The Ultimate 5 to 7 Days in Asturias Itinerary

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by Neota Langley


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Discover the secret side of Spain by planning a 5 to 7 days in Asturias itinerary. The official slogan is  “Asturias, paraíso natural” (Asturias, natural paradise) and there is no better way to describe this region on the north coast of Spain.

A real hidden gem, this region is well and truly off the beaten track. You won’t find the usual crowded beaches synonymous with Spain here, this is where the Spanish spend their holidays. Gastronomical delights paired with incredible vistas, endless hiking trails and pristine beaches.

Spend your days exploring the local gems before settling in to indulge in the region’s famed Asturian cider, smoky bean stews, and fresh seafood harvested from its abundant coastal waters.

How Many Days in Asturias?

Asturias is a region covering over 10,000 square kilometres so deciding how long you need to get the most out of the area can be tricky.

You could easily spend endless weeks and months delving into the beauty and history of this region but 5 to 7 days is the sweet spot for an adventurous holiday into the hidden side of Spain that you will never forget.  

With 5 days in Asturias, you will have plenty of time to visit traditional Spanish fishing villages, vibrant cities and head inland to discover the dramatic Picos De Europa National Park. Hike your way through the mountains and watch the sunset over the cliffs on the wild coastline.

For the first 5 days of our Asturias itinerary, we will be focused on the eastern side of the region, slowly traversing towards the west. You won’t have time to see everything this region has to offer but by following this itinerary, you’ll get to visit the hotspots. 

If you have additional time to spend in Spain and want to extend your holiday to 7 days, this will give you a little more time to delve deeper. Discover the far reaches of the region in the lesser-known national park Somiedo and explore the coastline along the western edge of Asturias, bordering Galicia.

Gulpiyuri Beach in Asturias
Gulpiyuri Beach in Asturias

Getting To & Around Asturias

Asturias is a more off-the-beaten-path destination, making it perfect for those seeking an authentic sense of adventure, but does this mean it is harder to get to and around?

While public transport links may not be as plentiful as the more built up regions, it is still possible to visit, especially with local tours such as this full-day tour that pick you up and whisk you away deep into the mountains, no car required.

However, if you want to travel independently and follow the route outlined below, then it’s going to be necessary to have your own vehicle to get around the region. You can browse Rentalcars.com to compare prices for hire cars across several companies.

To reach Asturias, you have several options. If you are travelling from further afield, you will most likely be boarding an aeroplane.

There is an airport in Asturias itself but it is very small and only offers a handful of destination options so you may have to make use of the nearby Santander Airport or the larger Madrid airport then either hire a car or use public transport to reach your final destination.

If you are already in Europe, you can take a train to Asturias from most major cities in Spain. The biggest train station in Asturias is in Oviedo, providing easy access to the rest of the region from cities like Madrid. You can browse schedules here.

Buses also connect various Spanish cities to Asturias. If you are visiting during the off-season however it is worth noting there will be a reduced service so make sure to check up-to-date timetables before heading off. 

If you’re coming from the UK or Ireland, you can take a ferry to Santander or Bilbao and then drive or take public transportation to Asturias. This ferry takes 31 hrs however so it is by no means the fastest route. This does mean you could bring your own vehicle however, perfect if you are travelling by campervan. 

If you are an avid hiker, you will have heard of the pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago. This famous long distance hike traverses the northern half of Spain from the mountains of the Pyrenees to the city of Santiago De Compostela. The Northern Way (Camino del Norte) passes through Asturias, offering a unique way to explore the area.

Streets of Aviles
Streets of Avilés

5 to 7-Day Asturias Itinerary

This region has it all, plenty of high-octane adventures for the adrenaline seekers and endless beaches for those who prefer to sit back and relax with a glass of local sidra and some delicious tapas. 

Day 1 – Explore the East Coast

There’s so much to see and do along the Asturian coast. Endless beaches, dramatic cliffs, quaint fishing villages and hillside olive groves. The best way to see as much as possible is by taking a full day meandering along the coastal road on the ultimate Asturias road trip.

Lastres 

Perched on steep cliffs, Lastres is a charming fishing village straight out of a storybook. Breathtaking views of the Cantabrian Sea, blending maritime charm with dramatic landscapes.

Wander through cobbled streets, taking in the colourful houses adorned with vibrant flowers while fishing boats bob gently in the harbour.

Lastres is a haven for seafood enthusiasts, offering fresh catches at seaside restaurants. For the best views of the village, along the coastline and even across to the Picos de Europa mountain range, drive up to the Mirador de San Roque viewpoint.

