Asturias: A natural paradise

Today, it is easier than ever to reach destinations that not so long ago involved hours of travel and tedious stopovers. Asturias in northern Spain is one of those destinations.

Now, even wild, remote and formerly inaccessible places are just a short flight away, bringing some of the world’s most incredible spots closer to those who love to explore the world on foot.

With direct flights from London’s main airports, Asturias in northern Spain is less than two hours away. Such handy proximity to the UK makes the region – the heart of ‘Green Spain’, often referred to as a natural paradise, an easy getaway any time of the year. With a vast network of marked trails, you get to explore rich and varied landscapes. Stunning Atlantic coastline and some of Spain’s best beaches are located just 25km along a straight-line route from commanding mountain peaks that reach an elevation of over 2,500 metres.

Green paradise

Asturias’ reputation as a natural paradise comes from its huge wealth of different habitats and wildlife. One of Europe’s most ambitious and progressive environmental strategies has given Asturias six designated Biosphere Reserves, while more than a third of the region has protected status. And all of this in an area about half the size of South East England.

Incredible wildlife

The mountain ranges in this part of Spain are the last refuge in Western Europe for rare species such as the brown bear, which currently has a breeding population of around 300. Other notable species include chamois, eagles, vultures, wolves and capercaillies. These animals and birds are an integral and iconic part of the mountain landscape, in which traditional farming methods are still widely practised. Sustainable agriculture such as this maintains the large open habitats that coexist in perfect harmony with some of the most important woodland in Europe, like the famous Muniellos oak forest.

Stunning coastline

The region’s coastline is undoubtedly the best preserved in Spain, thanks to the success of local environmental awareness campaigns. Walkers can enjoy more than 400km of unspoilt coastline with over 200 beaches, virtually untouched by human development except for 19 traditional fishing villages which lie nestled in beautiful natural coves.

For walkers wanting to discover some of the most spectacular wild trails of Europe then the coastal mountains of Asturias are well worth the short flight.

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