Holidays in Asturias

Everything you need to plan the perfect holiday in Asturias: how to get there, the best places to stay, the best times of year to go, and an unbeatable selection of hand-picked holiday villas and cottages.

Find your Holiday home in Asturias

Honest, natural, fabulous, little known, loveable Asturias! Thankfully and magnificently unspoilt, this mountain paradise steeped in tradition is the epitome of Green Spain, fringed by natural sandy beaches.

Asturias sits quietly wedged between Galicia and Cantabria in Northern Spain, from where it looks out on the Bay of Biscay. Its rugged northern coast of endless sandy beaches and coves is washed by the Atlantic's refreshing waves and punctuated by unhurried fishing villages.

An outstanding feature is its relatively small size, which makes it easy to go between the mountains and the sea and beaches.

The sight of the outstanding mountains of the Picos de Europa will restore the spirits and lift the heart of the most jaded hiker. Cows with clonking bells graze their alpine pastures while deep valleys thicken greenly with forest.

Thankfully and magnificently unspoilt, this mountain paradise steeped in tradition is the epitome of Green Spain.

This land is goodness through and through. The Asturians are of proud, hard-working stock –farmers, shepherds, fishermen – not the exuberant, high-spirited Spanish you will find elsewhere, but people attached to their traditions and a culture of old-fashioned reserve.

If their manner denotes a quietly spoken pride in their handsome land, their passion for it is as true and fast as the rivers of crystal-clear water running down mountain and across green field to the ocean.

We think this is one of the most impressive and magical natural destinations in all of Spain.

Once an independent kingdom whose Christian nobles fought back the Moorish invaders, its people live largely by the labours of farming. They know the worth of their land and care for it like nowhere else in Spain.

Holidaymakers are welcomed here to enjoy and appreciate the land and its gastronomy, yet the Asturians set little store by commercial "development." They won't allow any such considerations to spoil the pristine beauty. Stone cottages have traditionally made for a smart but cultured kind of rural tourism, popular with a number of Spanish who come to hike places that most foreigners still know nothing about.

Asturias is one of actor-director Woody Allen's favourite destinations. He recommends people to come here "to avoid the ugly in the world."

Visitors from abroad are inexplicably few and far between. Many who would surely love to roam this marvellous mountain principality are simply unaware of what it has to offer, or are unsure of where to go, where to stay. But comfortable, tasteful options are there, and in our accommodation portfolio of Asturias villas we will show you the ones we liked enough to select.

Hike the mountains, get off the beaten track, explore beaches, or just sit back and enjoy the view.

Holiday cottages within easy reach of the Picos can be found in two areas of outstanding natural beauty: Cider Country with the Sierra del Sueve, between Nava and Piloña, and the rich farmland south of the fishing village of Llanes, just before the rise of the mountains.

The mysterious Sierra del Sueve is a typically unknown yet beautiful mountain area right by the coast, from where sea mists rise to work a kind of magic. Walk the trails here and you will come across the unique asturcón horse, gentle yet wild.

We think this is one of the most impressive and magical natural destinations in all of Spain.

Cider Country is much more than the area where Asturian cider apples are grown and made into the tart, refreshing drink: it's all about mountains, woods, rivers and picture-book old villages. It includes the Dinosaur Coast with its dramatic cliffs, coves and succession of pretty beaches.

In the Cider Country, the area around the village of Espinaredo stands out as a treasure.

The area, largely covered by Piloña municipality, is also the gateway to the spectacular Picos de Europa and a chance to get well off the beaten track in Ponga.

Arriondas is best known as the starting out point for descending the Sella river in kayak, canoe or raft.

Cangas de Onis is the gateway and hub for the Picos de Europa and the liveliest place in the area. Any outdoor activity you couldn't arrange at an agency in Arriondas, you can here.

The spectacular Picos de Europa have nothing to envy the Alps. Indeed, while the latter have succumbed to the environmental trashing meted out by ski stations, the Picos de Europa National Park is unique in sustaining within its bounds whole villages in a beautiful state of conservation.

