Curiosities of Asturias
A village where you can only access through a natural cave, the world's smallest beach, movie sets and ghost towns. Asturias hides extraordinary natural curiosities sheltered among an ecosystem of breathtaking beauty.
Cuevas del Agua and spectacular entry access
Near Ribadesella we find a curious village. Certainly, Cuevas del Agua ( Water Caves) is only accessible through a natural cave (The Cuevona) about 300 meters deep. The route, that can be done on foot or by car, is truly impressive, with its illuminated walls that show a work of natural art. Lichens, mosses, fungi and ferns are growing inside. And some bats, frogs and blind salamander are its occasional inhabitants.
The Beach Gulpiyuri
Near Naves we find another of those extraordinary curiosities. Gulpiyuri Beach is a gem of nature, declared National Monument. Gulpiyuri is said to be one of the smaller beaches in the world. It is a tiny beach with sea water but nestled inside the land, about 100 meters from the coast and between cliffs. It barely covers your waist when the tide is high and it almost disappears at low tide.
The Orphanage´s locations
Few miles from Naves, there is Llanes. There we find the main locations of the film The Orphanage, Juan Antonio Bayona. Here is the Palace of Partarríu, an abandoned Indian style mansion, whose exterior was used to recreate the mysterious house of its protagonists. But not its interior, which was shot on set.
Very near from this, there is Andrin Beach, which was also used as natural scenery in some scenes of the film.
Os Teixois. A ghost town
Near from Taramundi, we find the little village Os Teixois. An almost isolated village which was deserted some time ago, and that now has become an ethnographic tourism centre. At Os Teixois we discover all sorts of gadgets moved by the force of water, a lovely riverside bar to drink Asturian cider and a peaceful rural environment.
All this in a peaceful and beautiful natural landscape of Asturias to get lost and discover its history.
Why not take a trip to Asturias? Have a look at our flights here!
A Thousand and One Asturias
The allure of Asturias ranges from high mountains to beaches on the best preserved coastline in all Spain, and cutting-edge artwork alongside traditional craft and Palaeolithic art listed as World Heritage. All crammed into a territory accounting for just 2% of Spain’s land area. But, we have to give you some specific pointers, so here goes…
For those planning for family holidays, make sure you head for the Dinosaur Coast, especially now that they are in limelight on the silver screen. In Asturias you can see and touch actual footprints of fossilised dinosaurs in the rock at La Griega beach, under the Tereñes cliffs, on a really incredible stretch of Asturian coastline by any account. To crown your dinosaur tour, you should visit the Jurassic Museum of Asturias, a building sited in a privileged spot featuring exhibits as meticulously presented as they are playful. The museum offers a host of activities and children’s workshops.
For couples looking to get away from it all, Asturias boasts places where time stands still, including Taramundi and Oscos-Eo, where traditional craftworkers are still highly active and you can even try your hand at some trade. Care to be a ferreiro (blacksmith) for a day? Here you will find villages that take you back to bygone eras, such as Os Teixois and Mazonovo, which boast hydraulic devices that convert water power into energy using a system of mills, forges and fulling mills. Moreover, you can’t fail to switch off in any of our six UNESCO-listed Biosphere Reserves, or on the tranquil beaches, with small, secluded coves far removed from overcrowding.
For die-hard urbanites seeking to articulate a city of 800,000 inhabitants through various towns, each with its own culture and outlook on life, situated less than a 20-minute drive from one another, you have cosmopolitan Gijón, monumental Oviedo, dynamic Avilés, mining Langreo and Mieres. This is the centre of Asturias which features a string of varied urban proposals set in a nature paradise, within minutes of listed biosphere reserves.
For the more adventurous, whether in groups, couples or families, Asturias offers a thousand and one options for active tourism, from canyoning down its rivers to paragliding, mountain biking, trekking, surfing, sailing, caving and gold-panning. All accompanied by the top professional guides to guarantee you get the most out of your experience.
For those hankering after authenticity, in summer Asturias bursts into hundreds of fiestas in praise of nature, local heritage and the joy of living of a people who on these occasions open up and become more gregarious than ever, inviting one to participate in ebullient festivities. Some festivals are devoted to local produce, such as the Natural Cider Festival in Navas; other events, to sport and nature, such as the International Descent of the River Sella, or the patron saint celebrations in the towns – San Agustín, in Avilés, Begoña in Gijón and San Mateo in Oviedo.
For treasure-hunters, Asturias boasts a peerless heritage, including Europe’s most homogeneous early-medieval architectural complex, embodied in its pre-Romanesque art, and cave paintings from the Upper Palaeolithic, both UNESCO-listed as World Heritage. But, treasure-hunters in the strict sense of the word should head to Navelgas (Tineo), where they can pan for (and find) gold nuggets in the river. In early August, the World Gold Panning Championship is due to be held here, attracting gold panners from all over the world.
For those looking for good food, Asturias is a veritable banquet, both in terms of quality and quantity. What’s more, you can delve into the secrets behind our local produce, such as the cheese maturation caves in the Picos de Europa, while admiring the incredibly sheer slopes dotted with vineyards that yield Cangas wine, and follow our cider-making process in traditional cider presses. In Asturias, you can enjoy our gastronomy with all five senses.
