Las Médulas, this was the first stop of our Roadtrip. Just like most of the places we added on our wish list, also this one was found in a post of a Portuguese travel blogger. We didn’t know about the existence of this place, but the pictures left us super curious.
Leaving Porto, it lies 300 km (190 miles) North following the highway. However, since we chose to follow the national roads, it took us a little longer, 360 km and a good 4 hours.
The place lies in León province, Spain and was an ancient Roman open-air gold mine, today a World Heritage site. They call it Europe’s Grand Canyon, with reddish rock formations blending in with the green chestnut and oak tree forests.
To get there, we typed “Las Médulas” into our GPS and we got to a town with this name. We parked the van, took out our bikes out and started our adventure. WRONG! We should have looked better at our google maps, because from there we could have taken several paths leading through the park. If you like history and long walks come here to Las Médulas and search for the “Aula Arqueológica” (Spanish for: Archeology Lesson). Here you can find all the information about the gold extraction processes and about the trails. We actually only wanted to have a view over the park with all those rocks, a more “chilled” visit, and that is why we chose the wrong path. We rode our bikes on a very steep path and most of it we just pushed them. We sweated a lot to reach the Mirador de Orellán viewpoint.
As we got there, we almost went crazy; actually, there was a driveway up there. We should have turned before the town of “Las Médulas”. That’s why, if you are planning to visit this place, you should search from the beginning Mirador de Orellán in your GPS. From here, you have an incredible view of the whole park and for 3 Euro, you can also explore the caves. And the way back down? Easy like butter…we didn’t even have to pedal…after the struggle to get there, we deserved it!
Overnight stay – Park4night – Gijon
We continued to drive up towards Covadonga, where you can visit a Basilica with an astonishing environment. Nearby there is a cave where the Virgin of Covadonga, "La Santina", patron saint of Asturias, is found in a small chapel "excavated" into the mountain.
Until now, everything was going well, but as we drove up towards the Enol and Ercina Lakes, things got complicated. It began to snow and the happiness was instantaneous, but panic quickly set in. The amount of snow was already considerable, the whole road was white, the mountains, the gorges…and our Pingu started to slip. Can you imagine how we felt? We stopped in a wider area to decide what we were going to do, if we followed the road carefully or if we would drive back down. When we looked back, we could no longer see a road, but a blanket of snow. We called the support services of the Natural Park, but they told us that the snowploughs would only serve the villages and advised us to drive down carefully, always on first gear. Oh dear, these were the longest 7km of our lives.
Following the coast, we got to Cobijeru Beach, similar to the previous one, a beach separated from the sea. Because of this funny characteristic, we were able to stand in front of the beach, with the sea behind our backs. Strange, isn't it?
Gulpiyuri Beach Cobijeru Beach