Espinaréu, the most traditional parish in Asturias

The parish of Espinaréu, located in the council of Piloña, is an authentic beauty. A village in Asturias that, once you visit and walk through it, it is easy to remember. It is famous for having the most complete set of raised granaries in the whole region and, possibly, in the world. But beyond this, it is a classic mountain village, immersed in a valley, with a great ethnographic heritage. It is undoubtedly one of the most interesting places in the region. Its surroundings also allow you to enjoy the nature that surrounds the small town centre.

More than twenty raised granaries in a village of just over 100 inhabitants

Between the sea and the mountains, between the port and the sea, Espinaredo connects two beautiful worlds. It welcomes foreigners with hospitality and good treatment while its river divides in two a village famous for its raised granaries.

But… What is a raised granary? It is a construction of agrarian origin, a kind of storehouse for storing grain or the harvest made of whitewashed stone and wood, a lot of wood. It is designed to protect what is inside from rain, wind and cold. Today it is also used to store logs in its lower part. There are even people who park their cars there. This is how it evolved. They usually have four legs. The bakeries, a derivative of the raised granary, on the other hand, are larger and have six to eight supports.


Raised granaries of Espinaredo. | Shutterstock

The inhabitants of this village used to live from farming, agriculture, animals and carpentry. The raised granaries were of real use. Espinaréu used to be a prosperous and business-oriented village, but over the years it has dwindled. Nowadays it has only 140 inhabitants, more or less, depending on the season.

Despite the small size of the village, there are twenty raised granaries and six bread bakeries throughout the village. Surprisingly, they are in a great state of preservation and some are still in use today. Many of these warehouses are curiously decorated with carved and/or painted doors or crosses. There is a lot of symbolism and mysticism surrounding each construction: superstitions, drawings, etc.


Raised granaries of Espinaréu. | Shutterstock

The first raised granary was built in 1548. Thus, there is a building in Espinaréu that is more than 500 years old. Many people visit it every year. But be careful, to enter any of them you have to ask for the key to its legitimate owners. Normally, they are used to it, and they do it without any problems.

Espinaréu, many more things to see

The first thing that strikes you when you enter the village is that its streets are beautiful, quiet and easy to walk through. You have to be careful and not be overconfident when walking, as a road crosses the village and cars pass through it from time to time. It is normal for visitors or tourists to follow a route that takes them around the raised granary in the parish of Espinaréu. On the way, they can look around the village and admire every detail, every nuance of this unique village.

You can start a route, for example, from the entrance to the village, having first visited the areas bordering the village. They are a natural compendium of vegetation, mountains and rugged terrain. It is advisable to head towards the church and contemplate all the houses in the village. They are full of flowers and flowerpots on the balconies, most of them are built with lots of wood and beautiful tiles. From another era.


Church of Espinaréu. | Wikimedia

The church of Espinaréu is dedicated to Santa María de las Nieves, to whom a special mass is offered every year on the 5th of August, gathering many faithful. It is not particularly beautiful, as it has been rebuilt several times, and even contrasts with the great beauty of the village. However, it is the very essence of the village. It is a must-see.

Walking through the village it is possible to see a signpost with a route along the Natural Path of the Cantabrian mountain range. It is a perfect itinerary for hikers and lovers of trekking. An ideal plan if you want to walk after a good meal in the village.

Asturian gastronomy, a real treat for the senses

And speaking of feasts, Espinaréu is also a great attraction when it comes to gastronomy. Its inns offer high-quality northern dishes that will have you rolling out of the village. These include meatballs, cachopos, fabada, migas, corn cakes, etc. Asturian cuisine is not only a delight, but the custom is to serve, especially to new diners, dishes in large quantities. It is advisable to book in advance because tables are in great demand.


The village in the mountains. | Shutterstock

The Miera Arboretum, a must for a breath of fresh air

Last but not least, it is worth stopping at the large Arboretum of Miera, on the outskirts of the village. This small botanical garden is located at the point where the Espinaréu stream and the river Infierno meet. Strolling through it is a delight for nature lovers, environmental and botanical scholars. Here you can see and touch pines, oaks, firs, walnut trees, beeches, holly trees, hazelnut trees, birch trees…

In the Arboretum there is a recreational area with tables, parking, benches and barbecue areas. An ideal place to spend a sunny day with the family. Another alternative is trout fishing, so famous throughout the northern highlands. A green area that has been the subject of countless legends and has even been featured on television and in films. A perfect end to a day in Espinaréu.

About the author