In addition, accommodation is in plentiful supply here, from hotels to rural tourism homes, campsites and apartments, while summer is not overbearing, with mild temperatures to ensure a salutary rest in the company of the inherently hospitable Asturian people. What more could you ask for?
How to go about discovering this all? Visit the turismoasturias website where all the resources Asturias has to offer are one click away. And, to get there, what better than a direct flight? Check out our flights here.
Asturias in 10 Viewpoints
What better way to soak up the delights of the nature paradise that is Asturias than from its vantage points? Following is our selection of the ten best strategic points in the region affording the loveliest angles of that beautiful countryside. Take note!
1. La Regalina (Valdés)
Chosen by the Guía Repsol as “El Mejor Rincón de 2013” (The Best Spot of 2013), the hermitage of La Regalina in Cadavedo (Valdés) consists of the hermitage proper and two hórreos (a traditional granary raised on pillars). Here you can enjoy exceptional views of Ribeirona beach and the rest of the seaboard (designated a “Protected West Coast Landscape”) which you can photograph and share on social networks.
2. Cabo Vidio (Cudillero)
Located between Cudillero and Luarca, two picturesque fishing villages, lies Cape Vidio. This vantage points affords fabulous panoramic views of cliff faces, beaches and the sea, all of which come under the Protected West Coast Landscape designation. But, there’s more – at low tide you can see the Cueva de la Iglesiona, a sea cave carved out by the Cantabrian waves at the base of the cliff. It can be visited, as long as you do so in the company of a guide.
3. Mirador del Espíritu Santo (Muros del Nalón)
This lookout is part of the “ruta de los miradores” (route of the viewpoints), a 6-kilometre-long coastal path running from the former mining port of San Esteban de Pravia to Aguilar beach blessed with some spectacular panoramas. The viewpoint is reached after having passed San Esteban de Pravia and the access to the seawater pool on the banks of the river Nalón. One of its highlights is the view of the mouth of the Nalón, framed between the Playa de los Quebrantos and the Playón de Bayas.
4. Cape Peñas (Gozón)
Cape Peñas, located in Gozón (Protected Cape Peñas Landscape), in the northernmost area of Asturias, is one of the most popular spots in the region. Apart from hiking across the headland to soak up the excellent views of the cliffs, visitors can also drop in on the Centro de Recepción de Visitantes e Interpretación del Medio Marino de Peñas (Peñas Marine Environment Interpretation and Visitor Reception Centre), housed in the Peñas lighthouse.
5. Mirador de San Roque (Colunga)
The San Roque viewpoint is located In the vicinity of Lastres, the village where the popular Spanish television comedy drama, “Doctor Mateo”, was filmed. The vantage point affords magnificent panoramic vistas of a combination of sea and mountains, including the beaches of the so-called “Costa de los Dinosaurios” (Dinosaur Coast) – on account of the presence of fossilised dinosaur imprints – with the Sierra del Sueve and the Picos de Europa in the background. What more could you want?
6. Mirador del Fitu
Are you seeking a panoramic view combining both the Cantabrian Sea and the Picos de Europa? Then you should head for the Cruz de Llames pass, between Colunga and Arriondas, site of the Fitu observation platform with its characteristic concrete balcony. The views from here attest to the contrasting beauty of the Asturian landscape. And, while you’re at it, take a stroll towards Picu Pienzu where you can continue to enjoy the panoramic views.
7. Picos de Europa Viewpoints
The following viewpoints are sited in the Picos de Europa National Park. From there, you can observe the iconic Picu Urriellu, also known as Naranjo de Bulnes, in all its splendour, including the various nuances of colour it takes on at sunset. The viewpoints are Pozo de la Oración, in Poo de Cabrales; Pedro Udaondo, in Asiego, and Camarmeña, also in the municipality of Cabrales.
Other viewpoints worth seeking out in the Park are the ones near the Lagos de Covadonga, notably La Reina, Entrelagos and Ordiales. Any of these affords a sublime picture postcard view of the Picos de Europa.
8. Mirador de Torimbia (Llanes)
This viewpoint is on the so-called “Llanes de cine” route, which connects the various locations where films and television series have been shot. This lookout has an interesting touch – a director’s chair from which to contemplate the spectacular vistas. Located near Niembro, between the beaches of Torimbia and Toranda, a short walk from the lookout will lead you down to the Llanes beaches of San Antolín and Gulpiyuri.
9. Mirador del Picu (Ribadedeva)
Located on the eastern edge of Asturias is the Mirador del Picu, in Pimiango, with striking views of both the beautiful “Protected East Coast Landscape” and the Sierra del Cuera and Picos de Europa – Picu Uriellu is visible on a clear day from here. While you’re there, take the opportunity to visit El Pindal Cave, a World Heritage Site on account of its cave paintings, and then head for the hermitage of San Emeterio.
