La Ruta del Oro - El Bierzo & León

Guided walking, history, nature - small international group - Castilla-León

The lively city centre of the capital of the former kingdom of León... The 'extraterrestrial' landscapes of the Roman gold-mines of Las Médulas... The traditions and history of Ponferrada and El Bierzo... Walks among the high peaks of the Ancares and Montes de León...

ONE WEEK Activities: exploration of León province: 5 days with walks of 2-3h on (occasionally steep) paths; denivellations of up to +300m; visits to Astorga, León, Ponferrada and picturesque villages and cultural maysites. Group 10 maximum.

EXCEPT 3 MEALS, in comfortable hotels in rooms for two (private bathrooms) in the historical centre of León city (2 nights) and on the Plaza Mayor of Ponferrada (5 nights).

DATES (Tuesday-Tuesday)
2017 9-16 May. FULLY BOOKED.

895 euros per person; single room supplement 155 euros.

RENDEZVOUS 17.00, León station; choose a flight arriving at Madrid airport by 13.00.
DISPERSAL Zamora station at 11.30: choose a flight departing Madrid after 16.00.
Please ask us for travel information — we can book train tickets for you.

Location of this programme:

TUESDAY Mozarabic San Miguel de la Escalada. First evening in León.

WEDNESDAY León: fabulous stained glass in the cathedral, and San Isidoro, a masterpiece of Camino de Santiago Romanesque architecture. Works by Gaudí. Tapas evening in the lively Barrio Húmedo.

THURSDAY We travel to Astorga, whose bishop's palace is a work of Gaudí. However, Astorga is best known under the name of Asturica Augusta, the Roman town at the north end of the Vía de la Plata and the entrance to their gold-mining areas. A visit guided by a local specialist gives us access to the remains uncovered by recent excavations: the trenches protecting the Legionary camp, a temple, baths, the forum and the cloacas. The Ruta del Oro through the picturesque villages of the Maragatería, with remains of (pre-)Roman forts and gold-mines. Arrival at Ponferrada, in the heart of El Bierzo (5 nights).

FRIDAY The beautiful Valle del Silencio, surrounded by the peaks of the Montes Aquilianos. In the steps of San Genadio (C9) from the San Pedro monastery to Santiago de Peñalba, one of the best-preserved Mozarabic churches.

SATURDAY The Roman gold mines of Las Médulas. You will be surprised by the most fantastic man-made landscapes! Cornatel castle.

SUNDAY Los Ancares mountain range, separating León from Galicia. The pallozas, curious dwellings whose ancestry can be traced to the Astur tribes.

MONDAY In El Bierzo, a fertile broad vale surrounded by the Montes de León: walk of the vineyards (local varieties red Mencía and white Godello) and Astur (pre-Roman) acropolis of Castroventosa. Visit to a bodega. Ponferrada Templar castle.

TUESDAY Morning transfer to Zamora, and to Toro for those continuing with us for 'Ciudad Rodrigo and Arribes del Duero' (16-22 May).

For other holidays in northern Spain in 2017, see:
walking: '
Natural Parks of Old Castile' (June & Sep), Rioja Alta (June & Sep)
Mar y Sierra: Cantabria' (June & September) and 'Mar y Sierra: Asturias' (July)
discovery: '
Candás-Costa Verde' (July), 'Liérganes & Santander' (June & Sep)
and '
Berlanga-Soria' (September).

Other discovery weeks: Almagro-La Mancha-Toledo / Baños de la Encina-Jaén
Two centre discovery: Ciudad Rodrigo & Arribes del Duero / Extremaduran Kaleidoscope
Summer/autumn flamenco nights
(Granada-Jerez) / Xmas 2017 at Cordoba / New Year 17-18 at Trujillo
walking: Andalusia / walking: Extremadura / Albarracín-Cuenca-Teruel / nature rambles / festivals
for groups, families or friends / Holiday index+calendar / Introduction in English / How to book / e-mail us