Ribadesella

Another picturesque town along the coast, cradled between the Cantabrian Sea and the imposing Sierra del Sueve mountains, Ribadesella is home to cobbled streets adorned with traditional Asturian architecture, landmarks like the Church of Santa Maria and pristine sandy beaches, including the renowned Santa Marina Beach.

As you would expect from another fishing village, the cuisine on offer here is based around fresh seafood. Ribadesella is also a gateway to nature, with plenty of nearby excursions, hikes and cultural experiences such as exploring the stunning Tito Bustillo Caves, a UNESCO World Heritage site showcasing prehistoric art.

Santa Marina beach in Ribadesella
Santa Marina beach in Ribadesella

Bufones de Pria

A true natural spectacle, these sea geysers send powerful jets of water high into the air, accompanied by an exhilarating symphony of echoing roars. Carved into chimneys in the cliff by the relentless force of the Cantabrian sea, these blowholes are mesmerising to watch. 

The best time to visit is at high tide, especially on a wild stormy day. This is when you will get the best show but this beautiful stretch of coastline is still worth visiting regardless of the tide and the weather. 

Gulpiyuri Beach

There are endless rocky coves, sandy beaches and harbours along this varied coastline. It’s difficult to pick just one to visit but the most intriguing by far is the Playa de Gulpiyuri. It is a true hidden gem. Technically classed as an ‘inland beach’ this natural marvel is tucked between limestone cliffs.

Gulpiyuri is a small, circular inlet connected to the Cantabrian Sea through underground caves. The turquoise waters gently lap against a small area of golden shore, a true tranquil oasis surrounded by lush greenery.

Llanes

The final destination on our road trip along the east coast and the most convenient place to stay for the next 3 nights is Llanes. Llanes’ historic centre is truly enchanting, home to mediaeval architecture and the iconic Cubes of Memory, a modern art installation overlooking the sea.

Wander through cobbled streets, discovering quaint shops and traditional cider houses. Then, after indulging in the catch of the day, the best way to end the day is by taking a stroll to watch the sunset at one of the many beautiful sandy beaches accessible from the village including Playa de Toro and Playa de Sablón.

Town of Llanes
Town of Llanes
Where to Stay in Llanes

Don Paco – A cosy hotel in a converted convent, this is a great mid-range option in Llanes. They have free parking, double and family rooms available, an on-site restaurant and bar and a fab breakfast daily.

Apartamentos Turísticos Llanes – These apartments are a good choice for those after their own flat in Llanes. There are one-bedroom and studio options available, some with balconies or terraces.

Albergue La Estación – An excellent budget option, this hostel has a great, central location, kitchen facilities, a living room and dorms and private rooms available.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Llanes hotels!

Day 2 – Hiking in the Picos De Europa

Ruta del Cares

Easily one of the most unique hikes in the whole of Europe, this route that weaves along the side of the Picos de Europa mountains is one you will never forget.

The most popular section starts in Poncebos, continuing for 12km until you reach Caín. It’s an out-and-back, 24 km full-day hike but if you wanted to do a shorter walk, you could easily turn around halfway. 

The route runs through the deep-sided Cares River gorge, the path precariously perched on the side of the cliff, tunnelling through caves, ancient bridges and past abandoned villages alongside plenty of mountain goats.

There really is no other hike quite like it, every corner you turn is jaw-dropping. It’s worth noting, the deep ravines, narrow paths and sheer drops are best suited to hikers with a good head for heights. 

Head back to Llanes for the evening after your hike. There may be minimal elevation gain on the hike but 24 km is a fair distance so you are bound to have worked up an appetite. Settle in for an evening in one of Llanes’ many restaurants and rest before heading back into the mountains on day 3.     

Hiking in Picos de Europa
Hiking in the Picos de Europa

Day 3 – Covadonga

Covadonga 

Nestled deep within the Picos de Europa range, Covadonga is a hidden mountain village near the with a profound cultural and spiritual significance. You can get here by this full-day tour or this full-day tour if you’re not driving.

The focal point is the Covadonga Sanctuary, a historical building cut into the side of a rock face where the Basilica of Santa María la Real and the Holy Cave pay homage to the legendary Battle of Covadonga in 722 CE. 

The village itself is fairly small, with just one restaurant, a smattering of local homes and a few hotels. It is worth stopping in Covadonga to visit the Sanctuary but the main reason we have led you up this winding mountain road is our next stop, the Lakes of Covadonga.

Going to or from the village, make sure to make a stop in the nearby Cangas de Onís municipality where you can see the beautiful Roman Bridge in the village.

Lagos de Covadonga

Surrounded by lush meadows and craggy peaks, you will find two pristine glacial lakes—Enol and Ercina. Casting mirror perfect reflections of the limestone mountains that tower above them, these lakes are truly breathtaking. 

