Almost always, mountain towns are chosen as “postcard places”, because that idyllic setting with the mountainous formations in the background makes them tremendously striking. Something like this happens in Riaño, a small town in the province of León (Spain), located on the southern slope of the Cantabrian mountain range.
This small Leonese municipality, moreover, It acts as a prelude to one of the most spectacular protected natural spaces in the Iberian Peninsula; the peaks of Europe. For this and much more, it has the perfect ingredients so that we can affirm that Riaño is one of those “authentic postcard” towns.
Mountains, lakes, reservoirs, exuberant vegetation… all this and a very long history awaits you in Riaño. Join us to discover it.
to the east of Leon
Riaño is a Spanish municipality and town in the north of the autonomous community of Castilla y León.. It is located on the southern slope of the Cantabrian mountain range, very close to the upper eastern line of peaks of the province, and acts as a prelude to the famous Picos de Europa.
Its demarcation has an extension of 97.63 square kilometers, it is located at an altitude of 1,148 meters and at a distance of 95 kilometers from the provincial capital.
geographically, Riaño is located at the confluence of the 2 rivers that form the Esla in a single channel. The headwaters of the Esla and Yuso rivers, where it is located, form an extensive, very rugged mountainous complex, of high average altitude and covered by a vegetal carpet in which pastures, heaths and brooms alternate with magnificent remains of beech and oak forests.
In climatic terms, much of the abundant precipitation collected in this area is in the form of snow. This makes communications and life extremely difficult during the long and rigorous winters that have followed one another throughout history, among the coldest and snowiest in the province.
On the other hand, summers can get hot, though even in July and August night temperatures can drop below 0 degrees. In short, it has a cold and humid continental climate which, together with the high average altitude, translates into optimal conditions for the development of the characteristic Atlantic forest.
Riaño, a corner that overflows with beauty
Riaño’s postcard is discovered through a beautiful horizon with a massif of limestone rock peaks in the background. Here, in the mountains of Leon, the goal is to discover what this corner of beauty and thousands of attractions welcomes. to enjoy a quiet and enriching visit.
The region of Riaño is the idyllic place for lovers of nature, and especially of fauna and flora. Here resides the best wildlife reserve represented by yew trees, beech trees, holly trees, oak trees, all kinds of aromatic and medicinal plants. And, of course, because of the emblematic flower, the capilote or mountain daffodil, which every May sows the extensive meadows yellow.
It is also possible to see a long list of animal species, including the brown bear, the capercaillie, the Hispanic goat and the fine mountain water trout.
For it, there are many hiking trails, whose intention is to publicize the varied and rich biodiversity that hosts this beautiful place. Some of them are the Anciles valley route —mixed route of boat and hiking—, the Anciles-Tendeña route, the ascent to Cueto Cabrón or also the ascent to Pico Gilbo, with 1667 meters.
Showcase of mountain traditions and culture in Riaño
On the other hand, with regard to culture, in Riaño you can visit the ethnographic museum. Here we can discover various tools related to livestock activity, essential in this region for centuries.
Likewise, the scene of the era is recreated with the tools used in it, the slaughter work and the fishing elements: the jug and the butrón. There are also the traditional jobs and tasks, such as that of the madreñero with his tools, the blacksmith in the forge or the zamarrones.
On the other hand, the museum houses an interesting collection of rabeles, a chordophone instrument played with a bow. In addition, it contains an excellent photographic collection of traditional houses and corners of the towns flooded by the reservoir, since Riaño has been a municipality marked by a great environmental catastrophe.
Under the waters of its reservoir, inaugurated in 1987, leafy valleys, a great biodiversity and the history of no less than 9 towns disappeared.
A place to discover
Riaño currently has an artistic heritage worth visiting. Beyond the natural and the architectural variety found in its streets and corners, We recommend that you enjoy its wide range of activities aimed at rural tourism.
For this, you will also find a wide variety of hotel establishments with luxurious hotels and hostels. Likewise, you will find the offer of typical culinary specialties, such as trout and meats, sausages and ham made in an artisanal way.
Finally, it is also possible to enjoy boat rides, motorcycle routes, hiking visiting the best natural showcases, fairs, festivals, traditions and eating very, very well. Are you going to miss it?