Nestled between the mountains of Cantabria and the Bay of Biscay, Asturias, Spain is one of my favorite parts of the country. I have been there twice already, and enjoy it every time. What I love about it is the peaceful atmosphere, and the feeling I have of being let in to a secret place.
Indeed, despite the many places to visit in Asturias, the region doesn’t get much international tourism. I suppose in a way this is what makes it what it is: charming, full of character, and with a great, unspoiled local feel.
When I visited for the first time, in June 2016 as I walked parts of the Camino del Norte to Santiago de Compostela, I discovered the many gorgeous beaches – they are among the reasons people visit Asturias, Spain and so different from the beaches in Sardinia I am used to. Yet, I found them beautiful and soothing.
Read more about my Camino del Norte on my post “Amazing Places To Visit In Spain Along The Camino Del Norte.”
I had the opportunity to visit Asturias, Spain, again last October, and had the chance to explore more of its beautiful cities and coastal villages and to learn about the local culture.
Here’s a list of 10 of places that anybody who decides to visit Asturias should not miss.
10 Gorgeous Places To Visit In Asturias, Spain
Colombres and its Indianos Archive
Not many people who visit Asturias, Spain, venture to Colombres – but they should. The tiny Colombres is located in Ribadedeva municipality. The village itself is a pleasant, peaceful place to walk around.
The main point of interest in Colombres is La Quinta de Guadalupe, a palace that used to be the mansion of Iñigo Noriega, a man born in Colombres who emigrated to Mexico in search of fortune, thus becoming an “Indiano.” Those who visit Asturias do know what an Indiano is, but in case, let me clarify this is how those who went to the colonies in search of a better life.
Nowadays, La Quinda de Guadalupe hosts the Fundación de Archivos de Indianos, a large archive of documents (which also include lots of press clippings and photographs) about the people who emigrated to the Americas in the 19th century. It’s a good place to learn more about the history of this part of the country, hence making it one of the most interesting places to visit in Asturias.
The lovely Llanes is traditionally a fishing port, which is still very active. The town is pretty, packed with good bars and restaurants, and some lovely shops. The main point of interest is the romanic-gothic Basilica of the Virgin Mary. This should be enough to make it one of the places to visit in Asturias.
Yet, Llanes receives a lot of (local) tourists, especially in the summer, as it is right by the sea and there are some amazing beaches nearby – these are some of the places that anybody who visit Asturias should not miss. One, Sablon, is right in town and it is famous for Los Cubos de Memoria, designed and painted by Augustin Ibarrola to break the water and protect the harbor and eventually become a lovely permanent art installation.
The best place to get a view of Llanes, Sablon beach and the gorgeous Bay of Biscay is a promontory that can be easily accessed from the beach and from where it is possible to reach Paseo de San Pedro. This path goes all the way to the nearby beaches, it is wonderful to walk, bike or even go on a horseride and it is a favorite of locals, especially at weekends. Easy to see why those who go to Asturias, Spain shouldn’t skip Llanes.
Who said that the best beaches in Spain are all in the south of the country? I am actually positive that the most scenic coastline of the country is in the north: Asturia beaches are simply gorgeous.
Aside from Llanes, those who visit Asturias and are looking for a beautiful beach should not skip Ribadesella. This pretty small town takes the name from the river Sella, which has its delta right there.
At easy reach from the waterfront, there is a lovely viewpoint that offers views of Playa de Santa Marina. From there, it is quite easy to understand why Ribadesella is one of the nicest places to visit in Asturias.
Llagar de sidra “Sidra Crespo” (Colunga)
While most of Spain is famous for its wine (see for example the wonderful, crisp Txakoli of the Basque Country), and wine tourism is sprouting more and more, those who visit Asturias should not miss on the fabulous cider.
Find out more about the Basque Country on my post “Seven Great Reasons To Visit The Basque Country.”
Forget about the sweetened, carbonated drink that most people are accustomed to and that one can get off the shelf in any shop. Cider in Asturias, Spain, means serious business, and the traditional cidery Sidra Crespo takes it to a higher level: it only uses local apples and water to make its fabulous cider. The tour of the cidery is so interesting that it easily qualifies as one of the places to visit in Asturias.
Bottled cider is served in a rather spectacular and artsy way, by which whoever pours it, holds the bottle high up and the glass as low as possible, in order to fully oxygenate the drink which then becomes slightly bubbly and has to be drunk in pretty much one sip. It is a fun thing to observe, and a great drink to have and nobody who goes to Asturias, Spain should miss on it!
San Roque viewpoint (Lastres)
I love sunsets, and I love photographing sunsets. One of the unmissable places to visit in Asturias to enjoy a splendid sunset is Lastres, from whose viewpoint of San Roque the sights embrace both the ocean and the mountains in the distance. I ventured across the village to get to a good lookout and from there took a few good shots.
