In addition to the mountain bikes we offer, our guests may find it just as pleasant to enjoy the countryside on foot, whether on the hiking paths we suggest or others to discover. There are also a number of routes by car.
Hiking Around La Montaña Mágica
Below we offer a number of suggestions for possible routes that take off right from La Montaña Mágica. Those routes which present certain ambiguities in their direction have been signposted to clear up any confusion.
La Montaña Mágica is located in the centre of a farming region, and so hikers will frequently come across fences and gates to protect livestock. As for the fences, a small hop over will suffice to cross, but all gates must be closed to prevent any livestock from escaping.
We advise hikers to wear shoes with a thick sole, as there may be mud. Also, since the routes may have some brambles and thorns along the way, we advise our guests to wear long trousers.
While none of these routes suppose any risks, we still urge each hiker to measure his or her own abilities. We cannot be held responsible for any accident.
Enjoy the paths, and above all please help us keep them clean (keep hold of papers, cigarette butts, and bottles).
1. Hike around the Cuanda sinkhole (dolina de Cuanda)
Visit to a sinkhole and panoramic views of the Cuanda mountain range and La Montaña Mágica. (Generally shaped like a cone, a sinkhole is a depression in the ground which acts as a drain for rainwater. It is particularly common in areas with high chalk levels.)
The hike starts off from the second path on the left on the road which connects El Allende with La Montaña Mágica. It uses the same path as the second hike (see below, marked in orange). The path circles the sinkhole on a very comfortable trail. The second half winds along less defined trails, crossing pastures on La Montaña Mágica’s hillside, and passing a number of livestock enclosures without gates. The walk can be extended by taking a wide but somewhat abandoned path down to bottom of the sinkhole. Look for it starting on the hillside slope of La Montaña Mágica.
Duration: ¾ hour. Route marked in white.
Remarks: The walk is generally quite smooth, although it becomes a bit complicated towards the end, as the trail becomes less defined and the hiker must cross a number of wire-fences.
2. Hike up to Pico Castillo de Rales (276 m)
At the peak’s summit one finds the remains of an ancient stone building – a Roman tower – but the peak’s great attraction is based on the splendid panoramic views out over Rales, Vibaño, Posada, the coast, the Cuera mountain range, and the Picos de Europa. The southern face of the Pico is home to a regal oak forest made up by age-old trees growing among the crevasses.
The hike starts along the same trail as the previous and continues until a fork. Take the trail to the right and continue along the smooth ascent until the peak’s summit. To return, take the same trail or follow the first trail (see above). As an alternative, the hiker can also descend along the southern slope until the Samoreli sinkholes (third route).
Duration: 1 ½ hours. Route marked in green.
Remarks: The hike is very simple and easy to find and follow.
3. Hike through the Samoreli karstic complex. Descent to Raless
3a. Visit to sinkholes. The area is comprised of two deep sinkholes carpeted by rich, verduous vegetation in forests of oak, elm, and ash trees. Ferns and moss add to the environment. A small subterranean river crosses the sinkholes and can be followed up to the cave where it continues its course. In the larger sinkhole one can find the small but nonetheless interesting remains of a mill.
The hike starts out along a path that takes off from the left of the road from El Allende to La Herrería. Look for it at the first pronounced curve that is found at the exit of El Allende, in front of a shed/garage. After passing some meadows the hiker comes to two paths bordering a shed: the first one, on the left, descends through the meadows, and the second one, on the right, enters the forest and descends towards Rales (the hiker will return from Rales by the latter path).
Take the path on the left up to a stable in ruins behind which there is an inhabited house. In front of the stable there is a path which winds through a leafy oak wood until it reaches a gate. A steep trail on the left leads to the sinkholes.
Return the same way or continue the route towards Rales (see below, 3b).
Duration: 1 ½ hours. Route marked in blue.
Remarks: The route is very pleasant and only offers difficulties in the descent to the sinkholes, which is quite steep and narrow and is often wet and slippery.
3b. From Samoreli to Rales. The hike is somewhat long and winds along easy trails (although somewhat poorly signalled at times). Its charm lies in the beautiful meadows and shadowy forests that it passes through. Take the time to have a peak in the cave located beneath the Pico de Rales.
Descending from the Samoreli sinkholes, the hiker will rejoin the path left at the beginning of 3a, the one passing through the forest. Pass the gate found at the beginning of the descent to the sinkholes and then the one that appears on the right. The first stages require the hiker to cross some wire-fences and a couple of trees that have fallen in the path. Follow the trail which descends through a forest of alder, chestnut, and ash trees to arrive at spring with a trough.
Take the path on the other side which ascends and ends next to a magnificent cherry tree. The pastures are rather steep and at the bottom the mouth of La Jontica Cave opens wide. Walk down to see it, but the only way back is up. Returning to the route, take the one on the opposite slope along the original path just in front of the Pico de Castillo de Rales
Go up through the meadows from where Rales can be seen. The path descends until a fork. The path on the left leads to the village and the one on the right returns to El Allende. This path is clear and easy and the hiker must return to it if he/she decides to descend to Rales. It leads back to the shed at the beginning.