There are very precious, protected bears here, and wolves. There are 154 types of butterfly and seventy different mammals. Birdlife includes the golden eagle, black kite and the endangered capercaillie.

Don't miss the high lakes! You set out from the large grotto at Covadonga, an important historical site in Spain (see Main attractions), and end up at two extraordinarily high, glacial lakes.

The Cares Defile walk and the funicular up to Bulnes are top attractions, but just about any walk and trip in Asturias is satisfying.

Beaches in Asturias are quite unlike those of the well-known "costas" elsewhere in Spain. They are natural, unspoilt, often in coves under cliffs. We have our own guide to ten Asturias beaches, but part of the fun is discovering your own.

Asturias offers another delightful enclave: the picturesque area sandwiched between sandy beaches near Llanes and the Picos de Europa.

Read our article "Top ten Asturias beaches"

And you'll not go hungry here: Asturias gastronomy is famed throughout Spain for its nourishing dishes, especially stews in generous servings. Its cheeses and cider are special local delicacies. In our article "Food in Asturias", you will discover the Asturias cider and cheese tradition.

+ Read more

Summary

Honest, natural, fabulous, little known, loveable Asturias! Thankfully and magnificently unspoilt, this mountain paradise steeped in tradition is the epitome of Green Spain, fringed by natural sandy beaches.

Asturias sits quietly wedged between Galicia and Cantabria in Northern Spain, from where it looks out on the Bay of Biscay. Its rugged northern coast of endless sandy beaches and coves is washed by the Atlantic's refreshing waves and punctuated by unhurried fishing villages.

An outstanding feature is its relatively small size, which makes it easy to go between the mountains and the sea and beaches.

The sight of the outstanding mountains of the Picos de Europa will restore the spirits and lift the heart of the most jaded hiker. Cows with clonking bells graze their alpine pastures while deep valleys thicken greenly with forest.

Thankfully and magnificently unspoilt, this mountain paradise steeped in tradition is the epitome of Green Spain.

This land is goodness through and through. The Asturians are of proud, hard-working stock –farmers, shepherds, fishermen – not the exuberant, high-spirited Spanish you will find elsewhere, but people attached to their traditions and a culture of old-fashioned reserve.

If their manner denotes a quietly spoken pride in their handsome land, their passion for it is as true and fast as the rivers of crystal-clear water running down mountain and across green field to the ocean.

We think this is one of the most impressive and magical natural destinations in all of Spain.

Once an independent kingdom whose Christian nobles fought back the Moorish invaders, its people live largely by the labours of farming. They know the worth of their land and care for it like nowhere else in Spain.

Holidaymakers are welcomed here to enjoy and appreciate the land and its gastronomy, yet the Asturians set little store by commercial "development." They won't allow any such considerations to spoil the pristine beauty. Stone cottages have traditionally made for a smart but cultured kind of rural tourism, popular with a number of Spanish who come to hike places that most foreigners still know nothing about.

Asturias is one of actor-director Woody Allen's favourite destinations. He recommends people to come here "to avoid the ugly in the world."

Visitors from abroad are inexplicably few and far between. Many who would surely love to roam this marvellous mountain principality are simply unaware of what it has to offer, or are unsure of where to go, where to stay. But comfortable, tasteful options are there, and in our accommodation portfolio of Asturias villas we will show you the ones we liked enough to select.

Hike the mountains, get off the beaten track, explore beaches, or just sit back and enjoy the view.

Holiday cottages within easy reach of the Picos can be found in two areas of outstanding natural beauty: Cider Country with the Sierra del Sueve, between Nava and Piloña, and the rich farmland south of the fishing village of Llanes, just before the rise of the mountains.

The mysterious Sierra del Sueve is a typically unknown yet beautiful mountain area right by the coast, from where sea mists rise to work a kind of magic. Walk the trails here and you will come across the unique asturcón horse, gentle yet wild.

We think this is one of the most impressive and magical natural destinations in all of Spain.

