Just a short journey out of the cities reveals a different side to Asturian life: pretty villages that lead down to sandy shores. These villages are the perfect place for a stroll and a meal – you can guarantee the local seafood will have been caught and cooked that same day. Here are just a few stops that show another side to the dynamic region.
With a reputation as a shows topper in the province, Cudillero’s focal point is its scattering of pastel-painted houses adorning the coastline. Sheer cliffs are a beautiful backdrop to the fine-sand beaches which feel wonderfully secluded. Playa de la Concha de Artedo has turquoise waters and green-topped cliffs, making for an arresting panorama, while Playa del Silencio is equally pretty. In town, El Faro is a traditional restaurant famed for its grilled fish dishes, which are perfect for a light lunch.
The town of Ribadesella is neatly cut in two by the mouth of the Sella River, its two distinct districts joined by a bridge. The Playa de Santa Marina is a very popular beach on the west side of the river, with a broad sweep of golden sand and modem amenities. Across the bridge to the east lies the Old Town. Here, you’ll find Romanesque churches, pretty squares and elaborate 19th- and 20th-century mansions painted in a rainbow hue of pastels. Just a 10-minute stroll from the Old Town lies Riba desella’s most famous draw: the Unescolisted Cueva deTito Bustillo. This cave’s interior is lined with prehistoric depictions of horses, bison and reindeer that date back to 15,000 BC.
This seaside town has a seductive pull because of its proximity to the mountain range Picos de Europa. It’s also home to some of the best beaches in Asturias. At the port, which is important for both deep-sea and in-shore fishing, you will find The Cubes of Memory: reinforced blocks designed as sea defences but turned into a vibrant work of art by Basque artist Agustin Ibarrola. Outstanding 13 th- century architecture such as the Basilica de Santa Mana de Conceyu is monument to the historical importance of this stopping point on the Way of St James pilgrimage, and there are myriad beaches within easy reach, too, such as the popular El Sablon and Puerto Chico.