A 1.5 hour drive from Oviedo led us to a mountain town called Congas de Onis. This is the base camp for hikers, trekkers, and tourists who visit the Pyrenees and mountain lakes an hour away. The mountain roads are closed during the day to individuals and the only way up is an €8 bus. At the top, there are hiking trails and mountain views.
We stopped at the tourist office in the village where we retrieved a map and the information about the bus, then climbed on some rocks underneath an old Roman Bridge. The bridge has an old cross hanging from it and the water underneath is absolutely clear.
I would have paid far more than €8 for the bus ride. The tiny winding roads we drove through were barely wide enough for the greyhound-esque bus and when the hairpin turns began, it was positively terrifying. The bus drivers are experienced and the trip is uneventful. The drive up brings you through small villages and hiking trails with views of the mountains like none other. Check the weather before you embark on this bus ride — chilly temperatures cause fog that blocks mountain views and can obscure your traveling partners if they walk more than 10 feet in front of you.
When we got off the bus about 30 minutes later, we were at the end of the paved roads and the beginning of hiking trails. We hiked up a hill to various overlooks and found an old mining site from the early 1900’s. They used to mine magnesium in these mountains but were shut down in the 1970’s due to water pollution. Now all that’s left is a train track and some old mining carts that visitors can climb around. The trails are very clearly marked and although I didn’t hike very far, there’s enough paved and rock-lined path to hike for days on end. At the top of the first trail is a lodge that serves food and drinks to the weary traveler.