Not long ago, the only way to reach Bulnes was through a snake-like path surrounded by rocks belonging to the third stage of prehistory. This path was walked by men on mules carrying provisions and belongings and also by postal workers. This route was not much used during winter because it was hidden by the snow. A couple of times, a helicopter has been needed to attend local emergencies.
Funicular to Bulnes
Bulnes was the last town of Asturias without road access, but today we can get there thanks to the services of a cable car that travels at a speed of 22 kilometers an hour, using a cable traction system over the railtracks.
It is a costly investment which has broken the isolation of Bulnes yet, is seen as a huge waste of money by some. Since the work on it began in 1998, the funicular was the center of many protests and controversy. Ecologists played their part at trials to defend the environment. Now, it seems that the quarreling is over, if for better or worse, this new method of transport is up and running. Bulnes is only 2 kilometers from the locality of Poncebos and is linked by an underground tunnel that crosses Peña Maín. This work cost a great amount of money, around 12 million euros.
Bulnes deserves to be visited for many reasons, for instance, taking a quiet stroll or having a trip in a cable car. In this town one can easily enjoy the rustic reality, a unique town which houses no more of ten or so neighbors, number of small Asturian houses and a lot of ruins including its parish. In this town a couple of bars and restaurants have become famous for their good cooking and for this reason, they are very attractive for many tourists who can also spend a night in town hostel.
Near to this town there used to be a camping site for the nature lovers among us and also for lovers of extreme sports. Bulnes is the first stage before reaching the famous Urriellu Peak (Naranjo of Bulnes), famous mountain frequented by the climbers of the country. This town is surrounded by peaks that reach heights of 1600 meters. Here, there are hostels which provide all the creature comforts for tourists. The main aim of the environment of the Asturian people is the enjoyment of the natural landscape of this region and, of course, the respect towards the existing environment. This town was founded by shepherds who finally decided to settle there. The lifestyle in Bulnes must be respected because this is a very rural environment where modernity is still to be left.
This is the usual mountain path that the neighbors used for many years because it is one of the safest. It is true that the mountain appears very steep at first glance.
Route on foot by the Texu's cannel
We can park our car in the locality of Poncebos, seven kilometers from Arenas de Cabrales. This route is very similar to that of Cares, which also starts in the locality of Poncebos. The stretch to Bulnes is shorter yet difficult to go and come back in the same day, so for this reason as well as feeling exhausted, one can feel satisfied at the effort put into it. Everyone can easily do it because it does not depend totally on age or health. From the bridge of La Jaya, close to the crossing of Poncebos and up to the town of Bulnes we have already ascended 400 meters of unevenness, with slopes that reach gradients of 8%. This type of ascend follows a road made of old stones that have felt the effects of weather and the thousand steps of walkers over many years. In some stretches of this road one can find stone stairs as a result of the erosion caused by the passage of time. Opposite there, we can see the famous Murallón of Amuesa. This is so vertical as the one of Peña Maín that we are on borders with a steep gorge over the Texu river, a channel which takes its name from this river and separates into two natural masses.
This road continues for another 4 kilometers, an hour and a half's walk which leads to a very small valley where the town of Bulnes is located. This town can be considered as a previous stage before climbing the huge stair that leads us to the highest mountains.
To our side we can observe small hill, Bulnes de Arriba (upper Bulnes) and ahead: Bulnes de Abajo (lower Bulnes) joined by the same road. Both of them are areas known as the Castle and the Villa. During the winter time the people live off their livestock and in summer they take advantage of tourism and people's fondness of mountains. We get to the village through its cemetery and the ruined house, the most noble house in this town. In one side of the cemetery we can find the chapel that houses the Virgin of the Snow, the patron saint, who has her own celebration day in the beginning of August.
A small stream divides this town into two equal parts that have blocks of flats, hostels and several bars. The roads are as natural as the mountains themselves.
Once we got here we spend the rest of our time contemplating the beauty of nature. We can also choose one of the numerous mountain routes that are available at this place.
Photos by Go with me
More information about CabralesText: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interestTo reach Poncebos we turn on the AS-114 passing through Arenas de Cabrales. There is clear signage.
Tourist Office of Arenas de Cabrales (Summer and festival days) Tel .: 985 84 64 84.
City of Carreña de Cabrales. Tel .: 985 84 50 21.
Bulnes 2016 Funicular Info :
From 19 to 28 of march
From April 30 to May 2
From June 18 to September 18
29, 30, October 31 and November 1
From 3 to 10 December
Timetable: from 10: 00 to 20: 00 hours.
Rest of the year.
Timetable: from 10: 00 to 12: 30 hours and from 14: 00 to 18: 00 hours.
Every 30 minutes. On working days, from mondays to fridays, there is a trip at 08: 30 hours.
Sigle ticket: 17,61 euros
Return ticket: 22,16 euros
Kids single ticket (from 4 to 12 years old): 4,32 euros
Kids return ticket (from 4 to 12 years): 6,71 euros