CANGAS DE ONÍS AND COVADONGA
Cangas de Onís with your dog
The Covadonga lakes, in Cangas de Onís, is something you have to see once in your life. To make sure you enjoy it, check the weather before you go, as it’s very likely that mist will cover everything on cloudy days (and everything means everything). In summer, we dogs can also swim in the Sella river beside the iconic Cangas bridge – a symbol of Asturias.
DOG-FRIENDLY GUIDE TO CANGA DE ONÍS
TO TAKE COFFEE AND CHURROS:
Cangas de Onís is in a perfect location for those who love nature but don’t want to forego either beach or mountain: the Ribadesella coast is 25 minutes away by car and the high-mountain scenery of the Covadonga lakes (over a thousand metres in altitude) just 40 minutes away.
We were there in July 2018 and stayed at Hotel La Cepada, perched on a hill about 2 minutes from the centre of Cangas, affording a good view of the town surrounded by the mountainous landscape. The rooms are big and have large windows that are ideal for contemplation, as you can see from the photo on this page. The hotel includes a restaurant, El Cenador de los Canónigos, which was awarded third prize for the best fabadain the world (dogs are allowed to access the terrace). You can see me licking my chops when this delicacy is put in front of me – which my earthling Pablo wouldn’t let me try – in my video about Asturias. Salas and his team concern themselves with every detail to make sure everything runs smoothly.
By the way, on the subject of desserts, make sure you don’t miss out on the botijos, which are almond and chocolate biscuits topped with a hazelnut that are typical of the place, and which my human companion says are to die for. They are sold at La Pedrera (they have a small terrace, but don’t allow dogs in the shop). The name botijo (an earthenware drinking jug) comes from the nickname given to locals from Cangas (as it used to be a major centre of pottery production).
I’ll give you some ideas for places to eat in the list on this page. I particularly liked Bodegón del Dobra (4 minutes’ drive from the centre of Cangas) because, apart from allowing dogs at the bar tables, they also have a delightful garden with huge terraces beside the river. Julio and Inma work hard to offer fine service and the food, which is typical of the area, is simply delicious (baby goat, Asturian stew, cachopo (veal fillets with ham and cheese), rice with pitu de Caleya (free-range chicken)…. and even homemade anisette rosquillas (ring-shaped pastries) which taste like – well – real rosquillas, as my earthling companion keeps repeating to everyone.
This is the perfect place to get the strength (or recover it) the day you head up to the Covadonga lakes (there are three of them: Enol, Ercina and Bricial, although the latter only has water during the thaw). In high season months and long weekends, access in private vehicle is not allowed (the 12km road linking the sanctuary with the lakes is cut during daytime). You can get information about the restrictions from this website. Alternatives involve going up from Covadonga by bus (we dogs also go in the boot) or by microbuses operated by Taxitur and Taxi Huera (which we think is the best option), comfortably seated on the cabin floor beside our companion. This service costs around 10 or 11 euros per person and 5 per child (depending on the company).
Before heading up to the lakes, remember to check the weather, because if it looks bad, it’s very likely the mist will cover everything and you won’t see a thing, just like in a Stephen King novel. You can check how things are likely to be via this webcam .
We dogs are not allowed off the leash around the lakes (National Park Regulations – and that’s what happened to me, apart for taking videos and photos), although there are some great alternative plans for us: swimming in the Sella river with views of the so-called Roman Bridge ofCangas de Onís (although it’s actually medieval), or jumping straight into a canoe and descending the Sella river from Arriondas (5 minutes away from Cangas). I was invited to do this by Los Cauces Multiaventura and was amazed by the colours. They put a rubber ring on me (I’d left mine at home that day (my one made by Trixie), which I’ll show you in upcoming issues) and couldn’t stop barking with excitement - the first time in my life I’d taken a trip downstream! The double canoes can accommodate two doggies, so if you have a friend, you can invite them any day to emulate the famous descent in canoe that takes place on the first Saturday in August.
To conclude, if you intend going to the Covadonga Sanctuary, remember that we dogs aren’t allowed to access the inside (although we can go to the fountain located in the lower part). So we must end up contemplating the statue of Don Pelayo (it’s said that the virgin appeared before him to “assist” him in his battles against the Moors). I should remind you that Cangas de Onís was the place where the Reconquest got underway in the 8thcentury, and was capital of the Kingdom of Asturias until the year 774.