El Principado de Asturias is a small region in the north of Spain surrounded by mountains opposing the Bay of Biscay. It enjoys an oceanic climate, with abundant precipitation, which is the reason why its landscape is always green. The Picos de Europa Mountains, the National Park of Covadonga, or the one in Somiedo, are some of the places not to be missed, and have to be admired for their landscape and nature. In the mountain range that crosses the north of the country some animals in danger of extinction, like bears and capercaillies, still live.
Geographically, Asturias is a crossing place of the Way of Saint James to the Cantabrian coast. It is a different path from the French way but was much used during medieval times, reason why many villages through this route preserve innumerable monuments, with many important jewels of Romanesque style. Asturias also marks the beginning of the Ruta de la Plata (Silver Route), constructed in Roman times from Astorga to Merida, going south. A few kilometres away from the mountains, the beaches and cliffs, sprinkled with marine towns, offer another possibility for the traveller.
Asturias is an isolated territory surrounded by mountains, and because of that, Asturian valleys have been a refuge for popular ancient beliefs and myths that have resisted the passage of time there. The songs and dances of Asturias are a very original folklore, which can be appreciated during numerous summer celebrations. In some towns the festive beginning of the summer is celebrated on Saint Peter’s day with the rise of ‘arbolon’, a tree of considerable height that is cut down and transferred to the main square, usually by the young people of the town.