Walking and hiking in Asturias, Spain
Not too long ago Asturias was little known by walkers and hikers. But all of that has changed and the region is now regarded as one of the best spots in Europe for both relaxing scenic strolls and the more challenging mountain hikes.
You will also find everything in between.
As the centre of Green Spain, Asturias offers an unrivalled mix of meadows, grasslands, forestation and mountains. It has a number of internationally popular walking routes ranging from the "Camino de Santiago" (the French route) which runs the length of Asturias, to the paths and trails that cover the “Picos de Europa” mountain range – an extension to the Pyrenees.
One of the real beauties of Asturias is the variety and differing levels of challenge that the walker can select and, in order to help those unfamiliar with the area, there are some demarcations that advise on route type.
Many walks are indicated as either a "GR" (long route) or a "PR" (short route).
The GR (long routes) may interconnect a number of shorter routes and can be of considerable distance and pass through large open areas. They are indicated with white and red paint and some extend to hundreds of kilometres. It is not of course necessary to complete any route in its entirety and the length of the route does not necessarily mean that it is physically demanding (most are not).
By contrast, the shorter (PR) routes cover distances that may be walked in anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days, but normally have a town or destination as an end objective (though not always).
Both GR and PR walks are plotted to avoid roads whenever possible and both always focus on scenery and natural beauty.
Many of the shorter walks have a target town or theme around which the paths are based. A typical example is the "Ruta Salmones Arriba" route which passes a river known for its salmon fishing and is of 11 km in length. You can use the estimated duration of a walk along with its actual length to get a general idea of its difficulty, but most (other than those in the mountains) are primarily aimed at sightseers.
For listings of a number of different walks across Asturias, take a look at this link, walks by Asturian district. Once on the page you need to scroll down to the map and then click on the district that you are interested in. You will then be taken to a list of routes that are local to that area. The information is in Spanish, but you can easily figure out the distances and durations.
For those interested in cycling, there are some specific routes designed for two wheels and pedal power. Some of these routes have been put together just for cyclist and utilise dissused train tracks that pass through some stunning areas.
More on walking and hiking can be found here Guided and self-guided walks.