Cider Country is much more than the area where Asturian cider apples are grown and made into the tart, refreshing drink: it's all about mountains, woods, rivers and picture-book old villages. It includes the Dinosaur Coast with its dramatic cliffs, coves and succession of pretty beaches.

In the Cider Country, the area around the village of Espinaredo stands out as a treasure.

The area, largely covered by Piloña municipality, is also the gateway to the spectacular Picos de Europa and a chance to get well off the beaten track in Ponga.

Arriondas is best known as the starting out point for descending the Sella river in kayak, canoe or raft.

Cangas de Onis is the gateway and hub for the Picos de Europa and the liveliest place in the area. Any outdoor activity you couldn't arrange at an agency in Arriondas, you can here.

The spectacular Picos de Europa have nothing to envy the Alps. Indeed, while the latter have succumbed to the environmental trashing meted out by ski stations, the Picos de Europa National Park is unique in sustaining within its bounds whole villages in a beautiful state of conservation.

There are very precious, protected bears here, and wolves. There are 154 types of butterfly and seventy different mammals. Birdlife includes the golden eagle, black kite and the endangered capercaillie.

Don't miss the high lakes! You set out from the large grotto at Covadonga, an important historical site in Spain (see Main attractions), and end up at two extraordinarily high, glacial lakes.

The Cares Defile walk and the funicular up to Bulnes are top attractions, but just about any walk and trip in Asturias is satisfying.

Beaches in Asturias are quite unlike those of the well-known "costas" elsewhere in Spain. They are natural, unspoilt, often in coves under cliffs. We have our own guide to ten Asturias beaches, but part of the fun is discovering your own.

Asturias offers another delightful enclave: the picturesque area sandwiched between sandy beaches near Llanes and the Picos de Europa.

Read our article "Top ten Asturias beaches"

And you'll not go hungry here: Asturias gastronomy is famed throughout Spain for its nourishing dishes, especially stews in generous servings. Its cheeses and cider are special local delicacies. In our article "Food in Asturias", you will discover the Asturias cider and cheese tradition.

+ Read more

Overview

PICOS DE EUROPA

The magnificent mountain range is what come to the mind of most Spanish people when Asturias is mentioned. The Picos de Europa are a National Park which nevertheless has a few little villages within its boundaries that coexist harmoniously with the protected environment. Conjoined to high, jagged peaks, the serrated ridges of its snowy massifs sweep down to elm, beech and Pyrenean oak woodland in valleys, to hay meadows alive with wild orchids.

The route into the Picos enters via Cangas de Onis, which buzzes with activity agencies, and the first stop tends to be Covadonga, where the views are already astonishing.

 

COVADONGA

The Cave at Covadonga, known as the Holy Cave, has a Sanctuary is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and the tomb of King Pelayo. It was Pelayo's victory over the Moors at the Battle of Covadonga in 722 AD that set the Christians on their way to the reconquest of Spain, and so the spot has a distinct historical resonance.

A waterfall gushes down from directly beneath the cave. From here, the winding route up to the Covadonga Lakes takes some beating for sheer natural spectacle. Cyclists may be already familiar with this 12 km climb – a testing stage in the Vuelta de España road race – the rest of us will probably prefer to drive it. You reach Lake Enol at 1,070 m to find horses and cattle grazing the high pastures; higher still at 1,108 m, Lake Ercina's glacial waters shimmer in changing shades of colour.

 

CARES DEFILE WALK & FUNICULAR RAILWAY TO BULNES

The "classic" hike in the heart of the Picos and the ride up to Bulnes village at the base of Naranjo de Bulnes mountain both start at Poncebos. They are described more fully as Main attractions in our Picos de Europa Holiday Guide.

 

SIERRA DEL SUEVE

The hills and mountains of Sierra del Sueve are close enough to the sea for mists to sometimes rise there and shroud the beech woods and ancient yews with an otherworldly aspect. Ramble the trails of Sueve, these hills by the sea, and you enter into another little world. It is marvellously mysterious when the sea mists roll around the green mountain landscape! It is also home an equine treasure which you are very likely to see the unique asturcón horse.

