Cangas de Onís: Where Nature, Gastronomy and History Intersect
Nestled in a lush valley and surrounded by green pastures, Cangas de Onís offers fantastic dining and quality local products. Step back in time as you explore the town’s streets and monuments, evoking the memory of its nascent role in the Reconquista of Spain from the Moors.
What to see in Cangas de Onís
The Asturian town of Cangas de Onís rests against an idyllic natural backdrop – one of the most attractive of the region. Picos de Europa, Sella River and the lakes of Covadonga are just a few examples on visitors’ must-see list. Before venturing out of the town, be sure to visit:
The Roman Bridge
This iconic monument was built over the Sella River in the 13th century and separates the parishes of Cangas de Onís and Parres. A replica of the Victory Cross hangs from the middle arch with the Greek letters alpha and omega suspended from the left and right arms, representing beginning and end, the infinite extension of God. Today, the Victory Cross is an emblematic symbol of Asturias.
Santa Cruz Church
The remains of King Favila, second king of Asturias and son of Pelagius of Asturias, and his wife, Queen Froiluba, are housed in this Roman Catholic Church they commissioned. The church was built on a dolmen and offered worship to the Victory Cross.
Covadonga: a place steeped in symbolism
Covadonga is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Cangas de Onís. Its historical importance traces back to 711 AD when the Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula and settled here. Years later in 722 AD, Pelagius of Asturias and his forces rebelled and defeated the Muslim army in the Battle of Covadonga, catalysing the Reconquista, the Christian reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors.
Breathe in history and nature as you discover the landmarks Covadonga has to offer. Begin your tour at:
- The Holy Cave of Covadonga: The cave houses a Marian shrine dedicated to the Virgen of Covadonga, affectionately referred to as ‘La Santina’ by locals. The medieval chapel was originally made out of wood but was destroyed by a fire. It was rebuilt according to Romanesque tradition by the architect Luis Menéndez Pidal.
- The Basilica of Covadonga: A riveting testament of Neo-Romanesque architecture, the Basilica stands erected entirely of locally-sourced pink limestone. Take in the scenic views of the valley and the surrounding mountains as you walk up towards the breathtaking temple. Link: Basilica and Sanctuary of Covadonga
- La Casina: Hundreds of pilgrims flock to this place of worship and prayer to show their devotion to the Santina.
- Casa de los Ejercicios (The House of Prayer): Silence reigns in this spiritual retreat. Comprised of meeting rooms, chapels and rooms, it is devoted to reflection and prayer. The site is served by the congregation Hermanas Esclavas del Corazón Inmaculado de María.
What to do in Cangas de Onís
This Asturian parish is not just home to magnificent places of worship but also boasts a picturesque natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Enjoy unique outdoor experiences with all Cangas de Onis has to offer:
- Picos de Europa National Park: Located in the Cantabrian Mountains, Picos de Europa is one of the best conserved biosphere reserves in the world. 300 years have contributed to shaping the park’s relief. Take in the spectacular scenery and maybe even get a glimpse of some of the fauna that populates the area, including a few endangered species. The climate is mild and humid, favouring the flowering of more than 1,700 species of flora. Plan your hike ahead of time and pick a trail that will guarantee an unforgettable experience.
- Canoeing down the Sella River: Looking for an adrenaline rush? Look no further! Just a stone’s throw away from Cangas de Onís, canoeing down the Sella River is one of the most popular activities among sports enthusiasts. The river runs down the Beyos Gorge and offers different routes depending on the level of experience. The easiest route for beginners runs from Cangas de Onís to Ribadesella but there are routes to satisfy all levels and ages. In fact, it is a great activity to do with the entire family!
Where to eat in Cangas de Onís
Asturian cuisine has a well-earned reputation for traditional, century-old, local products. Fabada (a traditional white bean stew), chorizo a la sidra (chorizo simmered in cider), cachopo (deep-fried beef cutlets stuffed with ham and cheese) and cheeses are just some of the delicacies the area offers. Head to any one of the following restaurants for a tantalising culinary experience:
- Molín de Mingo Restaurant: Located off the beaten track, up in the mountains, and with an aqueduct to bring water to the mill, this lovely restaurant serves authentic home-made Asturian food such as Fabada, croquettes, and its succulent Pitu de caleya con arroz (a free-range chicken and rice dish). Enjoy your meal indoors or outdoors, and linger over coffee as the children play in the play area.
- Mesón de Carceu: Looking to experience traditional Asturian dishes and products? This is THE place to go. Located on San Pelayo street, order the house speciality, Cachopo. Portions are quite largo so best shared with others. Book in advance to make sure you get a table.
- Sidrería La Caldera: Another great restaurant serving up first-grade products. Be sure to order the house specialities: goat’s cheese tortos with caramelised peppers and white chocolate cake.
Want to take a little something back with you? Head to the Cangas de Onís Sunday Market to stock up on an array of local products such as artisan cheese and medicinal herbs.