Cangas de Onís

The taste of traditional cheese between mountains

It was the first capital of the kingdom and today has become a cozy villa, meeting point of many routes, in which hikers and adventure sports enthusiasts, and nature are given.

Plan your visit to Cangas de Onís

This beautiful town can be covered in one day, although there is much more to do in Cangas de Onis (this is an area that could take a week to visit). Cangas de Onis is the basis for those wishing to enter next three natural parks as well as in the historic setting of Covadonga. This is set in the middle of the natural beauty of the National Park Picos de Europa. You should not leave without visiting the Mirador de la Reina. It is recommended with a minimum hiking equipment and walk the mentioned park, especially in the area of ​​the lakes of Covadonga. Other very important (and least known) parks nearby are Ponga (especially the beech forest Peloño) and the imposing reserve biofera (UNESCO) Network.

Do you want to visit this place?

Cangas de Onis is one of the most historic towns in western Asturias. There are traces of human presence from the Paleolithic, as evidenced deposits Buxu Caves and Blue. Already in Neolithic times, caves Salmula, Trespando and Cuélebre are benchmarks for researchers. The megalithic heritage of Cangas is also abundant, being one of the best preserved monuments of the Dolmen de Santa Cruz. Both the Paleolithic caves like this dolmen are decorated with cave paintings.

The situation of this area on the border between Asturian and Cantabrian peoples indicates thatit was a place of passage necessary for the troops of the Roman Empire. The roadway, route of communication with the territory of present Cantabria, and the famous Roman bridge (known as the Puentón) are the material evidence of its strategic importance. After the victory of Covadonga in 722, Cangas de Onis was established as the capital of the kingdom of Pelayo. Alfonso II, who extended the borders of the kingdom, moved the capital to Oviedo in 792.

It appeared with its current name for the first time in the history of Cangas de Onis, in an inventory of rights of the episcopate of Oviedo fourteenth century. In the will of Henry II of Castile (1333 / 34-1379), where the legacy of his bastard son detailed, the council of Cangas de Onis part of the patrimony of the crown. In 1505, the General Junta of the Principality of Asturias, Oviedo held in the missing Convent of San Francisco, officially the ancient capital of the kingdom of Asturias. Thanks to this recognition, the Crown of Castile began to worry about Covadonga. Philip III began to transform the Royal Site, and promoted major reforms in the cave. Carlos III continues this work by funding the construction of a new temple and important improvements in communications with the Plateau and the rest of the Cantabrian side.

Old view of Cangas de Onis

During the nineteenth century, Cangas de Onis actively participated in the War of Independence, being capital of one of the military governments. Both the depredations of French troops as the confiscations and actions of the Carlist damaged the council. However, since the mid-nineteenth century roads Ribadesella Ponton and they contributed to its development.

Cangas de Onis severely suffered the consequences of the Civil War and Postwar. Most of its low urban fabric was bombed or looted. Interestingly, in 1978 Cangas again became the capital of the Principality of Asturias, albeit fleetingly. The reason was that the Regional Council of Asturias met there with the task of preparing the draft Statute of Autonomy. Today, it is a key center of Asturian adventure tourism.

Within the urban center that gives its name to the council, the visitor should approach the Hermitage of Santa Cruz in Contraquil. This temple, considered one of the oldest in Spain, was founded in 437 by the Astemo bishop, who built it on the floor of a Roman temple which, in turn, is built on a succession of places of which the first is a megalithic monument (the Dolmen of Santa Cruz is indeed in the crypt of the Christian church). The chapel was rebuilt in 737 thanks to the promotion of Favila and in commemoration of the victory of Covadonga. The present church is the war, but follows the traditional lines of Asturian architecture.

However, the most representative monument of the town is the Puente Romano or “Puentón” of the Historical and Artistic Monument. Located on the River Sella, stylized and high silhouette presents a stilted arch and two smaller and uneven, the center of which hangs a reproduction of the Victoria Cross. Although always has been attributed to Roman times, dates actually the reign of Alfonso XI (1311-1350).