There is a short hike over the hill to view both lakes but if you want to explore more of this area’s endless natural beauty, this is the starting point for several excellent longer hikes. This is the perfect place to take a picnic, especially when the sun is shining – the grassy hillside provides excellent mountain views, ideal for enjoying some local cold meats, cheese (including the noteworthy Cabrales Cheese) and wine. 

During the summer months the Covadonga lakes are only accessible via shuttle bus from the village of Covadonga. Outside of the peak tourism season, you can drive up in your own vehicle. 

After another day exploring the best of the Picos de Europa National Park, it’s time to head back to Llanes. This is your last evening in this picturesque coastal town so if you are a food enthusiast, tonight is the perfect night to go all out in the town’s Michelin Star restaurant El Retiro. A family run restaurant with a keen focus on traditional Asturian cuisine, cooked to perfection.   

Covadonga
Lagos de Covadonga

Day 4 – Gijón

San Lorenzo Beach

Our itinerary continues in the region’s largest city, Gijon. Perched along the coast, right in the centre of the region this maritime city is the central hub of Asturias. Here you will get a real feel for the more metropolitan side of the region, indulge in delicious Spanish cuisine and discover the history of this mediaeval city.  

Take a leisurely morning walk to San Lorenzo Beach, one of Gijón’s most iconic stretches of sand. The sea breeze, lapping waves, and the stunning views of the Bay of Biscay. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider a refreshing morning swim or simply relax with a cup of ‘cafe con leche’ on the golden sands.

Cimavilla

Cimavilla, the historic old town of Gijón is not to be missed. Explore its narrow streets filled with charming local stores and restaurants.

Try a traditional sidrería for lunch, where you can taste the local cider and indulge in Asturian specialities like fabada (bean stew) or fresh seafood dishes caught that morning off the coast. There are multiple museums, galleries and the 18th-century Revillagigedo Palace to explore throughout the afternoon. 

For unbeatable views of the bay, especially as the sun begins to set, take a stroll up the cobbled paths and through the lush green park to Santa Catalina hill. At the summit you will find Elogio del Horizonte, created by the sculptor Eduardo Chillida. This is the perfect place to enjoy a tranquil escape from the urban bustle. 

After watching the sunset, it’s time to explore the vibrant nightlife scene here in the region’s largest city. Explore the bars and pubs around Plaza Mayor and Cimavilla for a taste of the local nightlife. From traditional Asturian cider houses to modern cocktail bars, there is something to suit everyone. 

To make the most out of the city and its nightlife, you will want to find accommodation in or around Gijon. Because of its central position, you could easily opt to stay in this coastal city for the rest of your trip. 

Gijon Marina
Gijón Marina
Where to Stay in Gijón

Hotel Alcomar – Overlooking the seaside promenade, this hotel has plenty of comfortable rooms on offer along with a daily breakfast, 24-hour reception and a bar for guests to enjoy.

El Môderne Hotel – A chic, modern hotel in the centre of Gijón, there are double rooms and suites to choose from. There is also a daily buffet breakfast and a fitness centre.

Apartamentos Bahia San Lorenzo – These seafront apartments are a great self-catering option in Gijón. There are one- and two-bedroom flats on offer and the property has a lot of amenities to offer guests.

Gijón Surf Hostel – Centrally located in Gijón, this hostel is great for backpackers. There are several dorms to choose from along withe nice communal areas and a shared kitchen to prepare meals.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Gijón hotels!

Day 5 – Oviedo

Oviedo Old Town

The official capital city of the Asturias region, Oviedo is another picturesque city that you don’t want to miss. With traditional stone houses, flower-filled courtyards, and narrow winding streets, you would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to a bygone era.

Begin your day by strolling through the charming streets of Oviedo either independently or on a walking tour. Admiring the rustic architecture along the way.

Visit the central square, Plaza de Alfonso II and marvel at the 8th-century Cathedral of San Salvador. This sacred site has undergone various transformations over the centuries, blending Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance influences.

You can also take in the lovely Plaza del Fontán, another gorgeous square in the city.

Oviedo Town Hall
Oviedo Town Hall

Oviedo’s Countryside

Oviedo is not a coastal city but what it lacks in ocean views, it makes up for with lush countryside, rolling hills and towering mountains on the horizon.

You can either head out into the pastures beyond the city streets for a relaxing stroll or, for some green spaces within the city itself, head to the central Park San Francisco. 

If you choose to head outside of the city centre, than make sure to make a stop at the Iglesia de San Miguel de Lillo, a 9th-century church that is absolutely beautiful. Nearby, there is the Iglesia de Santa María del Naranco, also constructed in the 9th century.

