beech and oak forests cover the majority of the lower areas. Its deep valleys are home to several gorges, rivers and streams. The glacial lakes and lagoons are another distinguishing characteristic, the most famous being the Lagos de Saliencia, which form part of the Conjunto Lacustre de Somiedo, declared a Natural Monument.
Despite being small, it is considered one of Spain’s greatest natural treasures, as it is home to stunning biodiversity and a surprising variety of ecosystems and landscapes that have been conserved over the years. It is also one of the last sanctuaries for endangered wildlife, home to emblematic species such as the brown bear, Iberian wolf, Iberian desman or the Alpine longhorn beetle.
Somiedo also treasures a valuable ethnographic and architectural heritage: each village has a granary, mill, fountain and washing place, in addition to the use of the dry stone construction technique, declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. But what truly makes Somiedo special is its legacy linked to transhumance and the vaqueiros de alzada (nomadic cowherds), a trade that is very much still kept alive. Thus, the traditional constructions such as the corros (corbeled constructions), teitos (traditional stone dwelling with a thatched roof) or brañas (seasonal pastures) are a live reflection of the mark farming activities have left on Somiedo’s landscape and culture.
- Somiedo Natural Park
- Somiedo Biosphere Reserve
- Natura Network 2000 (ZEPA, ZEC)
Commitment to sustainable tourism
Somiedo has a long history of working to make tourism compatible with sustainable local development. This demonstrates its commitment to preserving its valuable natural and cultural heritage, at the same time as promoting a form of tourism that encourages awareness of the importance of conserving biodiversity.
- In 2020, the Natural Park came to form part of the System for the Recognition of the Sustainability of Nature Tourism within the Natura 2000 network
- Thanks to this recognition, Somiedo is a destination that forms part of the Soy Ecoturista brand
Ecotourism in Somiedo
Somiedo is a privileged ecotourism destination thanks to its impressive natural and cultural heritage:
- Wildlife watching experiences, in particular the brown bear.
- Activities involving the observation and interpretation of native flora, with approximately 30 species of orchids or endemic species
- Bird watching.
- Hiking along the 13 long and short routes around the park.
- Horse riding routes through forests and beech forests.
- Guided interpretative routes to explore the ethnographic heritage, tracking
- Mycological routes to discover the more than 2500 known species of fungi