It splits only once but both paths lead to the same place. The left one passes through a eucalyptus wood and affords a spectacular view of Vibaño. The right one crosses a lush oak wood.
Duration: 3 to 4 hours. Route marked in yellow.
Remarks: The hike is long but smooth and only presents difficulties in the first stage upon leaving the sinkholes. Rales is a well-preserved town that deserves a stroll through and recharge in the small bar.
4. Ascent to Pico Cuanda (410 m) and through the range up to Pico Benzúa (761 m.)
The route ascends along the mountain crags which lend their name to the property below where La Montaña Mágica calls its home. There is an excellent panoramic view of the sea and mountains from the peak – the coast stretching from Nueva to Llanes, and the smooth mountains of Naves and Llanos, split up by Bedón River. On the northern mountainside one finds Los Carriles village and on the southern, Ardisana Valley, the Cuera range and the Picos de Europa.
The smoothest ascent climbs the northern slope and takes off from the same point as the first and second routes (leaving La Montaña Mágica towards El Allende, take the first path on the left). Follow the orange arrows until the foot of the crags, leaving aside the arrows indicating the descent to Los Carriles. The ascent begins here and climbs along any of the goat trails that ascend to the peak’s crests.
To descend, the hiker can either return along his or her tracks or continue hiking along the crests up to El Vallín and then descend along the pastures until reaching the trail of El Vallín to Los Callejos. This trail will also return the hiker to La Montaña Mágica. Getting lost is nearly impossible as the views from the crests provide all the needed reference points.
The hike can also be extended by climbing to the final and highest peak of this range, Pico Benzúa (761 m). As tradition has it, the peak is the region’s barometer: “When Pico Benzúa dons its hood, rain in Llanes is understood”. At its peak, the hiker can enjoy splendid views of Ardisana Valley, Los Carriles Valley, and Cabras River.
Duration: 2 to 3 hours. Route marked in orange only at start.
Remarks: For those hikers with some experience hiking among mountain crags, the route is a simple one, but for those without such experience, a certain level of caution is advised. The ascent could fatigue someone unaccustomed to mountain hiking, but the rest of the path presents no difficulties.
5. Descent to the valley by Los Callejos
From the gate take the path to the right towards El Vallín (remember to shut and close both gates to keep the livestock from escaping). Passing the El Vallín farmstead (quintana), the path extends along the side of the Cuanda crags and provides fantastic views of Ardisana Valley. Arriving to the hill, the trail widens and descends as it crosses woods and pastures until it reaches the village of Los Callejos (the village has a bar and an interesting complex of traditional buildings). From Los Callejos, leave by the Barrio de Abajo and take the trail that descends to La Herrería. The trail then reaches the level part of the valley, replete with abundant gardens and apple orchards. It continues on until it comes to a stable that borders the paved road leading to El Allende. Walk some 200 m or so along the road and take a path on the left that ascends to El Allende through meadows and vegetable gardens.
Optional: From Los Callejos take the road to Puentenuevo (1 km), where lunch is served in Casa Morán.
Duration: 2 ½ hours. Route marked in black.
Remarks: The hike is pleasant with no special difficulties.
6. Route to Los Carriles and Rales
Descent from La Montaña Mágica to Los Carriles along the northern slope of the Cuanda crags. The film En el corazón del bosque, about guerrillas, was filmed here. Los Carriles is made up by various quarters all located on a level mountain range (these level ranges are a characteristic trait of the coast near Llanes – small, elevated plateaus, old platforms formed by marine abrasion). A number of burial fields have been found in these ranges, remnants of burials from the Bronze Age. The return trip begins in Rales, taking the same trail to El Allende as described in route 4.
The hike begins with the trail that branches off to the left from the road that heads to El Allende (as mentioned in other routes) and borders the dolina of Cuanda. Orange arrows guide the hiker to one of the possible routes of descent along the northern slope of the Cuanda crags, which are located in front of the central quarter of Los Carriles. The descent lacks a clear trail and may require some ingenuity on the hiker’s part. It opens up in a small wood that is crossed to reach the meadows which provide a number of paths leading to the village. From there, continue descending by the trails winding through the pastures which connect different houses until coming to the old trail leading to Rales. The trail passes below the road and is shorter and more pleasant than the highway, but it’s easy to get lost as it has been rather neglected. The trail ends at the highway very near Rales. Once there, take the path which leads to El Allende.
Duration: 4 hours. Route marked in orange.
Remarks: Given the route’s duration and the difficulty ascending, we recommend this route for more experienced hikers. It is a pleasant route which can nonetheless beinterrupted in Rales to take a taxi to return to La Montaña Mágica.
Ardisana Valley and neighbouring regions (bicycle/car and hike)
7. Route along the villages of Ardisana Valley. Cuanda - El Allende - La Herrería - Puente Nuevo - Ardisana (visit to Ardisana Palace, the church, and lunch in two possible restuarants) - La Malatería - Puente de la Huera - Meré - Return. Duration: ½ day.
