Since moving to Mallorca, we’ve focussed our adventures around discovering more of Spain. And one of the areas we knew least was Asturias, a lovely sounding place we’d been hearing a lot about that is located on the north coast of the Spanish peninsula. So, to celebrate Casey’s 30th birthday, we decided to spend a week in May discovering Asturias by car.
The idea came to us after winning the photography contest #ParaísoFITUR. I have to thank Goldcar and FITUR for the fantastic prize, which allowed us to see this beautiful land at our own pace, in a great car, taking maximum advantage of our days exploring its picturesque little villages and beautiful natural landscapes.
If you like road trips, Asturias has it all. Its tranquil and beautiful coast, spectacular scenery, cultural richness, and exquisite local gastronomy make Asturias a perfect destination for exploring by car.
We started our road trip through Asturias visiting Luarca . Located a little more than 50 kilometers from Asturias airport. This beautiful town is known as “the white village of the green coast ” and is a must stop for its dreamlike landscapes and its precious Port of colourful fishing boats, not forgetting the Hermitage of Regalina, the chapel of La Atalaya and its lighthouse.
Something that was a pleasant surprise to us in Asturias was the quality of its roads. They are smooth, spacious and easy to navigate, sprinkled with rewarding but almost frighteningly high sections that stretch over the areas deep valleys, allowing for world class views of an expansive forest canopy, farm houses and coast.
Arriving in Luarca, it did not take us half a minute to find parking to enjoy the spectacular views from its well-known cemetery, where the remains of the Nobel Prize-winner of Medicine Severo Ochoa are located. From there we went down to the port, through its seafaring quarters, and parked in La Llera, an esplanade located in the middle of the luarqués pier with free parking. Although we do not know what it will be like during high season, the ease of access to these facilities easily added to our enjoyment of our visit to this beautiful fishing village. Everything was convenient, and either inexpensive or free.
After spending the morning strolling through its enchanting alleyways we took our first (of what would be many) menu of the day, menú del día in Spanish. We didn’t know it at the time, but these wonderful menus quickly become our favourite entertainment in Asturias.
For us, Luarca was our first stop and we still had many kilometers to go, but if you decide to spend the night here you will find a great range of hostels and hotels, many catering to the masses moving through it along the famous Camino de Santiago.
We decided to spend our first night in Asturias in the picturesque fishing village of Cudillero, recognized as the “Exemplary Town in Asturias”. Before we arrived, we stopped at the beautiful Silence Beach (Playa del Silencio), 16 kilometers west of Cudillero. This paradisiacal beach with crystalline waters and high cliffs, located within the Protected Landscape of the Western Coast, is a spectacular and almost virgin landscape that the tourist crowds haven’t seemed to reach yet.
In fact, when we were there, we shared the whole beach with only two other people. Coming from Mallorca, where enjoying a beach to yourself is unthinkable, it was a real treat to spend the afternoon in such a beautiful place surrounded by so much tranquility.
In Cudillero we enjoyed more of the regions gastronomy while taking in beautiful views of its characteristic amphitheater of colorful houses overlooking the sea. Our evening was spent tasting some typical local dishes at the Casa Julio Bar where Casey was finally able to taste for the first time the famous Asturian sidra, an inexpensive uncarbonated apple cider with old customs around pouring and consuming.
Since the hotels near the port were somewhat more expensive we decided to stay 2 kilometers from the center of the city, in the quiet area of El Pito, in a typical Asturian architecture casita called Casona Selgas where we were treated very well.
On the second day we headed to Gijón, a beautiful coastal town, and the largest of Asturias, embraced by the waters of the Cantabrian. The place has a great charm, but we were attracted because we heard it is one of the best places in the area enjoy delicious Asturian cuisine, which by now was what we were realizing it was all about in this part of the country. And the restaurants in the old and charismatic fishing district of Cimadevilla didn’t disappoint.
Another great attraction of this city for its visitors is that you can get almost anywhere by foot, although there is also an excellent offer of public transport. Without a doubt, one of our favorite activities in Gijón was simply to lose ourselves among its charming cobbled streets full of history.
One day in Gijón seemed too short so we decided to spend a couple of nights in the capital of Green Coast. We stroll along the sea, next to the San Lorenzo beach and the marina, we visit the gardens of the Queen and the hill of Santa Catalina and the impressive sculpture of Eduardo Chillida, Elogio del Horizonte.
If you want to try a delicious octopus with patato soup, or a somehow unforgettable sausage and chorizo, or the cocktails with the best views to the beach of San Lorenzo we recommend (respectively) the Sidrería Casa Rober, the Mesón Sancho and Bar Varsovia.
Although we feltwe had seen a lot, we were only half way through our trip and there were still much to discover. You can follow up on our experience in our next post on our road trip in Asturias.