Asturian coast: beaches for all tastes

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“Asturies que guapina yes!”

Most people know that various regions of Spain have co-official languages along with Castellano (Castillian Spanish). But did you know that apart from Catalan, Galician and Basque, numerous other regions have native languages? Valencian (which is spoken in Valencia), Balear (spoken in Balearic Islands) and Aranés (spoken in parts of Cataluña) are similar to or part of the same language family as Catalán. Numerous other dialects exist all over the peninsula (Murcia, Extramadura, León, Cantabria) and a language based on WHISTLES exists in the Canary Islands called “Silbo Gomero.” It was invented to communicate across enormous geographic barriers like deep mountain ravines. Silbo Gomero transforms sounds and spoken language into whistles. We’ve tried. It’s hard AF.

Asturias also has it’s own language. And “Asturies que guapina yes” translates to “Asturias, qué guapa eres” or “Asturias, how beautiful you are!”

There’s no finer pick-up line more applicable to Asturias. It is the greenest most magical kingdom, where mountains meet coast. The outdoor lovers dream vacay spot. Peaks meet cliffs meet beaches. Not to mention the gastronomy.

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Everyone talks about the tapas in Granada. And rightly so. But the true good eats are in the north. Surf and turf paradise. Let me remind you that Spain’s happy cows come from Asturias.

We have been summering in Asturias for the past few years and it’s my Uncle Gary’s fault. He is from California like me. Except he raised his kids in San Diego at the beach (my parents gave me the mountains). One day, Tío Gary reached out to a FB community from a posh surf town in Northern Spain called Salinas. He made friends with a few dudes and now spends June-August surfing the Cantabrian Sea waves every year.

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Tío Gary and Tía Pina in Salinas

This works out really well for us. Asturias is my favorite place. So we go tour the coast for a few days and on our way back to the pueblo we stop in the mountains.

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Mostly we stick around the surf town but there are great villages and beaches just a short drive away. PLUS! Avilés is a 10 min down the road and Oviedo only 25 min (both cities worth visiting) so that’s cool. (We saw an outdoor Opera in Avilés this last summer.)

Here are some beach recommendations should you find yourselves in the PNW errr the Atlantic Northwest of the Iberian Peninsula (I wasn’t blogging on our visit last year so I haven’t got a complete set of photos! Reasons to go back!)

Salinas

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Playa de Salinas

This surf village is chiiiiiiiiiill. The dynamic is unique. Most of its inhabitants are native to Avilés, a city just 10 km south of the coast and really only live there during the summer months. They don’t commute. They have a house in each place. Most people anyways. Not everyone. There’s a posh vibe in most corners of the town and it can feel a little “locals-only” but they do throw a lot of fun parties and events. There’s a huge international surf competition every year plus concerts and food stuffs and you know, summer events. There are hardly any high rise buildings which is nice. And there’s even some great hiking around the nearby hillsides.

The beach stretches out almost 2 kilometers and at the far end there are some cozy sand dunes on which to play or photograph.

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Ribadesella

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This beach town receives a lot of visitors; and it’s no wonder. It’s so damn cute. We happened to roll in during local “fiestas” which meant they prepare makeshift campgrounds for visitors because there aren’t enough hotels. The town party coincides with the famous “Descenso del Sella” or the massive kayak party down the Sella River.

There were outdoor bars around every corner as well as stages with live music and EVERYONE was pouring sidra (cider) for everyone else. Best accident ever. Worst night of sleep ever.

 

Playa de Cobjijeru

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It’s similar in style to its way more popular and heavily touristy sister beach “Gulpiyuri.” Cobijeru is farther east (between Llanes and the Asturia-Cantabria border) and though there were quite a few visitor it wasn’t as hectic as Gulpiyuri. As you stroll up it resembles a pond surrounded by forest more than a cave which leads to the Cantabrian sea (Bay of Biscay).

I say this a lot but, it’s what picnic dreams are made of. And because the water up north isn’t very inviting, beaches which offer great out-of-water relaxation areas are a major plus. Especially a spot that protects you from the Northern winds.

Cobijeru is great because it has easy access to the cliffs separating the cave from the open ocean. You can hike up in a jiffy, great for photo ops.

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The cliffs above Cobijeru
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Asturian happy cows 🙂 grazing atop the cliffs of Cobijeru

 

Playa de Torimbia

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There are many other beaches along the coast that are similar to Torimbia (Playa de Silencio for example) in that: these beaches a couple decades ago were not as heavily trafficked as they are nowadays. Therefore, the mountainous coastal towns aren’t prepared (as far as roadways) to accommodate so many humans and their cars. Be patient up and down these curvy roads. And be sure you know how to parallel park. Get there as early as possible and be warned that some of them may charge for daily parking. Bring everything with you if you don’t want to hike back up the hill to get to your car. And if possible, carry as little as possible to do some rock hoping over to the sandy beach area, out of sight, and away from the masses.

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Playa de Torimbia…
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…But we rock hopped on over to get away from the masses

The surrounding hillside is also worth exploring.

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Surrounding hillside

Lush grass plateau gives you great bird’s eye views of the coastline with the mountains peeking up to say hello. And need I say it? Picnic worthy.

Playa de Cué

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Playa de Cué

Jorge claimed this as his fave beach ever. It was also our last stop before abandoning Asturias for the year but it’s hard to deny how unique this place is. Stunning green landscapes (mountains and meadows) keep this beach pretty well hidden until you hike down and are left in awe of it’s beauty.

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There’s a trick though. You must get there in the morning. By 2 pm there’s very little beach left because high tide rolls in.

And lucky for you, you can have your cake and eat it too. They have the cutest grassy overlook where beach goers move to at high tide. There’s a little bar/restaurant (not pictured). And I mean, wouldn’t you wanna picnic here?

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More outdoor tourism in Asturias:

Coastal hiking in Asturias: Camino de San Esteban de Pravia

Mountain climbing in los Picos de Europa: Torre de los Horcados Rojos peak

Kayaking the Río Sella

 


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