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Sierra de Ancares


Sierra de Ancares
Region: Bierzo
Location: Northwest of the province of León. It is bounded by Lugo and Asturias. It includes the councils of Vega de Espinareda, Villafranca del Bierzo, Fabero, Páramo del Sil, Palacios del Sil, Villablino, Peranzones and Candín.
Protection: Game Reserve since 1966, Natural Area and it was recently declared Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO


The area is comprised by a series of valleys and mountains where slate, limestone, filita, sandstone and quartzite predominate. With altitudes above 1.500m (4,921ft), here the action of ice led to the formation of glaciers, cirques and ponds. The climate is Central European with an average temperature of 8ºC (46F). Its area is formed by the valleys of Ancares, Burbia and Cúa or Fornela Rivers and Balboa Valley.


Birch, holly, alder tree, cranberry, maple, hazelnut, heather, oak, juniper, whitebeam, rebollo oak, sessile oak, sauce, serval, yew tree…


Wolf, roe deer, brown bear, fallow deer, broom hare, otter, partridge, snake eagle, capercaillie, golden eagle, goshawk, pere falcons…


Ancares Sierra begins with Piedrafita Mountain Pass and reaches up to Miravalles Mountain, in the Asturias border. It is a convergence of Galician, Cantabrian and Leonese influences, where the most traditional ways of living are still alive today, thanks to the isolation of the area through history. This fact has contributed to the maintenance of buildings such as the tradional “pallozas” (Palloza is a traditional house in the Northwest of Spain, made of stone with round floor and with the roof made of straw. They are similar to cottages), the “horreos” (hórreo is a construction typical from the Northwest of Spain, made of stone to keep food safe from humidity) and the communal regulations.


The capital in Ancares valley is Candín, where there are remains of gold mines from the Roman period. In Pereda, a house of “teito” hosts an ethnographic museum. In Balouta, we can enjoy restored pallozas. In Vega de Espinareda there is the Benedictine monastery of Sain Andrew, from the 10th century, which was restored several times because of the fires.

These lands were isolated; consequently there was no military presence. However, we can enjoy the castle of Sarracín in Vega de Valcarce and The Templars´ castle in Ponferrada from the 12th century. We can enjoy sports and outdoor activities, such as: trekking, fishing, hunting, riding, cycling…



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