It is noted not only for its stunning natural landscapes of mountains shaped by the glacier and river morphology and the green valleys painstakingly cultivated by residents, but also for its original cultural and history, traces of which are still reflected today in the local architecture and lifestyle.

The vast heathlands, the highly-prized chestnut groves and the woods of oak, holly, yew and strawberry trees are scattered among pasturelands where cattle graze. This region is also home to an exceptional range of wildlife, including ibex, deer, mountain goats, eagles, vultures and other species that are harder to spot such as brown bears and capercaillies. There are also grasslands for livestock and kitchen gardens where the locals grow their own produce, nestling on the lower slopes of this magnificent mountain scenery.

The Reserve offers countless leisure and recreation options thanks to its vast natural wealth. For centuries, residents in this area have taken advantage of the setting and their ancient history dating back to the Iron Age to build intriguing circular-shaped dwellings with walls made of autochthonous stone and thatched roofs, known locally as ‘teitos’. These constructions provide shelter for both animals and people against the harsh winter weather.


Statement date: 10/27/2006

Category: Biosphere Reserve (56,786 ha.)

Location: Noroeste de la Provincia de León, limitando con Galicia y Asturias

Municipalities in the province of León:
  • Candín,
  • Peranzanes,
  • Vega de Espinareda,
  • Villafranca del Bierzo

Population: 6.330 habitantes.

Managers: Consorcio de la Reserva de la Biosfera de los Ancares Leoneses (Ayuntamientos de Candín, Peranzanes, Vega de Espinareda, Villafranca del Bierzo y Fundación Ciudad de la Energía).

Address: Avda. de Ancares, 6, 24430. Vega de Espinareda (León), Avda. de La Minería, s/n. 24402, Ponferrada (León)


Phone: 987 56 49 07, 987 423 551

Other protection:

  • Lugar de Importancia Comunitaria (LIC).
  • Zona de Especial Protección para las Aves (ZEPA).
  • Espacio Natural Protegido de la REN de Castilla y León.
  • Reserva Nacional de Caza.
  • Espacio Natural Sierra de Ancares.

Region / Province biogeographical: Eurosiberiana/ Atlántica Europea