Río Sella: A famous descent in “piragua” down this Asturian river

When I studied abroad 10 years ago, I backpacked Europe. I did the cheap hostel slumber party with strangers, bread and cheese and 1€ bottle of wine dinners. I saw all the cathedrals, did all the walking tours and saw all the sights.

My travel priorities have changed. Sometimes we are thrifty but never when it comes to the age old question of “where are we going to sleep tonight?” The great news is, as I get older, I’m more drawn to rural tourism which ends up being more economical than tickets to see the top monuments. So therefore I have more dinero for a decent night’s sleep.


RURAL & OUTDOOR TOURISM!… Is great because Spanish geography is superb. There is so much adventuring to be had. This is now my travel motto. Get outside. The earth is changing at an unnaturally rapid pace so I’m trying to trek around all the hills, smell all the flowers and see all the snow falls.

Asturias is paradise for outdoor activity. Caves, mountains, waters.. Last year we rolled through the coastal town of Ribadesella without a plan, but fate gave us the perfect activity. Our arrival coincided with the International Descent of the Sella River in “piragua,” a mix between canoe and kayak. The pros compete one day (the first Saturday of August) and the rest of the days the river is packed FULL of visitors getting their row on.


Depending on the company that you hire for material rental, the total journey is 15-18km of easy rowing. If the water level is low (like it was for us) your arms will be floating above your head by the end.

The descent is extremely fun, I can’t emphasize this enough. It’s not sporty at all, you know like no competitiveness or anything. Around every corner there’s a “chiringuito” or a beach side bar selling cold beer.

LIFE HACK: If you go tandem, make sure your partner will support your during the hard times. I gave up rowing on account of the beers and the fact that we chose the longest route option. We are still married to this day but, he definitely got the big towel when we made it out of the water and to the van.


Want more? How about some coastal hiking or mountain climbing Asturias?


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