Pico del Pienzu here is one of the closest mountain peaks to the sea in the world: just 5 km separate the summit from the Atlantic. The views from the top are tremendous. You can see a variety of animal life including not only the fascinating asturcón but also vultures, roe deer and (at a distance and very rarely) wolves.

In the Local Guide that we send to holidaymakers, walks in Sierra del Sueve and many more holiday ideas are set out in detail.

 

CIDER COUNTRY (PILOÑA)

Comprising most of the inland region south of Sierra del Sueve and traversed by the N-634 road that runs from Nava, home to the Cider Museum, in the west to Arriondas in the east, Piloña is a beautifully unspoilt area comprising 24 parishes.

It's also the main cider area, where Asturias's best-known drink is produced and enjoyed with a ritual pouring. You'll find a sidrería (cider house) in most villages of any size. Sidra is important in local culture; find out more in our article: Of cider and cheese.

Cider Country (Piloña) is more like a shire, enchanting to walk and explore. Country lanes follow trout-filled rivers though gorges and wind through wonderfully preserved villages of old stone cottages, valleys with views of the Picos de Europa, traditional homesteads and ecclesiastical architecture, mossy country homes and woods of beech, chestnut and oak where edible mushrooms sprout. The hills have abundant populations of deer and wild boar.

 

ESPINAREDO

Little Espinaredo in Cider Country is reached by following the rushing, trout-filled River Infierno up its winding valley, with mountains all around. In this enchanting location, one half expects one of Asturia's legendary duendes, (elves or goblins), to step out from behind a tree or river boulder. Among the old houses are hórreos – pillared granaries – some of which date back to the 16th century.

 

BOATING ON THE RIVER SELLA AT ARRIONDAS

 

At the small town of Arriondas, the River Sella is swelled by the Piloña river, making it a big draw for the number of small operators offering downriver canoe and kayak trips. It has become such a popular activity that you'll have no problem hiring a boat if you want to try it. In August, people come from far and wide to take part in the festive International Canoe Race, which is accompanied by music and street events.

 

NIEMEYER CENTRE

The International Cultural Centre designed by Brazilian architect, Oscar Niemeyer, was inaugurated in 2011. After being temporarily closed due to political disagreement, it is open again and starting to find its feet as a major reference in the cultural world. It's situated at Avilés, close to Asturias Airport, where it represents the showpiece of a large-scale scheme to regenerate the Avilés waterfront.

 

ASTURIAS BEACHES AND FISHING VILLAGES

There are a significant number of these and they include some of the best beaches in Northern Spain, are strung out along what is popularly known as the Dinosaur Coast, owing to the impressive fossil record found here, including fossilized dinosaur footprints. There are also attractive towns with harbours and seaside villages.

Rodiles beach, backed by pine forest, is deservedly well-known but there are plenty more options, in thrillingly natural settings. To guide you, we publish an online guide to some of the very best Asturias beaches that we have searched out and photographed.

 

LLANES AND BICYCLE HIRE

At this elegant and lively fishing village where you can enjoy strolls along the cliffs, the riverside or the harbour to the lighthouse, past Basque sculptor Agustín Ibarrola's Cubes of Memory, and then dine excellently at a choice of bars and restaurants along the cobbled streets of the old town.Very close to Llanes FEVE railway station is a bicycle hire shop. You can cycle along a track as far as Poo, on the outskirts of Llanes to the west. From Poo, a signposted single-lane path continues along the coast for about 15 km.

Also in Llanes is an activity agency called Torimbia Ocio Natural. As well as bicycle hire, they offer other activities like horseriding, hot-air balloon flights, canyoning and much more. You can check these by visiting their website torimbiaocionatural.es

 

LASTRES

One of the nicest of the seaside towns, Lastres has its own beach, a fishing harbour and great views out over the sea.

