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Discover Spain's mining history

  • View of the landscape of Las Médulas. León ©Turespaña

    View of the landscape of Las Médulas. León ©Turespaña


"Spain always has interesting surprises in store for you. Here we suggest an original journey to places where the mining spirit is still alive. ..."

Spain always has interesting surprises in store for you. Here we suggest an original journey to places where the mining spirit is still alive. You can discover this way of life with a visit to the inside of the earth in Spain's mining valleys. You can now explore silver and magnetite mines; see how miners work, first hand; witness the amazing contrast and beauty of landscapes where the earth is open to the sky. Here are a few ideas.

Can you imagine the earth 700 metres beneath your feet? You can find out what it's like at the Almadén Mining Park, in the province of Ciudad Real, Castile–La Mancha Region. The park contains a mine with chambers reaching to this depth. On your visit you can explore the first level of the gallery, access the pits and discover the techniques used by miners to obtain mercury. The site also has a visitor centre, the Mercury Museum and various workshops.

In Teruel, Region of Aragon, don't miss the Escucha Mining Museum, designed to make you feel like a miner for a day. The Museum aims to turn your trip into a mining adventure, and there are several special programmes aimed specifically at children. Activities available include quad biking routes in the mining valley, a 200 metre descent into the gallery in a mine cart and a visit to a power station. In the same Region, but now in the province of Huesca, there is a geological/mining circuit in Sobrarbe, where iron and silver were extracted until the 20th century.

Routes to villages and mine locations

Exploring Spain's mining areas will take you to stunning villages and natural locations. Asturias is a region in northern Spain that has always been one of the country's main mining areas. Here you can visit the Bustiello Mining Town, which has interesting architecture created by workers from the Bustiello coal mining community. In the same region you'll find the Mining and Industry Museum (MUMI), one of the most important of its type. If you prefer to see the mines set in the countryside, then we recommend the coal route by bike in the Candín Valley, or the Jovellanos mining route, with a 23-kilometre circular itinerary taking in the main mining valleys in Asturias. Before you plan your trip, you should check the details of these routes with the tourist offices throughout the region.

You can still see the mark left by mining in León, Castile-León region, with one of the world's unique landscapes, awarded the UNESCO World Heritage designation: las Médulas. This ancient mine dating from the time of the Roman Empire can be explored along several routes, either on foot, by bike or on horseback.

Southern Spain also offers the chance to feel what it would be like to be a miner. In Andalusia, the main attractions of this type are to be found in the province of Huelva, especially in the Riotinto mining area. Many people liken it to the planet Mars on account of its impressive polychromatic landscape. If you want to learn more about these mines, then visit the Riotinto Mining Museum.

Besides these suggestions, there are others you'll soon be able to enjoy in Spain. The regions of Andalusia, Castile-León and Galicia are currently working to recover old mines. For the moment, we would recommend open-air tourism in the mines suggested here. You're sure to come back to Spain again to discover all the new ones.

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