Leon Natural Spaces
Hoces de Vegacervera
Fluvial erosion of limestone in the upper valley of the river torio has created a gorge of large vertical walls rising on both sides of the river.
In the region of El Bierzo, to the northeast of the Montes Aquilanos and near the valley of the river Sil, we find Las Médulas, a fantastic landscape resulting from the gold exploitation by the Romans.
It is, without doubt, the largest gold mine excavated by the Romans in all of their Empire. The 300 million cubic metres of earth extracted for gold panning have become, with the passage of time and erosion, one of Spain's most beautiful and valuable historical and archaeological sites.
The deep landscape of Las Médulas has its origin in the system used for gold exploitation: the "ruina montium". This process must have been very profitable as it is calculated that the Romans extracted 800,000 kg. of gold from Las Médulas.
Sierra de Ancares
Situated in the nortwest part of the province of león, at the border with lugo and asturias. From ponferrada, take n-vi for vega de valcarce and then le-723, or turn in columbrianos onto le-711 to fabero. The le-712 and other local roads cross the sierra.
Sierra de la Encina de la Lastra
Situated at the very edge of the region of el bierzo in león, bordering with the province of orense, and to the south of the town of villafranca del bierzo.
Valle de San Emiliano
Under the shadow of the rock faces of Peña Ubiña (2,417 metres) lies the rough mountainous landscape of the Valle de San Emiliano.
Situated in between the Leonese valleys of Babia and Luna, on the border with Asturias, this valley displays, along with classic elements of glacial erosion, the equally significant features of karstic relief.
The vegetation includes beech groves, oaks and the remnants of the juniper woods of Mirantes de Luna - the westernmost on the Iberian peninsula.
The Valle de San Emiliano contains interesting rural centres, among them, the settlement of Riolago de Babia, with its Renaissance palace, the Palacio de Quiñones, and its sober walled grounds.