Protected from the Peaks of Europe, right on the border of León with Asturias and Cantabria, we find one of the most impressive landscapes from all over Castile. There is no sea here, but there is a large reservoir, the Riaño. When it filled with water 37 years ago, nine towns were flooded and the landscape changed forever.

Today it is a place full of natural spaces of great beauty and also full of activities, both by water and by land. But they have also managed to preserve the essence of their small towns, where you can rest, relax and, of course, give yourself more than a gastronomic tribute full of flavor and tradition.

Under the waters of the Leonese Fjords lie nine towns that were flooded 37 years ago

After a long and hard winter, nature begins to wake up from its slumber and the area returns to fill with life with the arrival of spring, one of the best times to put on comfortable clothes and venture out to see the area. If you don’t know where to start, here you go five good ideas to fall in love with the Leonese Fjords.

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Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Hermitage of Our Lady of the Rosary.

1. New Riaño

The old Riaño was submerged under the waters of the reservoir, but not everything was lost. The most notable monuments were moved stone by stone to save them from the water. Hard work thanks to which today we can continue enjoying the hermitage of Our Lady of the Rosary. A temple from the 13th century which continues to be one of the great examples of Leonese Romanesque; In addition, inside they were discovered some Gothic frescoes that were covered with lime. Next to this hermitage, one of the two granaries of Asturias was also located, a survivor of the almost 80 that are believed to have existed in the area.

Colombia, Church of Las Lajas

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Spectacular sunset at the Riaño reservoir.
Spectacular sunset at the Riaño reservoir.

2. Boat trip

Water now dominates everything, allowing you to enjoy its most one hundred kilometers of coast and also a multitude of water activities. One of the most popular is the boat ride, which allows you to appreciate the landscape from another perspective and understand why the area is known as the Leon Fjords. These excursions depart from Riaño marina and during the journey you will be able to hear part of the history of Riaño and some curiosities of the landscape.

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Photo from the most beautiful bench in León.
Photo from the most beautiful bench in León.

3. The most beautiful bank in León

This is how it was baptized at the time and, until now, no one has been able to contradict them. The landscape that surrounds it is one of the most impressive you’ve seen, so when planning your visit, add extra time to all the photos you’ll want to take at this point. From here the landscape of the mountains with the water of the swamp form the perfect postcard.

Getting to the most beautiful bank in León is a wonderful walk along the reservoir

Furthermore, getting to this bank (and a neighboring one that is very close) is another wonder. It must be taken the Walk of Remembrance that starts from the hermitage of Our Lady of the Rosary, in Riaño, and takes you to the bank after a kilometer bordering part of the reservoir. It is very well conditioned and is a delight to visit almost any time of the year. As you pass, some information panels show images of the area before the reservoir and some more details of its history.

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The big swing.
The big swing.

4. The big swing

If the most famous bank in León has not been enough for you or you still need more photos to increase the number of followers from your social networks, this great swing is a safe bet. Located in the Mirador de las Hazas, Here you will have your “influencer” photo. The Riaño City Council placed it less than three years ago and, since then, it has been the great attraction. It is more than eight meters high and is located at more than 1,200 meters above sea level. That is, it has everything to make it the most impressive swing experience.


The historic town of León linked to the Camino de Santiago, which is among the most beautiful in Spain

View of Gilbo Peak from a viewpoint.
View of Gilbo Peak from a viewpoint.

5. A little hiking

The beautiful natural spaces that surround the Riaño reservoir are presented as the perfect place to get lost. There are many options and they range from walks along the shore of the water from where you can enjoy the impressive views of the mountains or, for the more daring, head towards one of its peaks.

If the water inlets between the high mountains remind us of the Norwegian fjords, the profile of Pico Gilbo, whose summit is at 1,667 meters, remembers the mythical Matterhorn Swiss, one of the most emblematic peaks of the Alps. In the case of León, the route is not very long, about eight kilometers, but it is somewhat demanding due to the great unevenness.

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