8. Cuanda - Riensena - Alto de Llamigo - Llanura de Llamigo - Nueva - Cuevas del Mar - San Antonio Beach and San Antonio Chapel on cape - Nueva- San Antolín - Gulpilluri - Monasterio – Return through Posada-Rales. Duration: 1 day.
9. Cuanda - La Herrería - Pueblo del Mazuco – Ascent up hill and Pico Medio (antennae) – Aviator monuments - Descent to La Pereda (sidrería La Roxia) - Porrúa - Celorio - Quintana (Lledías Caves) - Posada - Cuanda. Duration: 1 day.
10. Visit to the ghost town of Bustabela. Cuanda - La Herrería - Riocaliente - Riensena - towards Corao / Cangas de Onís (Zardón) – Detour to the village of Iceu (artesan cheese) - Zardón – Leave the car at the bridge and ascend walking 1 ½ hours to the ghost town of Bustabela. Return the same way.
11. Ascent to Pico Monfrecho (easy mountain hike). By car up to the peak of Llamigo (leave car). Ascend Monfrecho (2 hours). Duration: morning.
12. Day trip to Viango fields (llosa) (1 day). Take car up to the top of Mazuco (as the hike continues up to Purón, a taxi will be necessary to return to Purón al Mazuco – it costs about 6 euros and must be reserved an hour in advance in Purón). The itinerary can be found in mountain guide books.
13. Cuanda - Niembro (leave car in the port of Niembro). Walk around the bay, church, mill, and Calabres River, return to port, up through the recreational area to Niembros and Torimbia Beaches, back down through Niembro village. Lunch: El Buzu or La Parrera. The route includes two trips from the port – one to the beaches and the other to the mill and church.
14. Cuanda - Pimiango - Colombres. Two parts: Pimiango and the cape of San Emeterio, visit to the region of Pindal and walk to San Emeterio chapel (there is an inn to eat lunch). Colombres, visit to the Archivo de Indianos and the various examples of Indiano architecture in the town.
15. The villa and its surroundings. Cuanda - Posada - Balmori - Celorio - Po - Llanes (make sure to park correctly as the municipal tow company is strict and quick). Visit Llanes (walk along the paseo de San Pedro, tower, tidal river, fishermen quarters, Marques de Gastañaga Palace,...). By car to La Portilla (leave car) and walk to Cristo Chapel (panoramic views of the marina and villa). La Portilla - Cue - Bayota (walk to Bayota look-out point) [there is a municipal golf course nearby] - Andrín (visit the town, lunch in Casa de la Hermana de Batalla) – Andrín Beach - La Pereda (sidrería La Roxia) - Porrúa - Celorio - Posada - Cuanda.
16. Peña Tu, Vidiago and Buelna blowholes. Cuanda - Posada - Balmori (take the N-630 in the direction of Santander until you reach Puertas de Vidiago). Stop in Puertas de Vidiago. Ascend walking to Peña Tú. Vidiago - Pendueles (stroll through the town) - Buelna (stop the car at the pleasant beach) – walk through the Cobijero karstic area, blowholes, mills and Puentecaballos protected beach. Return.
17. Tito Bustillo Caves (make sure to arrive early as space is limited). Visit Ribadesella. Playa de la Vega (beautiful gorge). Return by the old highway with a visit to Nueva.
18. Valle Oscuro. La Borbolla and Purón. Cuanda - Purón (visit to Purón and walk along the river) – Return by the national highway and in Puertas de Vidiago take the highway to La Borbolla, through the valle oscuro. Visit La Borbolla and walk through the village - Noriega - Buelna (walk along Buelna flats) - Return.
Mountains and the Picos de Europa
19. Covadonga Lakes. Cuanda - Riocaliente - Riensena - Labra (see palace) - Corao - Covadonga (visit) - Lakes – return and visit Cangas de Onis (medieval bridge) and return through Benia - Ortiguera – Cabras River - La Herrería - Cuanda.
20. Desfiladero del Cares (Cares Gorge). Cuanda - Alto de Ortiguero - Cabrales - Poncebos - Ruta del Cares. Return.
21. Amieva. Cuanda - Alto de Ortiguero - Cangas de Onis - Amieva (leave car). Excursion walking through the meadows of Angón.
22. Vegabaño. Cuanda- Cangas de Onís (through Ortiguero) - Desfiladero de los Beyos - Soto de Sajambre. Leave car. Four hours hiking through Vegabaño countryside.
23. Senda del Arcediano. Cuanda - Soto de Sajambre (park car). Senda del Arcediano: Soto de Sajambre - Amieva (¾ hours). Reserve a taxi in Amieva to get back to Soto de Sajambre.
24. Potes, Fuente De, Desfiladero de La Hermida. Cuanda - Ortiguero - Cabrales - Panes - Potes - Fuente De (cable car) – return option through Santo Toribio de Liébana – return by Unquera (and their famous corbata pastries) - N-630 until Posada - Cuanda.