They say Asturias is Spain’s best-kept secret and I can confirm that! Situated in the North West coast of the country, it’s very different from the Spain of the costas. It’s unspoilt and not massively touristy and that’s one of the reasons that makes it so special. I’m from Gijon, one of the biggest towns of the region and whilst I’d love for more people to know about this part of Spain I’m also quite pleased it’s a bit of an unknown destination. You won’t British fish and chips in Asturias or Sunday roasts like you can find – to my dismay- in some of the more touristy parts of the country. If you are looking for that type of holiday, then Asturias is not for you. If you are looking for the “real Spain” however then Asturias might be a destination to consider.
Asturias is a favoured holiday destination for a lot of Spanish people trying to escape the hot summers of Southern Spain for the milder Asturias climates.
Here are 4 reasons why you should visit Asturias
With 345 coastal kilometers Asturias has over 200 beaches to choose from. Stunning beaches with sandy shores, cliffs and dramatic rock formations make Asturias a great destination in the summer. Quiet beaches – there won’t be any problems finding space to put your towel down – and the scenery surrounding all of them is beautiful.
Playa de la Griega situated next to the little fishing town of Lastres has the added bonus of having the largest dinosaur footprints discovered to date in the world.
If you prefer the hustle and bustle of a bigger town location beach, Gijon’s main beach, San Lorenzo, offeres 1.5 kilometers of goldensand. Popular with surfers and locals, it’s a great beach to explore Asturias’ largest city.
Be prepared to eat a lot in Asturias. Asturias’ gastronomy is varied and rich. Of course you will be able to find delicious fresh fish and shellfish but also great quality meat. Eating out is not pricey at all and your money will go further here than in some of the other Spanish tourist resorts.
“Fabada” – stewed white beans served with chorizo, blood sausage and cured, air-dried pork shank , is the typical dish of the region. It’s usually served at lunchtime as it’s quite heavy to be eaten in the evening.
Asturias is also a great destination for cheese lovers. The most popular, Cabrales, is considered to be one of the best blue cheeses in the world.
“Sidra” (cider) made from locally grown apples is the typical drink of Asturias. The region is full of “sidrerias” (cider houses) where you can share a few bottles with friends over a meal. Cider drinking has a ritual here. A small amount is poured from a great height, to aerate, into a wide thin glass. When drinking you leave a tiny bit which is thrown of the floor (this may contain sediment) before passing the glass over to the next person for another serving.
First time visitors are always surprised how green Asturias is, no wonder is called “Costa Verde” or Green Coast. This part of Northern Spain has truly beautiful and breathtaking scenery and it doesn’t fit the stereotypical image you might have of Spain.
Asturias is home to the Picos de Europa National Park, a great destination for those that enjoy hiking, walking and the Great Outdoors. Overall perfect for nature lovers, the Picos de Europa is an important wildlife area, with wolves, Cantabrian brown bears and “rebecos” chamois (wild goats), the emblem of the park.
For those not interested in hiking, scenic drives through the valleys and little villages are a great alternative to explore the area. This is also a destination for active sport lovers, offering activities such as kayaking, canoeing, climbing and surfing.
The beauty of Asturias is that is the real Spain. Locals welcome tourists with open arms and you will very rarely hear English being spoken. This is a place to enjoy the slow Spanish pace of life and embrace the culture. There are no big holiday resorts with high rises, just beautiful small little fishing villages and nice seaside towns.
Asturias appeals to all sorts of tourists, families looking for a quite beach holiday, hikers keen to explore the rugged coast line or surfers looking for great waves. There is even a vast Pre-Romanic architecture legacy that can be visited all over the region.