Where is Asturias? Asturias is located on Spain’s north Atlantic coast, between Galicia and Cantabria. The region is a principality (the current heir to the Spanish throne is known as the “Princess of Asturias”) and it’s capital is Oviedo. The area is unique in that it offers unspoilt mountain countryside and the unexploited coastline runs very close-by. High in the Picos de Europa mountains live brown bears, golden eagles, wolves, deer and wild boar; about a quarter of the region has been declared a Protected Natural Area. This region is popular with walkers of all ages as you will find routes to suit all abilities, whether by the sea, along mountain tracks and through gorges, or around the lakes near historic Covadonga, the birthplace of Spain. There are even several routes that you can take from your front door, each of differing length and altitude!
BEACHES and COUNTRYSIDE
The nearest river beach is a couple of minutes walk away and the nearest coastal beach is only a 20-minute drive away. This coast (known as the Costa Verde as it is so very green and lush ) offers a variety of different types of beach, whether you prefer surfing, exploring in caves and rock-pools or finding dinosaur footprints. Beaches here are clean, peaceful and unspoilt.
This is cider country so the landscape is covered in orchards. These are particularly beautiful both in the spring, when apple-blossom is out everywhere and in the autumn as the fruit ripen towards harvest time. Visitors at this time of year will never be short of a home-grown apple or two to add to their picnics.
Walking and hiking, canoeing, quad-biking, paint-balling, caving, surfing, mountain-biking, fishing (salmon and trout are locally available), horse-riding, bird-watching (kites, falcons , vultures and many other birds can be spotted locally). Not forgetting sun-bathing, sand-castle building, and shopping of course.
You can explore either by car or train (there is a station in the village). Neighbouring Cangas de Onis is a popular destination for visitors, with its weekly Farmers’ Market, an outdoor pool and many cafes, shops and restaurants. It also has a beautiful Romanesque bridge that spans the Rio Sella. Close as well is Ribadasella, a pretty seaside town which also hosts a weekly Farmers’ Market, and has its own beaches, with a lovely promenade walk. It is also home of the Tito de Bustillo Museum (reserve entrance in advance), where you can see 20,000-year-old cave paintings.
Not far off is historic Covadonga and its lakes (great for hiking). Or visit the Dinosaur Museum in Colunga (this whole area is also called the Jurassic Coast with many beaches boasting dinosaur footprints and fossils) and the Cider Museum in Nava (learn about its history, significance and production, and even taste a little as well!). Try the cable-car ride at Fuente De or the Funicular Railway at Bulnes.
Slightly further afield is Gijon (45 mins’ drive), a coastal city which is a popular place to visit with beaches, shops, museums as well as a great children’s park and the Cantabrian Botanic Gardens. Oviedo, the regional capital (also 45 mins’ drive), offers a cathedral, parks, shopping, entertainments and all of the facilities of a large city. And consider cosmopolitan Santander and Bilbao with the modern Guggenheim Museum.