 

JURASSIC MUSEUM

Close enough to be visible from Lastres, the museo jurásico is a huge hit with children. Mock-up dinosaurs here can then be followed up by going down to La Griega beach, which the museum overlooks, to search for dinosaur footprints: they really are there, fossilized in the stone. Going back some 65 million years, dinosaur footprints are to be found all along the coastline between Ribadesella and the historical city of Gijón, Asturia's main port.

 

TAZONES

Diminutive Tazones, near Lastres, nestles under high cliffs and is very popular with day trippers who descend on its restaurants for fish and seafood lunches. We found it to be curious to stay a while, but rather busy and overpriced.

 

NATURAL PARKS OF PONGA AND REDES

While the Picos de Europa are Asturias' high point and the only National Park, there are several Natural Parks that provide exceptional walking and touring opportunities.

 

Ponga

To get completely off the beaten track, you have only to take the road south into Ponga, where ravine, mountain and impenetrable forest are overwhelming. Drive south on N-625 from Cangas de Onis and discover this wonderful Natural Park.

 

Redes

This Natural Park borders Cider Country south of Piloña. It's a UNESCO world heritage site where glacier and rain have gorged out a fascinating 377 km² of craggy limestone. There are caves and grasslands in Redes, broad valleys and wooded hillsides. Woodland of beech and white oak covers 40% of a territory whose altitude varies 5,000 feet and whose precious wealth of bird, reptile and animal life cannot be over-emphasized. Local industry comes from the carving of traditional wooden clogs and honey production.

 

BEARS

The endangered brown bear is zealously protected by the Asturian principality, although occasionally hunted photographically by certain tourist companies whose 4 x 4 vehicles only disturb their habitat. The bears are respected by the locals, for whom they represent a link with their history and patria, or homeland.

 

BEST OF THE REST

Nava Cider Museum

The town has 17th century churches and La Cogolla Palace to its name, yet its best-known landmark is the Cider Museum. Open every day except Monday. It's the perfect place to learn all about Asturias' emblematic drink, which you can also read about in a Rustical Travel article Of cider and cheese.

 

People of the Picos

The Picos de Europa mountains are thrillingly beautiful and doubly interesting for being a National Park with habitations: there are several hamlets and villages which coexist in successful harmony with the protected alpine landscapes.

 

Indianos Museum

In Colombres, you can learn about how the Asturian emigrants who made their fortune in South America came back to build proud homes. Housed in one of the most striking of these, the Indianos Museum tells the story of these adventurers. Some of those who made it and returned built impressive family houses. Often fronted by the palm trees that reminded them of Argentina and similar destinations, these stand out even today among the humbler neighbouring houses in villages along the northern coast.

 

Peña Tú

At Puertas de Vidiago, 12 km from Llanes, is the sandstone idol called Peña Tú. Here you can see prehistoric paintings and engravings. No fewer than fifty ancient burial grounds have so far been discovered here at the Sierra de Borbolla.

 

Take the train to the coast

Asturias has a good, reliable and inexpensive light railway system (FEVE), a nice change from the roads that allows your driver to take a day off. You can take the Feve to seaside Llanes, for example: highly recommended. Other options include the very pleasant coastal town of Gijón, or Ribadesella, a busier town with its own beach (a good walk from the station so pack light).

 

Other wildlife and birdlife

Asturias is home to a vast wealth of wildlife, not just bears. There are a few wolves, and plenty of chamois and roe deer, wild boar and foxes. In the woods live partridges, mountain cats, the black woodpecker, the dormouse, squirrels and genets. A few capercaillie still survive in the Asturian Picos.

More than a hundred varieties of birds inhabit the mountains and valleys. star attractions are the raptors: Golden Eagle, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Egytian Vulture, Griffin Vulture and Bearded Vulture. You can also spot Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, the Dunnock, and Pipit.

Birders will be delighted to know that spotting trips are a speciality of English-speaking ornithologist Javier Gil.