The Classroom teaching about the Kingdom of Asturias is an adaptation of the ancient Church of Santa Maria de Cangas. It explains in a very entertaining way the medieval history of Spain. The Chapel of San Antonio, in Cangas de Arriba, was built in the sixteenth century and reformed in the XIX. In this small temple of unique ship, and its environs, it celebrated the festival of Cangas de Onis (13 June) each year.

Another point of interest to see in Cangas de Onis is the Market Square. In Cangas, the liveliest day of the week is Sunday, market day and working. The shops are open and the market held next to the church of Santa Maria del Mercado is overflowing with small producers of cheese, honey, cider and other fruit from the garden. Asturias has thirty varieties of cheese, which makes it the largest in Europe with cheese diversity. Cangas de Onis has specialized shops where packaged cheeses are sold vacuum ready to take home. In the market you can also find the madreñes traditional (wooden clogs), the typical Asturian countryside footwear.


Parish Church

The Parish Church (1963), being built on the site of the birthplace of ideólgo and political Carlist Mella and the old town hall. It is a building of three ships, with outstanding ground and belfry tower with three floors cruise. Inside, it is decorated with stained glass of the famous Catalan company Maumejean. In front of her, in a small garden, the statue of a warrior Pelayo, work of Felix Alonso rises. Next to the temple, in the plaza of the same, a sculpture of Old Asturian with toquilla, modern copy that reproduces the original model increased by Sebastian Miranda size is also up.

Cangas de Onis is near the Natural Park Network or Ponga Natural Park. Routes such as Los Beyos, the Cares, or the Brañagallones, offer a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the area, or isolated brañas that serve as shelter to the flocks of transhumance. In the council there are grizzly bears, wolves, grouse and otters, although it is difficult to see them released. It is advisable to visit the Center for Native Fauna The Grandera, zoo and hospital native animals.

As in most of the Asturian councils, Onis is enriched by contact with the people and parishes of their environment. In that sense, 7 km is Corao, and nearby, the Church of Santa Eulalia de Abamia, where it is said that were buried Pelayo and his wife Gaudosia before being transferred to Covadonga. Who did that remains buried in the place is Roberto Frasinelli, “the German of Corao”, a romantic character who had much to do in the resurgence of Covadonga. Unfortunately, the oldest that remains are two Romanesque doorways and Gothic remains of mural paintings in the apse. More archaeological importance is the Monastery of San Pedro de Villanueva (2 km towards Arriondas), founded in the mid-eighth century. The current convent is the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but the apses of the Romanesque church of the XIII century, forming three chapels interconnected preserved. Both in the capitals of the columns of the entrance arches and the communication there extraordinary Romanesque sculptural works. Similarly, the capitals of the southern front highlighted by the appearance of hunting scenes, in which some have seen the death of King Favila at the hands of the bear.


Practical Data


43° 32’ 84’’ N, 5° 07’ 17’’ W


Oviedo 72 km, Madrid 560 km

About the author

Other news of interest
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Every zone of ​​the rugged Cantabrian coast has been utilized by its people to build Más información
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Asturias is a natural paradise that combines the sea, mountain, and green landscapes with mastery. Más información
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text="Cider town on the hillside of the Sierra del Sueve" font_container="tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23000000" google_fonts="font_family:PT%20Sans%20Narrow%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal"][vc_column_text]Capital of a Más información
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text="Sea and emigration between two kingdoms" font_container="tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23000000" google_fonts="font_family:PT%20Sans%20Narrow%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal"][vc_column_text]Colombres is a border territory between Asturias Más información
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text="Natural viewpoint to the sea" font_container="tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23000000" google_fonts="font_family:PT%20Sans%20Narrow%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal"][vc_column_text]Spectacular and colorful fishing village, Cudillero’s urbanism draws Más información