My wife and I spent part of our honeymoon staying in one of the branas. So romantic, so welcoming, so beautiful. Great little restaurant onsite. Wonderful walks and only a short drive to the coast if you want to combine this with the mountains.
Valle de Lago s/n Somiedo Asturias 33840 España
+34 985 763 776
Google map: bit.ly/10PkNUQ
Park by the signpost on the road between San Juan de Beleno and Viego, and discover this spectacular 10 km walk in the Ponga National Park, northern Spain. My friend and I went in September and we walked through a carpet of purple crocuses and exuberant thistles. We saw no-one apart from some old men in a hut who offered us water, unless vultures, choughs and the odd goat count. If you make the summit you’ll see the sea - we didn’t as the final ascent is vertiginous - but the far reaching views of endless rolling green hills beneath us as we gradually ascended the mountain ridge make this the most memorable afternoon’s walk I’ve ever done.
A majority of the time, this place is so peaceful you can hear the beach from a mile away. Sure, it's a campsite - but its only a short walk to the local village which hosts some of the most wonderful fresh seafood I've ever eaten. Sitting on the top of the cliff looking down at the beach below, I'm constantly remembered about why I love this place.
A one-track train, the Feve, runs along the coast of Asturias, Spain’s northern shore. From a base in Llanes you can ride it west to Villahermosa and ramble back east, mostly on a coast path. Pass a beach in a field where a 75-metre blowhole through the rocks feeds a crater-like tidal pool, then climb through woodland to the clifftop. Eastward, Biscay’s waves chew the feet of the Picos mountains, leaving bite-mark coves and rocky crumbs as outcrops in the sea.
Behind you – and you nearly miss it, the view ahead is so beguiling – is the perfect lunch spot.
On a whole coastline of best beaches, Playa de Torimbia is the best of all (El Pais even puts it among the finest in all Spain). It’s a half-mile curve of gold held by sheer cliffs; skinny-dipping normal but not compulsory; good Atlantic surf. The only building is a ramshackle bar with paella, raciones, beer and a view of this whole sequestered Eden.
The bar makes the beach, the beach makes the bar; there’s nothing else to intervene. That’s a winning combination.
Google map: bit.ly/AxVDMA
Nearest village - Niembro.
There is a car park high on the cliff at eastern end of the bay, with a steep walk down.
The bar is at the western end.
For the train use Villahermosa, Posada or Poo stations - and enjoy the walk.
Deserted even in September, descending to the Bay of Silence on the Asturian coast about 25 miles west of Asturias airport near Oviedo, is like being lowered out of sight of the rest of the world. From above, the view glimpsed through pine trees shows cliff-side steps twisting down a white cliff to a cove. Protected by apostle-like rock stacks, the tranquil beach is inexplicably empty, while grey and cream flow lines of rock strata at the cliff base betray the tumultuous activity of past ages. A diversion for those on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela trail?
A fantastic very child friendly beach. The name alone puts junior members of the group in a giggly and good mood before you even get there. This is only enhanced by a beautiful, never very busy, beach with several areas to explore - small caves, a deeply shelving area with fantastic waves, an enormous shallow stretch for perfect paddling and headlands and freshwater streams to follow for an adventure. Two cafes perched above the beach provide reasonable snacks and meals and loo facilities. Lifeguard facility at most times and care should be taken to observe their flag system and advice. Parking in a pay carpark near the beach or in Llanes.
Google map: bit.ly/gEVqvv
Spain may not be the first destination that springs to mind when looking for the ultimate cider experience, but head to the lush green lands of Asturias on the North West coast and that’s exactly what you’ll find. The natural “sidra” is an icon of the region, due partly to the distinctive style in which it is poured; from the bottle held high above the head onto the rim of the glass held sideways at the waist. This creates a momentary fizz and is why only a mouthful is poured at a time and relished in one gulp.
"Siderías" ancient and modern are the life blood of the tiniest villages and major cities, and there are cider festivals all year round. One of the best can be found in the seaside city of Gijón, where you can enjoy free tasting sessions in the town square or join thousands who gather annually on the sandy beach to break the world record for simultaneous cider-pouring (see pic in where to find it section).
Easyjet fly daily to Asturias from Stansted.
Gijon is 30 min drive from the airport.
Gijon info: www.spain.info/en_GB/ven/otros-destinos/gijon.html
Cider pouring world record: proyectos.elcomerciodigital.com/panorama/images/20090526085632_escanciandosidra.jpg
Google maps: tinyurl.com/2f9sctf
A great walk from Covadonga to the valley of Orandi and back. Most tourists in the summer take the buses from the lower car parks to the lakes, We decided to take a different walk in the Vega de Orandi. Park your car in one of the car parks very near Covadonga, before 11 am as it gets very busy.
On the walk we never met a single soul except for some friendly local cows, beautiful scenery and fresh mountain streams. At the top we had a picnic and fantastic views of the Picos mountain range.
A great family day out in this beautiful region of Spain.
The Hotel Argentina in Luarca, Asturias, is a mini palace, a box of delights, a supremely charming villa built in 1899 and still owned by the same family. Described as being in the "Indian" style, this merely refers to the fact the family were returning from South America with the money to build expansively - in fact think stained glass windows, high ceilings, balconies, exquisite china, rugs and paintings. Outside, a pool, and an extensive, well stocked garden to explore.
We were overwhelmed by the courtesy of the staff, two constantly smiling, sweet natured brothers, descendents of the original family, who came out to the car to help us with our cases, suggested we view the four available rooms to choose one, and allowed us to romp around taking endless poser shots draped over the chaise longue, and in the beautiful light through the stained glass. We walked into the harbour town of Luarca to eat, but kicked ourselves later when we realised we could have eaten in a small dining room in the garden, where we joined an Irish/Canadian and a German couple for drinks that lasted into the early hours. Both couples return year after year.
When we left we heard the Irish man playing his banjo - he belongs to an Appalachian band - it's that sort of hotel, you feel like hanging around all day and know you'll be welcome. The food is second to none, the ambience relaxed but efficient, and choosing one from those four themed rooms, all different but all utterly enticing - large and spotlessly clean with dream bedding and towels - was so, so difficult. When we stayed, the exchange rate was better than it is now; but the prices are per room, not per person - and what you are getting for that price, I have never experienced anywhere in England.
Tazones and Lastres are two very pretty fishing villages a half hour's drive apart.
Tazones has a lovely walk from behind the lighthouse up though woods to the cliffs and views out over the sea.
Lastres is less commercialized and you can eat wonderful fresh fish at a restaurant at the harbour called "El Puerto".
Map and info on this area: www.rusticaltravel.com/index.php/Asturias-Guide.html
The best way to see the "Green Coast" of Northern Spain is on foot. Walk between historic villages along ancient pathways, discovering an unspoilt coastline and pristine mountain views. You'll find great family-run hotels and wonderful local restaurants. It's possible to arrange a self-guided holiday where your luggage is transported from one hotel to the next.
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