 

Fishing

For approximately 13 euros, EU citizens can obtain a tourist fishing permit from the Asturias government via its website

 

Markets and Fairs

For shopping or simply an interesting insight into the local culture, here are some markets and fairs you may wish to visit (generally mornings until 2 pm):
Weekly markets
Infiesto: Mondays
Villaviciosa: Wednesdays
Bimenes: every second Thursday
Colunga: Thursdays
Nava: Saturdays
Cangas de Onis: Sundays
Oviedo: Sundays

 

Craft fairs

Cider Country, Villaviciosa: Easter
Traditional craft & foods, Nos Alcuentros, Colunga: July
Traditional crafts fair with music and activities for children, Mercau Astur, Ceceda, Nava: end of July
Traditional crafts fair of Oles, Villaviciosa: early August

You will also find a host of cattle markets and local fairs throughout the year.

 

Oviedo

Asturias' interesting and cultured capital with its pre-Romanic monuments and cathedral, makes a change from the rural splendour. Oviedo is the home town of Asturias's most famous son, Fernando Alonso.

 

FOOD AND DRINK

Asturias has a tradition for hearty eating that only mountain folk could maintain. Only light eaters and vegetarians might find it a challenge. Expect tasty, hot and generous servings.

Fabada is a slowly cooked, rich stew based on a special white bean and flavoured with pork, chorizo, black pudding and saffron. Beef and lamb generally come from animals that have fed on the green and healthy Asturian pastures. With the sea never far away, the local gastronomy also includes fish and seafood.

Light, dry Asturian cider is a culture all to itself, requiring a skilled decanting from above head height into the glass to aerate and lend it its full fresh tastiness.

Asturian cider, lighter and less alcoholic than its English Somerset counterpart, is drunk with meals, with relish, and at the drop of a hat. Much more than just a drink to the Asturians, it has its own ritual pouring on which depends both its taste and its power to refresh. Cider is the beverage par excellence in Asturias and you'll soon see how much is a essential element of the culture when you see friends a sharing a bottle or two, decanting it in a brief cascade from above shoulder height, not out of bravado, but to give it its live and zesty taste.

Cider is typically enjoyed at a cider bar (sidrería) but also in restaurants and you can also visit cider factories where apples are pressed and fermented in giant vats. Examples of cider factories are:

• El Gaitero in La Espuncia just north of Villaviciosa.
• Sidra Cortina just south of Villaviciosa.
• Sidra Crespo in Sales, west of Colunga.

Cangas produces its own wine but quite frankly it's not a shade on Spain's major reds such as La Rioja, Ribeira de Duero, Priorato or the whites of neighbouring Galicia, which you'll find on the wine list at any decent restaurant.

Sidra is classically accompanied by the local Cabrales cheese, spicy and creamy. Cabrales isn't the only cheese: Gamonedo is also excellent.

Another local delicacy is Cecina: air-cured smoky beef.

 

Espinaredo

We have been recommended:
• Mesón Vizcares for a very good and inexpensive lunchtime set meal (menú).

 

Arriondas

There is a varierty of places to eat out from pizza to two Michelin-starred establishments. Our choices:

• La Terraza restaurant - For its quality, setting, atmosphere and price is this excellent restaurant overlooking the river at Hotel Casona del Sella on the town hall square.
• El Corral del Indianu
• Casa Marcial

 

Lastres

• Bar El Puerto in Lastres harbour (Lastres Puerto is busy and loud in summer, but very Spanish. It has a great choice of fresh fish and seafood (other dishes available).

• El Descanso - Another restaurant we recommend is to be found before you reach Lastres village from La Griega beach, on the right hand side as you drive down to Lastres playa (beach). There is parking space just opposite. Decent prices and good, unpretentious food.

• El Barrigón de Bertín - The classiest of the three, it serves first class fish and seafood in a stylish ambience, with well-chosen Spanish wines. It's on a bend of the main road as you come into Lastres. Best to park by the parish church and walk from there. Look out for a ship's anchor on the bend: the restaurant's just below there.

 

Niembro & Torimbia beaches

An early evening stroll along Torimbia beach is very nicely followed by dinner at San Pelayo in Niembro, a very smart restaurant with 20 specialities (open Wed-Sat evenings only, book in advance).

