In my blog on my recent Picos de Europa visit, I promised to review the first place at which we stayed. El Quesar de Gamoneo lies at the end of a winding, hedge-lined rural road. The nearest major town is Canga de Onis, and the nearest village with shops/restaurants/taverna is Benia de Onis. The hotel is well sited for tourist areas in the north-west Picos (e.g. Codovanga) and offers well-priced B&B and DB&B packages.
El Quesar de Gamoneo is a place to relax – a hotel where you feel at home, where you can imbibe natural riches without moving more than a few hundred metres, or can recuperate after a hard day's hiking in the wider Picos. Strongly recommended. We will be back.
The hotel's precise location is excellent: scenic and quiet. Several of the nine bedrooms and the restaurant open onto a wooded valley with towering cliff faces frequented by birds such as Raven and Chough. Not a bad view when you throw open the curtains each morning!
There is plenty of wildlife in the area, and exploring on foot is essential. Butterflies and birds abound along the surrounding country tracks, which roll through meadows and flower-rich scrub. You can even ramble off-piste through nearby woodlands (even up to the lakes at Codovanga if you are good enough at orienteering). I provide a full wildlife list below, but highlights included Beech Marten (seen from the bedroom!), Fire Salamander, Western Green Lizard, Common Midwife Toad, Large Chequered Skipper, Keeled Skimmer, Glow Worm and various cool moths – all seen within three minutes walk of the hotel (where all the following photos were taken).
Facilities include a small children's play area (swings etc and a trampoline), and swimming pool; there are ample board games and books to enrich your evenings. Our eight-year daughter had a ball. Food is suitably rustic for a rural area: wholesome, home-cooked, fresh, copious and distinctly Asturian. Think rabbit or boar stew for an evening meal, washed down with local vino tint or cask sidra. The cosy décor emphasises its wood carvings, from handcrafted beds to sculptures in every room (notably a wooden 'jacket', complete with bottle of wine in its pocket). The service from owner Patricia was excellent: warm, welcoming and informative.
The following interesting animals were seen from the hotel, or within a few minutes walk of it.
Griffon Vulture, Honey Buzzard, Common Buzzard, Red-billed Chough, Raven, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Iberian Green Woodpecker, Common Swift, European Hoopoe, Common Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Barn Swallow, House Martin, Crag Martin, White Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Blackcap, Common Firecrest, Black Redstart, Common Redstart, European Robin, Eurasian Blackbird, Nuthatch, Red-backed Shrike, Long-tailed Tit, Iberian Chiffchaff, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Serin, Chaffinch, House Sparrow.
Beech Marten, Bank Vole
Common Lizard, Iberian Wall Lizard, Western Green Lizard.
Fire Salamander, Common Midwife Toad, Palmate Newt, Iberian Water Frog.
Cardinal, Large Chequered Skipper, Comma, Marbled White, Ringlet, Bath White, Large White, Small White, Wood White, Cleopatra, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Clouded Yellow, Swallowtail, Meadow Brown, Spanish Gatekeeper, Peacock, Red Admiral, Wall.
Goat Moth, Drinker, Oak Eggar, Privet Hawk-moth, Elephant Hawk-moth, Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Maiden's Blush, Red Carpet, Clouded Magpie, Orange Moth, Swallow-tailed Moth, Olive-tree Beauty, Jersey Emerald, Large Emerald, Sussex Emerald, Lobster Moth, Horse Chestnut, Black V Moth, Cream-spotted Tiger, Ruby Tiger, Dew Moth, Shaded Fan-foot, Blackneck, Beautiful Hook-tip, Silver Y, Scarce Merveille du Jour, Coronet, Latin, Bird's Wing, Orache Moth, L-album wainscot, Green Arches, Lunar-spotted Pinion, Dark Sword-grass, Small Ranunculus, Splendid Brocade, Double-line, Olive Crescent.
Western Demoiselle, Keeled Skimmer.
Galician Bee Chafer, Glow Worm.