Welcome to Lena, the gateway to Asturias and the heart of the Central Asturian Mountains, a land with a lot of personality and leisure options for everyone. All the indications that we will make in this article are based on personal experiences, which we always provide to our clients upon arrival, and based on their feedback, it seems that they are quite correct.
The town was founded in 1266 by Alfonso X of Castile, as a transit point between Oviedo and León. Due to its privileged location and its natural and landscape values, Lena is the ideal destination to enjoy a week of tranquility in Asturias.
The municipality of Lena is located in the center of Asturias, in the middle of the mining basin, perfectly connected by car and train.
Its capital, Pola de Lena, is located, in order of distance:
– 35 km from Oviedo.
– 53 km from Gijón.
– 68 km from Aviles.
– 82 km from Leon.
Its relief is very rugged and ranges between 300 meters above sea level in Pola de Lena and 2,417 meters in Peña Ubiña, cataloged as a Protected Landscape.
Its beech, chestnut and holly forests are combined with large meadows where cattle and horses graze freely. The Lena River descends from the mountains, forming the so-called Caudal basin.
Due to its location between the coast and the mountains and the great difference in height between the 300 meters of the valley and the 2400 meters of Peña Ubiña, in Lena we have a great diversity of climates.
In Pola de Lena the climate is temperate, with an average annual temperature of 10ºC. In the winter the temperatures in Pajares or Las Ubiñas drop below 0º C and the summers are cool with temperatures around 20ºC.
CULTURAL ROUTE THROUGH LENA
Being the gateway and the main passage between the central mountains of Asturias from the plateau has greatly marked the history and character of the Lenense people. Several Roman settlements have been found along the route of the Vía Carisa, such as Mamorana or the Carisa Roman camp.
Some of the monuments that we can enjoy during our stay in Lena are:
Pre-Romanesque Church of Santa Cristina de Lena – Located very close to the hotel. It was built in the 9th century during the reigns of Ramiro I and Ordoño I, being one of the best examples of Asturian pre-Romanesque. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1985 by UNESCO. To visit it, it is necessary to make an appointment with the caretaker (Inés Faes) on the phone 609942153.
Asturian Pre-Romanesque Interpretation Center – Located in the old Cobertoria train station, it is the perfect complement after a visit to the church of Santa Cristina.
Pola Town Hall – Inspired by the Asturias pavilion at the 1929 expo, it is a clear example of Asturian aristocratic mansions.
Birthplace of Vital Aza (Pola de Lena) – Built in the 17th century, it stands out for its symbolic value, since the poet and playwright Vital Aza was born there in the mid-19th century.
Casa Benavides (Pola de Lena) – Noted for its well-cared garden designed in the 19th century.
Palacio de Mendoza (Zurea) – 17th century architectural complex
CULTURAL ROUTE THROUGH THE NATURAL PARK OF LAS UBIÑAS – LA MESA
The Las Ubiñas – La Mesa Biosphere Reserve is made up of the municipalities of Teverga, Quirós and a part of Lena. It stands out for its high biological and geological diversity, perfectly preserved. Extensive native forests of beeches, oaks, birches where bears, wolves, chamois, deer and a long etcetera of animals live that find their perfect habitat in this natural park. It constitutes a vital area for the survival of the brown bear.
On our walk through the park we will find viewpoints with wonderful panoramic views of the reserve and its relief of pronounced contrasts: mountains of more than 2000 meters are interspersed with beautiful valleys crossed by rivers of this Caudal basin.
Quirós Ethnographic Museum – Located on the remains of an old foundry from the end of the 19th century, it shows us the transformation from peasant Quirós to industrial Quirós, with a collection of interesting ethnographic elements.
Teverga Prehistory Park – It houses the most important collection of cave art from the Upper Palaeolithic in the world.
Cueva Huerta – Huerta cave of karstic origin located in the town of Fresnéu (Teverga). It is one of the largest caves in Asturias with its 14 km in length. It has been declared a Natural Monument and can be visited with authorized guides.
LENA: SNOW DESTINATION (PAJARES STATION – VALGRANDE)
The Pajares ski resort, surrounded by peaks that reach 2,000 metres, is one of the benchmark resorts in the Cantabrian Mountains.
More than 30 kilometers of track, with two cross-country routes, a snow park in the upper area of the resort, two competition stadiums, a specific route for cross-country skiing within the resort itself and a sled area, which allows practice of various types of skiing and leisure to enjoy the snow in any of its forms or forms.
At the Hotel VIDA Santa Cristina, 27 km from the station and perfectly connected to it through the National Highway 630, we have an exclusive garage for skis with a laundry room that is totally free for our customers.
In addition, the San Isidro Mountain Station is 50 km away (50 minutes by car).
LENA: CYCLING DESTINATION
Lena is the paradise of national cycling, surrounded by the most mythical ports of the Cantabrian Mountains, scenes of great deeds in the main Vueltas and surrounded by mountains of great scenic beauty. And all this one step away from the Hotel VIDA Santa Cristina ***.