Another option in Niembro is El Buzu restaurant. Not a refined establishment like San Pelayo: we love it instead for the authentic experience of a busy, popular restaurant serving excellent fresh fish and seafood at reasonable prices. You can also order a paella at Torimbia chiringuito (beach bar-restaurant) for lunch. Tell them well in advance what time you wish to pick it up and they'll have it ready for you.

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Photos

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Climate

Asturias is Green Spain and its climate is distinctly oceanic. There are considerably fewer hours of sun per year than in southern Spain, but slightly more than in northern European countries of similar latitude.

Despite this similarity to northern Europe, the period from June to September can usually be relied on to provide better and more stable weather than the UK or the Netherlands, for example.

The topology of the principality is described by a massif of high mountains and a long coastline. Although each is as sunny and dry (or wet) as the other, there is a marked difference in temperature between mountains and the seashore.

By way of example, between July and August the average temperature (both daytime and nighttime) of a coastal location such as Llanes town is around 19 C. In the mountainous interior of Asturias, Somiedo has a fresher average summer temperature of 14 C.

The summer season is relatively short and not especially hot, which is why Asturias cottages hardly ever come with swimming pools. Natural beaches – the choice is quite exciting – are best for swims. You'll find the water temperature fresh, not as warm as the Mediterranean, although generally warmer than the UK or elsewhere in northern Europe.

Although heat waves can occur in Asturias, they are as rare and brief as the sightings of bears in the mountains. You don't see air conditioning units in the shops. Even in summer, it's not uncommon for jerseys to be worn at some point during the day no matter where you are in Asturias. Climactic conditions are subject to influences similar to the British Isles, with the difference that unsettled weather lasts less thanks to more dynamic weather patterns.

Rain is common during winter months and even after that the green lands of Asturias are sensitive to a lack of rain for any extended period. A gentle summer drizzle will bring out the deep beauty of this region, where some of the richest forests in Europe grow. They need regular moisture to keep them so strong and healthy.

 

Are there microclimates within Asturias?

We advise you to ignore claims of microclimates here. The truth is that there aren't any. To find a markedly different climate within Green Spain, both dryer and warmer, look beyond Asturias to neighbouring Cantabria and the sheltered valleys of La Liébana, or the sunny climes of southern Galicia, where temperatures are higher and villas with pools are quite normal.

The only different conditions obtaining within Asturias are to be found up in the Picos de Europa mountain range, where plentiful precipitation falls as snow and some of the high villages have long winters.

 

Are coastal locations sunnier than the mountains in the interior?

No, they have the same hours of sun. On some days, cloud and fog can clog the coast without passing inland beyond the first few miles, leaving the mountains in sparkling sunshine; on others, the seaside will be bright and sunny, while hills and mountains up above are shrouded in cloud.

 

ASTURIAS CLIMATE SUMMARY

Asturias is Green Spain. The chances of fair weather are distinctly higher than in northern European countries, but the region doesn't experience the same hot, dry climate as southern Spain. There can be rain at any time of year, although rain is far less frequent from June to September, when temperatures are typically very comfortable.

The maritime influence means that locations closer to the Asturian coast are always relatively mild, whereas warmer clothing is needed in the high mountains, such as Picos de Europa. Interestingly, mountain areas receive the same number of hours of sun per year as the coast.

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Maps

Getting there

AIRPORTS FOR ASTURIAS

Asturias has its own small but international airport. Although you may find it referred to as "Oviedo" airport, after the Asturian capital; Asturias Airport (OVD) is in fact situated by the coast at Aviles.

Do check the Location tab for the villa you're interested in, because Santander Airport (SDR) may be just as close: if your villa is in Picos de Europa, for example.

A more distant option is Bilbao Airport (BIO).

 

FERRY PORTS FOR ASTURIAS

If you're coming from the UK or Ireland and want to bring your own car, the main port of entry for car ferries is at Santander, with other at Bilbao. The crossing takes at least 24 hours, but it does allow you to bring all that extra luggage you couldn't take on the plane, and avoid car hire.

