Postcard destinations in Asturias
Landscapes to fall in love with
The landscapes in Asturias are like no other. Travelling to the north and entering the area of Green Spain means coming face to face with impressive mountains, lakes that seem like something out of a legend, cliffs, cave paintings, fishing villages next to the Cantabrian Sea, etc. The best way to enjoy Asturias is to drive around by car, peacefully travelling to each corner. Anyone who travels to Asturias falls in love with its places, its people and with the feeling of having had a completely unique trip.
Lakes and Our Lady of Covadonga, a must-see
If there is one iconic spot in Picos de Europa National Park, it's the Lakes of Covadonga. These lakes are hidden among high summits at over 1,000 metres of altitude. They are surrounded by green meadows for lying down, the cows graze peacefully, and their water is like a mirror for making a wish. The trip can be rounded off by going to the nearby Covadonga shrine and its Holy Cave in the mountainside, where the image of Our Lady of Covadonga is housed.
Cudillero, a natural amphitheatre
Upon arriving in this village, dozens of colourful houses on the hillside seem to be falling into the port like a waterfall. This is Cudillero, one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. This coastal atmosphere is evident with the images of fish drying on the doors of houses, the smell of saltpetre, the dishes you can try in the restaurants, etc. In addition to walking around the charming lower part of the village, it is also worth climbing up to the lighthouse or heading to a nearby beach such as El Silencio.
Llanes, coastal town
Make sure to bring your camera here to capture the medieval old town and the dazzling coastal beauty. The Basque artist Agustín Ibarrola’s Cubes of Memory are a particularly interesting place: paintings full of symbols on blocks of concrete that protect the port and change in appearance as the light changes throughout the day. Llanes has dozens of beaches for relaxing on. There are some special ones such as Gulpiyuri where the seawater reaches the beach through a tunnel between the rocks.
Avilés, a contrast between tradition and avant-garde
When walking along the riverbank and looking around the old town of this Asturian village, one of the best-preserved in the north of Spain, it might seem that there is no place for avant-garde art. But this could not be further from the truth. Architect Oscar Niemeyer chose Avilés as the place to build the Niemeyer Cultural Centre: several white constructions in futuristic shapes which play host to exhibitions, concerts, etc.
The art of a former King in Oviedo
If we had a time machine we would go back to 9th century Asturias to meet Ramiro I, the head of small medieval kingdom. Under his rule three of the most beautiful examples of Asturian pre-Romanesque art were made, an art form which is now unique in the world. These are the Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo and Santa Cristina de Lena, located in the beautiful natural environment of Monte Naranco in Oviedo. A place to escape the noise, just as King Ramiro I did in his day.
Caves with paintings from the Upper Paleolithic period
Although the Upper Paleolithic period dates back to between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago, several caves in Asturias preserve some of the most important collections of art from this period in Europe. And some of these caves can actually be visited, such as Tito Bustillo, La Peña and Candamo. Visitors are often astonished by the paintings of animals, such as bison, hidden inside these caves.
Cabo Peñas, the immensity of the Cantabrian Sea
The next suggested route takes us to the northernmost point of Asturias, to Cabo Peñas between Gijón and Avilés. The cliffs and intense green meadows are truly beautiful. The legendary lighthouse provides this place with a special touch and it includes an interpretation centre where you can learn about lighthouses, shipwrecks and storms. The best time to visit is at sunset when the red tones seem to take over everything.
Somiedo, the beauty of a nature reserve
Walking among the mountains, small villages and perfectly conserved lakes while breathing in a pure and special environment is the best way to understand why this nature reserve is also a biosphere reserve. This land transmits the essence of nomadic history. The sounds and colours change in each place and complete tranquillity is hidden away in one of its most beautiful spots: the Lago del Valle—a glacial lake and the largest in Asturias.