Discovery of Asturias
More than an autonomous community, Asturias has also been a principality since the heir to the Spanish crown was given the title of Prince of Asturias.
Before being the capital of this small Celtic region bordered by the Cantabrian Sea, Oviedo was the capital of the Kingdom of Asturias. From this medieval past, it preserves an old town with lively little streets and many monuments and buildings classified as part of the heritage of humanity.
The Asturian coast, the Costa Verde, stretches over 350 kilometers of coastline interspersed with beaches and cliffs, villages or more important agglomerations including Gijón, the most populated city and the most active fishing port of the province.
Traditionally maritime, the coastal villages offer as many small fishing harbours, beaches with golden sand where the practice of surfing is widespread. The cliffs and small coves complete the landscapes of the Costa Verde.
The climate of Asturias is typically oceanic with mild winters and sometimes rainy winters.
The hinterland therefore presents landscapes of green and wooded mountains. To the south, three large nature parks, among them the Picos de Europa Park, offer hiking trails through beautiful sites.
Land of popular mythology with among other characters the xanes, fairies with blond hair, music and dances accompanied by gaïta asturiana, a local bagpipe. Asturias is also a territory where gastronomy in which cider and both marine and terrestrial products are at the forefront….
Travelling to Asturias
The capital of Asturias is Oviedo, without forgetting other cities to discover.
Cimadevilla, the fishermen’s quarter, with the marina and Santa Catalina hill, form the old town of Gijón. It is on this hill, chosen by the first occupants of the site in the 5th century BC, that the Elogio del Horizonte, a monumental sculpture by Eduardo Chillida, was erected in front of the ocean. From there, the view embraces the Bay of Biscay, the Costa Verde and the old quarter of Cimadevilla.
At the entrance of the small peninsula forming the historic centre, the Plaza Mayor houses the 19th century building of the Town Hall. Not far away, the Plaza de Jovellanos is home to the 16th century writer and politician Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, the interesting Museum of the People of Asturias.
On your way to the port, you will discover the Revillagigedo Palace and the San Juan Bautista Collegiate Church, both dedicated to temporary exhibitions in Plaza del Marqués.
Gijón is a modern, airy city with many squares and green spaces, such as the Jardins del Náutico, Begoña and Reina. Two beaches border Cimadevilla, San Lorenzo in the east and Piedra de Huesco on the other side of the marina to the west.
Situation: in the centre of the Costa Verde coastline 30 km north of Oviedo.
A former fishing village founded in the 11th century west of Cape Peñas, Avilés, the third largest city in the Principality of Asturias, has become a modern city and a first-class steel centre.
Historic site: the pedestrian streets of Galiana and Rivero, the Plaza de España with the Town Hall, the old 13th century Sabugo church, the Palazzo de Valdecarzana…
On the occasion of the inauguration of the new fishing port in 1980, a new congregation of fishermen, La Virgen de las Mareas, was born in this port which now concentrates 70% of the sale of Asturian fish products.
The small port city of Avilés organizes every year since 1996 a great interceltic festival bringing together hundreds of musicians and dancers as well as bands from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and of course Asturias.
Situation: in the centre of the Asturian coastline, 27 km north of Oviedo and 25 km west of Gijón.
Of medieval origin, the seaside village of Luanco and its beautiful beaches are bathed by the waters of the Cantabrian Sea.
In the historical centre of this old village, 18th century palaces are surrounded by modernist buildings while its fishing port offers a beautiful sea promenade.
Cabo de Peñas
Classified Protected landscape, the Cape of Peñas is a surprising stretch of land that goes out to sea in the centre of the Asturian Atlantic coast.
It is the northernmost point of the Asturian coastline and is bordered by cliffs, some of which reach a height of 100 metres and beaches. From around its lighthouse built in 1852, the view of the Bay of Biscay, the beaches and the nearby coves is splendid.
Situation: 20 km north-west of Gijón via AS-118 and GO-1.
Founded in the 13th century by Alfonso X of Castile, Ribadesella offers a mix of medieval and modernistic urbanism in addition to its beautiful beaches.
The town is divided in two by the bridge over the river Sella on the banks of which Ribadesella was built.
To the west is the old town, declared of cultural interest, and to the east is the cave of Tito Bustillo, one of the wonders of European rock art.
To visit the stalactites and paintings of the site, it is preferable, especially in summer, to go early in the morning. A small museum displays the results of the excavations carried out.
In the old town, among the buildings and monuments that are not to be missed: the pre-Romanesque churches of Santa María de Junco and Esteban de Leces, the 15th century Santa Ana Gothic chapel or the 16th century Renaissance hermitage Nuestra Señora de Guía. Seigniorial houses from the 18th century offer a fine example of the city’s civil architecture.
Every year, on the first Saturday in August, the Ribadesella bridge marks the finish line for the descent of the river Sella in canoeing and kayaking, one of Asturias’ most popular festivals.
Situation: on the shores of the Costa Verde in the north-eastern part of the province, 65 km from Gijón (A-8 or N-632) and 85 km from Oviedo (N-634).
Pola de Lena
Close to Las Ubiñas-La Mesa nature park, the village of Pola de Lena is nestled in a mountainous and rugged landscape at the foot of the Valgrande-Pajares ski resort.
This village is distinguished by its architectural heritage. In addition to its church of Santa Cristina de Lena, a pre-Romanesque ninth-century temple inscribed on the World Heritage List, the palace of the Marquis de Santa María del Carrizo and the mansion of Vital Aza are worth a visit. Just like the hiking trails through the region.
Situation: Pola de Lena is located 35 km south of Oviedo (A-66).
Arriondas is a village surrounded by the mountains of the northeast of the Principality and is a paradise for hikers and sports tourists.
Located in the valley formed by the confluence of the Sella and Piñola Ríos, the village presides over a beautiful natural heritage made up of lively streams and parades among which prehistoric sites such as the cave of Taragaño. <
On the programme of this green holiday: hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, trout or salmon fishing…
Going north by the AS-260 road, about ten kilometers from Arriondas, the mirador del Fitu offered a unique panorama of the Cantabrian Sea and the Picos de Europa Park.
Situation: 70 km east of Oviedo via A-64 and N-634.