From the hotel we can start our cycling days to attack each of these great colossi.
- Gamoniteiru (14.8 km uphill with an average gradient of 9.8% and located 20 km from the hotel)
- Cobertoria (9 Km with AG of 9.1%, at 15 Km)
- Angliru (12.4 Km with 10.3% AG, at 32 Km)
- La Cubilla (17 Km with AG of 6%, at 32 Km)
- Pajares Port (13.2 Km with AG of 7.5%, at 23 Km)
- Cuitu Negru Port (19.4 Km with AG of 6.9%, at 29 Km)
- Alto del Cordal – La Segá (5.50 Km with AG of 9%, at 13 Km)
- Alto Cuchu Puercu – Espines (10.6 Km with AG of 7%, at 13 Km)
- Alto de Carabanzo (2.9 km with a AG of 5.7%, 11 km from the hotel)
In the hotel we have an exclusive garage for bicycles with a laundry room and a small workshop, totally free for our clients.
LENA: TREKKING AND MOUNTAIN DESTINATION
In addition to the nearby ski resorts, there are some of the most beautiful mountains in Asturias, such as Pico Ubiña, the top of the council with its 2,417 meters high.
In addition to the routes that we can do in the Parque de Las Ubiñas – La Mesa such as the Senda del Oso and the Desfiladero de las Xanas, in Lena you can enjoy several perfectly signposted trails to explore the natural beauties of this municipality.
– Ablaneo Route (13.05 km / Time: 4 hours)
– Mofusu Route (9.5 km / Time: 3 hours)
– Coguchu Route (17.38 km / Time: 5 hours)
– Brañavalera (18.71 km / Time: 6 hours)
LENA: MINING DESTINATION (INDUSTRIAL TOURISM)
It is impossible to understand the idiosyncrasy of this region and its people without going back to its mining past. We are in the center of the Caudal basin which, together with the Nalón basin, came to employ thousands of people in the trade of extracting coal from the depths of the earth.
To better understand this mining past, there are several museums and tourist experiences that we are going to review here.
All of Asturias in general and this area in particular are a gastronomic paradise. In addition to the fish brought from the main ports of the community, the Asturian bean stew, the pote, the lamb chops, the kid, the stews, tripe, various types of cheeses are the typical and forceful foods that you can find in any of its restaurants. For dessert, the famous rice pudding and various homemade cakes complement the menu.
Below, and without detracting from any other restaurant (we repeat, all this information is based on our personal experiences), we name several places that we believe are a guarantee of success to sit down to eat in the city of Lena.
– Santa Cristina Restaurant (Palacio): In the hotel’s spacious restaurant you can taste traditional Asturian cuisine perfectly prepared by the team of renowned hotelier Seve Arias. It has a daily menu and a weekend menu, where the fabada, the kid stew or the cachopos are some of its specialties. The homemade desserts and the after-dinner garden make this restaurant a must if you visit Lena.
– Restaurante Roble by Jairo Rodríguez (Pola de Lena): Jairo Rodríguez is one of the great chefs of Asturias. After working in several kitchens, in 2018 he decided to open his own restaurant that is already in the Michelin Guide. His cover letter is traditional Asturian cuisine with modern touches, fine textures and beautiful presentations. To highlight the roast beef and fish such as mullet or monkfish that is wonderful. Leave room for desserts, with rice pudding and toast that take away the meaning.
– Restaurante Vía Carisa (Carabanzo): In the small town of Carabanzo, on top of a mountain, this cozy restaurant is located with magnificent views and very attentive service. They have a wide variety menu where they combine the typical dishes of the area such as bean stew, stew, shank or lamb with other more elaborate ones such as scrambled seafood, prawns with scallops or stuffed mushrooms. Homemade desserts and a good quality/price ratio make it one of the essential places to eat in Lena.
– Casa Farpón (Mamorana): This restaurant located in a 19th century building with wonderful views over the Vía Carisa is another of the references in Lena. In addition to the menu, they offer several tasting menus that combine classic dishes with seasonal products. Croquettes, rice with pitu, hake with cider or rice with deer are sure hits. For dessert, be sure to try the creamy goat cheese cake, which is wonderful. It is not cheap but, like the rest of our recommendations, the food is worth it.
– Casa María (Felgueras): Located at the end of the beautiful village of Felgueras, it is the typical “chigre” where everything you eat is great and takes you to Asturian cuisine made with raw materials of the highest quality and the care that the grandmothers put all their dishes. They usually have a menu of the day and a house menu to choose between several starters and several seconds. Pot, bean stew, kid, lamb… we couldn’t tell you what to choose because everything is great.
– Hamburguesería Ca’ Zampola (Pola de Lena): If you want to try some delicious hamburgers, Ca’ Zampola is your place. Homemade, with top quality meats, in village bread and combined with a wide variety of ingredients to choose from. Definitely a place that is not synonymous with fast food and that deserves a stop. For something it was in second place as the best hamburger in Spain.