 

Ferry routes

Operated by brittanyferries.co.uk on impressive ships in their modernized fleet. You can also bring a pet with you in onboard kennels or pet-friendly cabins:

• Portsmouth - Santander
• Portsmouth - Bilbao
• Plymouth - Santander

Santander is in neighbouring Cantabria. The drive from Bilbao ferry port takes another hour.

 

CAR HIRE

Holiday villas in Asturias tend to be in secluded locations which are not served by buses and a car is generally essential.

Unless you're taking the car ferry to Santander or Bilbao (or driving down through France), you'll need to rent a car. It's practical, convenient and needn't be expensive. It often works out cheaper than taking a taxi and is then invaluable for shopping, eating out, visiting places of interest, days out at the beach, and making an easy return trip at the end of your stay.

Mountains and sea are closely connected in Asturias and there is hardly an uninteresting drive, making driving pleasurable like old-fashioned motoring again. There are some wonderfully scenic routes.

If your villa is up a track, be sure to rent a vehicle with good clearance. This means most normal cars: simply don't be tempted by a low-slung sporty model.

Some country lanes are narrow, so we wouldn't recommend a bulky vehicle. And for driving up to the high lakes in Picos de Europa, you're better off in a car with decent uphill power (not the smallest budget option).

Car hire offices are situated at all three airports for Asturias: Asturias Airport itself, Santander & Bilbao.

Rustical Travel doesn't have a professional arrangement with any particular car hire company and we suggest you shop around for car hire using a broker such as rentalcars.com or similar.

It's easy to compare prices of rentals with companies that operate at the airport you fly into, and all the reputable agencies have online payment for advance booking these days.

You don't have to use the broker. If you prefer, you can check the car hire companies own websites, compare prices, and book direct.

Driving times from airports your holiday property are shown on the villa's property page. You will receive a map with detailed directions to your villa as one of your holiday documents from Rustical Travel.

 

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Buses run between the main population centres such as Oviedo and Gijón and an hourly service operates between these towns and Asturias Airport at Aviles. But for travelling to rural and mountain locations in Asturias, and shopping once you're there, a car is a necessity.

A local exception to this rule is Easter week and other very busy times of year, when to minimize the environmental impact in Picos de Europa National Park, a fleet of buses runs between Cangas de Onis, Covadonga, and the high lakes.

To reach little Bulnes, at 650 metres above sea level in the central massif of Picos de Europa, either walk (3 hrs) or take the funicular railway (7 mins).

The small FEVE train is a fun and inexpensive way to take a journey for a day out in Asturias, stopping at little stations along the way. It's interesting for travelling along the coast: to Llanes, for example. The FEVE rail link reaches up almost into the Picos de Europa mountains with a station in Arriondas.

 

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Rustical Travel Privacy & Data Protection Policy

We are very conscious and respectful of your right to privacy.

In order to process your booking and to ensure that your holiday arrangements run smoothly and meet your requirements, we must, of course, use the information you provide such as name, contact details, special requirements etc. But we take full responsibility for ensuring that proper security measures are in place to protect your information.

We must pass the information on to the relevant suppliers of your holiday arrangements such as property managers, keyholder-caretakers and related service providers. The information may also be supplied to public authorities such as customs/immigration if required by them, in accordance with the law.

If we cannot pass this information to the relevant suppliers, we cannot administer your booking or arrange the holiday. In making this booking, you consent to this information being passed on to the relevant persons.

We will not pass on any personal information to any individual or organization not responsible for part of your holiday arrangements. This also applies to any sensitive information that you provide, such as details of any disabilities, or dietary/religious requirements.

We don’t like spam ourselves and we restrict our own promotional mailings to two typically non-aggressive instances:

  1. When a new user actively requests that we send details of special offers, or similar.
  2. Occasional promotional mailings to former clients that they can opt out of at any time.

Otherwise, we never use your  personal information for any purpose other than arranging your holiday booking.

You are entitled to a copy of your information held by us. If you would like to see this, please ask us. (We may make a small charge for providing this to you).
Your data controller is: Rustical Travel

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