on October 14, 2012
At first glance, Covadonga is an assuming, low-key place - but its size is at odds with its significance to modern Spain. The 711 Battle of Covadonga represented the first Christian victory over the Moors, and paved the way for the Reconquista that would take place over the following centuries. The victorious King Pelayo credited the Virgin Mary for the triumph, and a shrine was erected that is today one of the country's most visited religious monuments.Much of Covadonga's tourist industry centres on the shrine - and the imposing cathedral that stands proudly above the valley - but there is also some quite wonderful walking and hiking in the mountains. Casa Aspron, which sits just off the main road which curves upwards towards the celebrated lakes above the village, represents a great base for either purpose of visit - it's cosy and well-equipped, but is also extremely welcoming and down-to-earth. The owners are extremely knowledgeable about the local area, and can offer advice about the walking routes and paths that can be explored nearby.There are around half a dozen rooms in this charming wood-panelled house, which are more warm and cosy than swimmingly spacious - but this suits the hotel and the location. We stayed in a double room at the top of the house, with our bedroom and bathroom tucked under the eaves, and fantastic views of the cathedral and surrounding peaks. The footpath that runs up through the valley runs past the hotel, and the chomping, churning waters of the river below offer a constant soundtrack to your stay.If the rooms are nearer functional than exceptional, the breakfast is both - I've rarely eaten such a wonderful, filling morning meal, especially at around £50 a night. Eggs, sausages, fresh bread and pastries are available, with yoghurts, plentiful fruit, juices, hot drinks and assorted extras setting you up for even the most strenuous day's walking. It's a great way to start the day, and a good chance to enjoy the hospitality of the convivial owners.All in all, for a supremely relaxing place to stay while you explore one of Spain's most gorgeous areas - without straining your budget too greatly - Casa Aspron is a great bet. Just bear in mind that you'll need to fit in some pretty lengthy walks to work off those breakfasts!
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009