Green Coast Costa Verde
The stretch of coast between Ribadeo in the west and San Vicente de la Barquera in the east, known as the Costa Verde, offers some of the finest coastal scenery in northern Spain. Here a strip of land only a few kilometers wide extends between the sea on the one hand and the green slopes of the high Cantabrian Mountains (Cordillera Cantábrica) on the other. The inhabitants of the coastal strip live by fishing, stock-farming and the growing of cereals. For tourists the Costa Verde is one of the most varied regions in Spain: the picturesque little coves and sandy beaches which occur at intervals along the generally rocky coast offer attractive bathing, while there is endless scope for walkers in the hills, with the chance of encountering some of the shy mountain fauna.
Green Coast Map
Cabo de Peñas
Cabo de Peñas, northwest of Gijón, divides the Costa Verde into an eastern and a western half.It is the northern most cape in Asturias and is home to an old octagonal lighthouse attached to the lighthouse keeper's house.
6km/4mi west of Gijón on N 632 a side road branches off on the right and runs north to the fishing village of Candás. In the church is a famous image of Christ from Ireland which is much venerated by seamen.
Beyond Candás is Luanco, which has a small Museum of the Sea (Museo del Mar).
The road continues from Luanco to Bañagues, and soon after this, at a junction, the road to the right leads to Cabo de Peñas, from which there are extensive views.
Along the Coast to the West
From Avilés the coast road runs west, passing Salinas, a seaside resort with one of the broadest beaches in Asturias.
9km/6mi farther on from Cudillero is Soto de Luiña, just beyond which a side road goes off on the right to Cabo Vidio, from which there are splendid views of the sea and Cabo de Peñas.
At Canero N 632 runs into N 634 (E 50). Luarca, which lies on both banks of the Río Negro, here spanned by several bridges, is a charming little town - though the effect is spoiled by the heavy goods traffic on this narrow European highway. The town center with its 18th and 19th century houses is separated from the sea by a spur of hill. A road descends along the Río Negro to the district bordering the large fishing harbor. A long breakwater extends round the harbor to its entrance, from which there is the best view of the houses and of the boats in the harbor. Above the town, on a rocky spur once occupied by an old fortress, are a church and cemetery.
Navia, 20km/12.5mi west of Luarca at the mouth of the Río Navia, is another charming little fishing town.
From Navia a detour (4km/2.5mi southwest) can be made to Coaña, where there is an excellently preserved Celtic village, with the remains of circular huts, fortifications and cisterns.
Along the Coast to the East
From Gijón N 632 runs east, following a hilly and winding route which takes it over the Alto del Infanzón and then down to Villaviciosa, an old-world little port and fishing town on the Ría de Villaviciosa which is also a center of cider manufacture. In September 1517 the town was honored by an unexpected visit from the Emperor Charles V (Charles I of Spain), who was paying his first visit to Spain, when his ship put in here by mistake instead of Santander.
Mirador del Fito
The coast road crosses the Alto de Buenos Aires and descends to the village of Colunga, situated on rising ground. The sea now comes into sight; and soon after the resort of La Isla, situated in a beautiful bay, a side road branches off on the right to the Mirador del Fito (12km/7.5mi), from which there is a magnificent view of the Picos de Europa.
N 632 continues from Mirador del Fito to Ribadesella, an attractive fishing town and seaside resort at the mouth of the Río Sella (good fishing). The river, which is spanned by a wide bridge, divides the town into two parts: to the left the newer part of the town, with hotels, holiday villas and a very beautiful beach (unspoiled by tower blocks), to the right the harbor and the old town (17th and 18th century) with the little Plaza Vieja and friendly sidrerías (cider bars), in which the drinks are poured in traditional fashion from high above the glass. Every year at the beginning of August there is a very popular canoe race on the river.
Cuevas de Tito Bustillo
A few hundred meters from Ribadesella (cross the bridge to the new town and at once turn left) are the Cuevas de Tito Bustillo, a much ramified cave system with animal paintings between 15,000 and 20,000 years old. The caves were discovered in 1968 by a team of speleologists and are named after a member of the group who died young. The conducted tour (in Spanish) takes visitors through a series of huge chambers with bizarre stalactitic formations to the cave containing the paintings and engravings, with figures of horses and stags painted in color and outlined in black.
Cuevas del Mar
9km/6mi beyond Ribadesella N 632 joins N 634 (E 50), and shortly after the junction a road goes off on the left to the Cuevas del Mar, sea caves which are under water at high tide.There is a nice beach here with restaurants, accommodation and all the regular tourist facilities.
San Antolín de Bedón
A few kilometers farther on from Cuevas del Mar, to the left of the road, are the remains of the 11th century Benedictine abbey of San Antolín de Bedón.
Llanes, which lies a little way off the main road, is a charming little town, in the center of which is a harbor linked with the sea by a canal.The newer part of the town, to the northwest, is also attractive.
Plaza del Cristo Rey
North of the harbor in an attractive square, the Plaza del Cristo Rey, stands the 13th century church of Santa María. The church has a fine doorway under a porch with interlaced arcading and contains a 16th century Flemish altarpiece. Behind it are remains of the old town walls, beyond which is a beautiful little beach.
La Franca - Megalithic Tombs
The road continues from Llanes, with no view of the sea, through wooded hilly country, in which several megalithic tombs (dolmens) have been found, to La Franca.
Cueva del Pindal
Soon after La Franca a road goes off on the left to the Cueva del Pindal, a sea-cave containing scratched drawings and paintings, including an unusual figure of a mammoth, showing the heart, and several drawings which appear to represent wounded animals.
Colombres - Archivo de Indianos
Beyond the Cueva del Pindal is Colombres, where the most recent attraction for visitors is the Archivo de Indianos.Archivo de Indianos was the principal contribution made by Asturias to the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America which was celebrated in 1992. Housed in a handsome blue-painted villa, it documents the emigration of Spaniards to America and their relations with the native Indians. It thus supplements the Museo de América in Madrid, which is concerned with research on the native peoples of America, and the Archivo de Indias in Seville, which is devoted to colonial history. A number of rooms on the first floor are used for special exhibitions on a variety of subjects.