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Intense emotions

Crystal-clear rivers, trout paradise; almost unspoilt paths, among oaks, chestnuts, hollies, beeches with multicoloured autumns; mountains ridged by paths that lead to little monasteries and hermitages; the immense beauty of its settings such as Las Médulas, a World Heritage Site, or the Ancares, a Biosphere Reserve.
This is El Bierzo, land of intense emotions

Las Médulas

Perhaps the ancients had the virtue of creating beauty even when they were not looking for it.

Las Médulas might be the result of pure chance; a surprising aesthetic gift originated after two hundred years of mining exploitation without any kind of further consideration.

Throughout this time, the Romans and their Asturian slaves built the biggest open-cast mine of the empire without knowing that all of it would end up soon with no gold, but converted into an unreal landscape, today, a Word Heritage Site.

More than 400 kilometres of canals would channel the current of water and all its erosive power to the mountains in order to tear them apart and obtain the gold.

Also as a result of pure chance and further down the lakes of Carrucedo and Somido arose. They collected the excess of water, creating wetlands of great natural wealth. Never has greed created paradoxically such a beauty.

The result is a unique and unrepeatable landscape, a World Heritage Site.
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Lakes of Carucedo and Somido. They are the result of the washing and removal of the swirled soil by the torrent of water for the extraction of gold. Over time they became interesting and beautiful wetlands creating their own ecosystem.
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The path of las Valiñas.  It allows us to enjoy a walk along a forest of chestnut trees that merges into the labyrinth of picks, galleries and visible remains of the Roman exploitation.
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The Orellán viewpoint. It offers a spectacular panoramic view of Las Médulas.
Further information:
 Visitors Reception Centre of Las Médulas 
Phone: 987 42 07 08 

Aquilianos Mountains

The beauty and solitude of these mountains crossed by narrow and leafy valleys has been shelter to numerous hermits since the fifth century until the Middle Ages. Something very deep they must have felt to bring their backpack here and, entranced, start the spiritual path that would probably take them beyond the sky.

Down-to-earth, these mountains hide beautiful paths crossed

by streams that feed into the Oza River.

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Valley of Silence. Also known as the Tebaida Berciana for being the refuge of high-Middle-Age hermits who found in these lands the so-desired peace and loneliness. The Monastery of San Pedro de Montes, in Montes de Valdueza; and the Mozarabic Church of Santiago de Peñalba of the 10th century, have witnessed this past.
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El Campo de las Danzas.  It was the place where the Asturians performed their ceremonies and covens. From this field it is possible to access the Pico de la Aquiana, one of the viewpoints of El Bierzo.
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Cumbre del Morredero. In winter, it opens its small ski resort, very close to Ponferrada. It is also a place frequented by walkers and bikers.
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Valley of Compludo. One of the valleys that best combines nature with a history that dates back from even before the arrival of the Romans. The first hermitical and monastic movement of the Iberian Peninsula was founded in this valley. There are many forests of chestnut, oak and holm oaks of great scenic beauty and lush vegetation. Some must-visit tourist attractions are Espinoso, Carracedo or Palacios de Compludo; as well as the Forge of Compludo, a jewel of hydraulic engineering still in operation.
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Campo, Lombillo, Salas y Villar de los Barrios. They have an ensemble of emblazoned manor houses, old wine cellars, churches, viewpoints and hermitages.

The Ancares

The Ancares probably bring the most remote feeling we may experience nowadays. A trip in time that shows us how life was like before the Roman Empire arrived to this area of the Iberian Peninsula, which was declared Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 2006.

Witnesses of an ancient life, the Ancares, fight to stand in the middle of a wild landscape where bears, capercaillies, wolves and roe deer hide among the immense forests of oaks, hollies, beeches and chestnuts.

Despite being one of the most unknown places in Spain, it is the natural entrance to and from Asturias and Galicia and it is part of the Way of Saint James.

It is situated in the most western part of the mountain range Cordillera Cantábrica, northwest of the province of Leon, and has deep valleys that can descend as much as 800 metres.

Its territory is mainly made up with the valleys of the Ancares, Burbia, Cúa and Fornela Rivers, and by the Balboa valley that find their way between the Puerto de Piedra Fita (mountain pass) and the Pico de Miravalles (mountain peak), on the border with Asturias.

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La palloza, is a construction of pre-Roman origin that continued to be used until the beginning of the 20th century.  They have a circular plant, between 10 and 20 meters in diameter, with a vegetal cover of rye straw known as "teito". In the pallozas, people and cattle shared space and heat.
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Wild life, allows us to enjoy a walk along a forest of old chestnut trees that merges into the labyrinth of picks, galleries and visible remains of the Roman exploitation.
The stretches of heathlands, chestnut groves and forests of oak, holly, yew and arbutus, coexist with the livestock grazing and a fauna consisting of chamois, roe deer, wild goats, eagles, vultures and other more elusive animals such as the brown bear and the capercaillie. 
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Villages. The capital of the Valley of Ancares, Candín, preserves remains of Roman gold exploitations; in Pereda, the Ethnographic Museum located in a teito house can be visited; Balouta offers the possibility of visiting several restored pallozas and in Vega de Espinareda, the Benedictine monastery of San Andrés can be visited.
Further information:
 Technical Office of the Biosphere Reserve of the Ancares of León
Avd. Ancares, nº 6 24430 Vega de Espinareda - León
Phone: 987 56 86 19

Beech of Busmayor

Busmayor is located in the village of Barjas, its beech is one of the best preserved in the Iberian Peninsula.

In this area, it is easy to find sorbus or birches, also very colourful.

You may walk across the beech through a well signposted route of about seven kilometres

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Habitat. Numerous species coexist, such as the marsh tit, blue tit, osalia longicorn, fat dormouse, roe deer, deer, brown bears, wild cats, red squirrels, wolves, foxes, badgers, martens, beech martens, wild boars…
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Waterfalls. Near the beech forest we find the "Fervenza do Beiro", which is composed of a series of waterfalls located on the path towards the beech forest.

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