10. Urban Viewpoints
One way of viewing the cities of Asturias is from their vantage points. In Oviedo, be sure to head for the Mirador de Naranco, from where you can also visit two pre-Romanesque Asturian gems, Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo, both World Heritage Sites. The best panoramic view of Avilés is from the Mirador de la Luz, where the city and estuary are the star sights. And, should you happen to be in Gijón, don’t miss out on the Cape San Lorenzo viewpoint, with a concrete silhouette resembling a ship’s keel from where you can see the town of Jovellanos and its beaches.
Text by Turismo Asturiasmore info
30 Years of Rural Tourism in Asturias
Of course, thirty years is nothing, but that’s the time that has passed since 1986, when Asturias set up what was the first rural tourism establishment in Spain. Everything has changed since then, and for the better. The village of Taramundi, where the original La Rectoral was inaugurated, has now become an international paragon. Travellers have come from far and wide to discover it and enjoy the peace and quiet it offers, as well as to meet its people and learn its traditions. Rural tourism, which has subsequently spread across the whole of Asturias, is a leisure style with millions of adepts, some of whom have found in Asturias their coveted paradise.
La Rectoral – 30 Years of Rural Encounters in a Natural Paradise
Three decades ago, when few would have thought that tourism might become one of the region’s major economic engines, the government of the Principality of Asturias bravely decided to spearhead a project intended to transform a small spot in the Principality – Taramundi. Balancing enjoyment of and respect for the environment was the watchword of this initiative which culminated in the opening of the Hotel La Rectoral on 17 June 1986.
A Trend that Spread Like Wildfire Across the Whole of Asturias
After the inauguration of La Rectoral, new projects sprang up all over Asturias – notably in the east, west and centre of the region – in the form of small hotels, village houses and rural apartments. A whole panoply of rural accommodations which breathed new life into villages and hamlets and engendered a new concept of leisure based on authenticity and contact with nature, traditional customs and the ancestral world.
A Superb Backdrop for Rural Tourism
Preservation of the environment, which for 30 years has made us worthy of the epithet, “Asturias, a Natural Paradise”, is the perfect enticement for a sojourn in its rural areas. Asturias boasts over a third of its territory under some form of official protection, whether as a park, reserve or natural monument. Following are some of its standout areas:
In the Picos de Europa, visitors can hike through the gorges that divide this great limestone mass, delve into the activity of livestock grazing – which is still carried out within the park boundaries – or discover karst formations and glacial remains, as in the Covadonga lakes.
Another option is to visit the Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña e Ibias nature reserve, a territory with a marked variety of nuances which acts as a sanctuary for the Cantabrian brown bear and features the largest oak forest in Europe – the Muniellos Forests.
Something similar is in store for the traveller in Somiedo, as here, too, you can follow the tracks of the brown bear and because scattered across the whole territory you will come across pastureland punctuated by the presence of cabanas de teito,stone constructions with thatched roofs once used by vaqueiros or highland cowherds as a refuge in the summer months, the sight of which takes the onlooker back in time.
Beech forests are the prevalent type of vegetation in the Redes woodlands, while the spectacular summits of the Retriñón, Peña del Viento, Canto del Oso and Pico Torres are a treat for those seeking contact with nature.
Much of the reserve known as Oscos-Eo is also forested. However, what sets it apart is its status as one of Spain’s most active craft tradition areas. More than just the cradle of rural tourism, Taramundi is home to one of the most interesting ethnographic complexes on the Peninsula.
The latest addition to this array of idyllic settings is the Las Ubiñas-La Mesa Nature Park. With an area of 451 km2, it is the site of the second largest limestone mountain system in the Cordillera Cantábrica – namely the Peña Ubiña Massif – and it also features various cultural vestiges which range in time from the Bronze Age to a present-day theme park – the Prehistoric Park.
Dreaming in Asturias
Dreaming in Asturias is a cinch, whether you are asleep or awake. With a stellar track record in the business, our accommodations are of the highest standard and beyond guaranteed. We cater to all kinds of visitors in terms of taste, objectives and options. From available feedback, it would seem that lodging in Asturias is always a gratifying experience.
As an example of rural excellence, some 50 rural hotels are managed under the quality seal known as “Casonas Asturianas”, while 56 Casas de Aldea y Apartamentos Rurales (village houses and rural apartments) come under the auspices of the “Asturias Calidad Rural” association.
Both the Casonas Asturianas hotels and the houses and apartments making up the Casas de Aldea y Apartamentos Rurales de Aldeas attest to the excellence shared by thousands of people who on countless occasions are able to recall and adopt as their own the motto that dreaming in Asturias is really easy and within anybody’s reach.
Alone, with your Partner or as a Family
All kinds of experiences can be had in Asturias, each one better than the last. You can savour urban or rural settings and bask in either mountain or seaside idylls, all at your own pace. And, you can do so any way you wish – alone, with your partner or with children and the whole family. The options are endless, determined by your interests and tastes.
And, very importantly, it is very easy to get from the villages to the city and vice versa. Everything is near and well connected.
Clearly, Asturias is a paradise any time of the year. It offers a host of leisure opportunities in terms of nature, culture, gastronomy, etc. All you need to do is come. Check out our flights here.
Text and images by Turismo de Asturias