Not nearly as touristy as the rest of the region, Gijón is a good place to visit in Asturias for a few hours. The city is a nice mixture of modern architecture and old sights. It is right by the sea, and there is a lovely beach to walk (or swim, in the warmest months) called San Lorenzo. This may not be the best among Asturias beaches, but it is a nice place to walk around. Parque del Cerro de Santa Catalina offers splendid views of the ocean and the bold sculpture “Elogio del Horizonte.”
The beautiful Oviedo is the capital of Asturias, Spain. It is a city packed with history and culture, with a gorgeous cathedral and beautiful squares galore. I enjoyed its easy going vibe. It was very sunny when I visited, and there was a market, so it was nice to just walk around and see a bit of local life. Even if only for a short while, those who visit Asturias should not skip it – if anything, for the incredible restaurant scene (more about that later).
I went to Cudillero the first time I visited Asturias, Spain, and I was so happy that I could go again. This has to be the most beautiful small coastal town in the region, and those who visit Asturias should simply not miss it.
Cudillero is a lovely fishing village with a small harbor, and plenty of colorful buildings all located on the side of the mountains and overlooking the sea. The village is a medina of narrow alleys and pathways, and given how tiny these are, there are virtually no cars. Perfect for a stroll and to admire the splendid views and quite easily one of the nicest places in Asturias.
Luarca is another coastal town that those who visit Asturias should not miss. Known as the white town, the view of it from the beautiful viewpoint next to the old cemetery and lighthouse, and a walk across town below reveals a pleasant charming, place.
Luarca is built around an S-shaped cove sitting between cliffs. I particularly enjoyed walking along the promenade and the harbor where I could admire the fishing boats. It definitely is one of the nicest places to visit in Asturias.
Cabo Vidio, Oviñana
Cabo Vidio is like the cherry on the cake of a visit to Asturias, Spain; a place that those who visit Asturias should not miss. It is located right outside the city of Oviñana, and overlooks the gorgeous Bay of Biscay. The views from there are simply breathtaking. Various hiking trails start from it – unfortunately I didn’t have time to go on a hike. There’s also lots of goats roaming freely, just to add a bit of rough charm to the already incredible scenery.
How to best enjoy Asturias, Spain
Public transportation works quite well in this part of the world, but I think that the best way to enjoy Asturias, Spain, is on a road trip. I wholeheartedly recommend to rent a car to drive around at a slow pace, stopping in the various places to enjoy the sights, the atmosphere and the lovely people. Here’s a good car rental company.
Where to eat and sleep in Asturias, Spain
Fact: food in Spain is good, and it is easy to find a good restaurant. The accommodation options vary depending on one’s budget. The following is a list of places where I ate and slept myself during my visit to Asturias, Spain, and I enjoyed all of them.
Llagar Sidrería El Cabañón en Naves (Llanes): great restaurant, but definitely not a good option for vegetarian as it mostly serves meat and meat dishes. Meat lovers will definitely enjoy the huge steaks that are grilled in the massive barbecue. It is a bit smokey inside. Cider is the drink to enjoy.
Sidrería La Finca: lovely sidrería and restaurant with an easygoing atmosphere. It serves fish, meat and vegetarian dishes – the fried calamari are delicious. There are “cider pourers” located near each table so that customers can get fresh cider just pressing a button. Quite a cool thing to do for those who visit Asturias.
Hotel Palacio de la Llorea (Gijón): fantastic hotel a bit outside of Gijón. Rooms are large and comfortable, there is a spa for those that need to relax, and a great restaurant on site. Click here for reviews and here for the best rates.
Hotel Blanco (Navia): Navia isn’t generally on the itinerary of those who visit Asturias, but those who go have the option of staying at Hotel Blanco, which boasts enormous rooms, and a fantastic restaurant that serves huge portions of local and international food. Click here for reviews and here for the best rates.
Hotel and Spa Princesa Munia (Oviedo): as Oviedo is one of the nicest places to visit in Asturias, there’s some great accommodation options. Hotel and Spa Princesa Munia has beautiful, cozy rooms and a fantastic spa to relax before going out for dinner. Click here for reviews and here for the best rates.
Apartamentos la Casa del Pintor (Cudillero): the village is tiny, but anyone who goes to Asturias, Spain, is bound to fall in love with it and so there’s some cute places to stay. La Casa del Pintor is a lovely apartment with stunning views. Click here for reviews and here for the best rates.
Villa la Argentina (Luarca): in a seaside town such as Luarca, there’s nothing better than staying by the beach. Asturias beaches are beautiful and Villa Argentina allows access to them. Click here for reviews and here for the best rates.
Legal Disclaimer: This article is written in partnership with Spain Tourism Board and the local tourism board of Asturias, and in cooperation with The Travel Mob as part of the #InGreenSpain campaign. All the views and opinions expressed are my own and based on my personal experience. The views expressed are honest and factual without any bias.