In April 2015, Ron and I rode our bicycles along El Camino de Santiago Norte through Asturias, and we definitely love this piece of land full of nature and tradition!
If you decide to visit Asturias, here are 5 things you should not miss if you come to this paradise:
Among those northern provinces in Spain, Asturias could be the most mountainous one. Although we did not go to the central part and always went through the coastal route, there is no way to escape the winding hilly roads. It is astonishing to go up to the top and embrace yourself with the picturesque scenery especially on a sunny day!
- Atlantic Coast
Stretching from Llanes to Navia, we passed by numerous magnificent beaches directly facing the Bay of Biscay, Atlantic Ocean. Although the waves could be quite fierce sometimes, they created wonderful cliffs right at the edge of the continent. We spent a few afternoons just sitting at the beaches soaking up the beauty of the ocean, and realized how lucky we are to have such chance to be there!
This special architecture was actually initiated from Portugal and Galicia, where a rectangular house is uplifted from the ground, supported by 4-6 pillars. We saw the bigger version almost everywhere in Asturias that became square-sized with 6 or more pillars as supports. At first we had no idea what it is, and there is no direct access to the house, the ladders are not linked and anybody has to take a huge step to enter the house. Then one of our hosts explained us that Hórreo is the traditional storage house to prevent rats and water from ruining the crops! How wise was the Portuguese and Spanish ancestors!
Nowadays some of the Hórreo are transformed into living spaces or even hotels to give people a dream of staying in a hanging garden!
- Fabas (Alubia Asturiana)
When I asked some local Asturians what is the most typical food there, they all referred to Fabas grandes, which is a kind of big white beans commonly grown in Asturian fields. Most people cook it in soup, but honestly I think it is not that outstanding from other beans. Well, one have to try this humble regional dish before leaving Asturias.
Asturias is so proud of their Sider (Cider in English, Apple wine) as there are apple trees growing almost in every corner of the province. Since Asturias has almost the same climate comparing with Brittany in France, they both are the top producers of cider! In August, huge sider festivals are held in Asturias towns and villages to celebrate the wonderful harvest of apple. The most authentic way in Asturias to drink sider is to pour over the head and create as much bubble as you could, there are even competitions to see whose glass contains the most bubble. Yes, it tastes very subtle, much better than their beers.
We were very lucky to pass by Gijon in April during an international event called 30 dias en bici (30 days on bicycles), our host Susana invited us to join one of the event, and we met so many enthusiastic cyclists who love to promote the use of bicycle in daily life. If you have not heard about it, come check their website, and maybe you could start this event in your hometown!
Asturias is such a paradise to not even cycle around, but also spend some time to absorb the fresh air and take a look of the untouched nature there. If you love mountain and sea, I am sure you will love Asturias!
What unforgettable experience did you have in Asturias? Tell us your stories!