Visit a Sidrería

Asturias is synonymous with sidra (Spanish for cider), a drink made from fermented apples. This historic beverage is part of the foundations of this region, and is part of local culture and folk law.

If you have reached day 5 of this itinerary and have not yet sampled a glass, Oviedo is the place to do it. Gascona is a street right in the centre of the city, full of traditional Sidrerías.

Make sure to watch the bar person pour the sidra, it’s usually done from a great height to create bubbles and can be quite the spectacle. 

If you have 5 days to devote to your itinerary for Asturias, Oviedo is the perfect place to end your trip. From here, you have convenient access to airports and public transport options for your onward journey. 

Pouring sidra in Asturias
Pouring cider in Asturias

Day 6 – Somiedo Mountains

Somiedo

Located about 1.5 hours from Gijón, Somiedo is an incredible area to explore on a road trip through Asturias.

Declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, this enchanting natural park is home to towering mountains, emerald lakes and traditional stone villages hidden amongst the hills. You can also take an organised tour here from Gijón or Oviedo.

This area is a haven for hikers, with endless trails to discover, meandering their way through dramatic landscapes, mountain villages and lush green valleys.

Lakes of Saliencia

The Lakes of Saliencia include three glacial lakes, perched high in the Somiedo mountains. The Valle del Lago route is a 11km day hike that leads you from the Alto la Farrapona car park through meadows and ancient forest to reach all three of the emerald lakes.

The elevation profile is moderate at just over 400m. Beyond these lakes, there is another, hidden up in a mountain combe. You could easily extend your walk to also include Lago del Valle but this will add another 8 km and over 600m of elevation. 

Lakes of Saliencia
Lakes of Saliencia

Pola de Somiedo

Spanish mountain villages have a certain charm to them, cobbled streets, old stone buildings and the friendliest locals. Pola de Somiedo is no exception, a quaint village in a breathtaking setting.

If you didn’t pack a picnic for your hike, this is a great place to grab a bite to eat before heading back into the mountains to discover the traditional stone cabins.

Brañas

Wandering through the Somiedo National Park, you are likely to spot groups of small huts, scattered around lush pastures. These tiny houses were once used as shelters for shepherds who farmed these alpine meadows, usually with a flock of goats, sheep or cattle.

These alpine meadows, known as “brañas,” were rich in nutrients and had plenty of natural water sources but the unpredictable nature of the weather in mountainous regions meant the shepherds needed shelter, a home away from home. These thatched cottages, known as ‘teitos’, make the perfect place to hide out from the storms. 

There are several hiking trails that lead you to these abandoned mini villages but the most noteworthy are Saliencia, Mumián and Pornacal.

From here, you can either return to Gijón for the evening or opt to change accommodation to somewhere along the west coast. Cudillero is a beautiful small fishing town or you could head to the slightly larger Luarca.

Day 7 – West Coast of Asturias

Most of the sites on this day can be visited as part of an organised tour if you’re not driving.

Avilés

Avilés is the third largest city in Asturias, after Gijón and Oviedo. The historical centre unfolds like a living museum, perfectly preserved mediaeval streets, buildings and the highlight, Plaza Mayor, surrounded by architectural gems like the Palacio de Ferrera and the Church of San Nicolás.

A captivating blend of the old and the new, Avilés is the perfect place to start your day before heading west along the coastline. Tuck into a fresh flaky pastry and a cup of coffee on the harbour before taking a stroll through the cobbled streets. Don’t forget to look up, the architecture here is particularly special. 

Cudillero

Our next stop on this trip to Asturias is the picture postcard village of Cudillero. A maze of colourful buildings adorned with vibrant flowers make up this little fishing village, built into the side of a steep hillside on the Cantabrian Sea.

Its narrow, winding streets lead to a bustling harbour filled with fishing boats and seafood restaurants. The iconic viewpoint, La Garita, offers a panoramic vista of the village and the Bay of Biscay. You can either climb up the metal staircase to the viewpoint from the harbour or, you can park in the car park at the top of the hill. 

Village of Cudillero
Village of Cudillero

Playa del Silencio

It wouldn’t be a coastal road trip without stopping in at one of the incredible beaches along the route. There are beaches along the Asturian coastline to suit everyone, from long stretches of white sands and turquoise waters to town beaches, close to amenities. 

Playa del Silencio is a real hidden gem, tucked away at the base of towering cliffs. Whilst this may not be the best beach for swimming and the shores are full of pebbles not soft white sand, this cove is one of the most spectacular on the entire north coast of Spain.

It is truly unique and could easily be mistaken for a screenshot from Jurassic Park. Huge cliffs covered in dense shrubs and if you are lucky, you may even spot the gigantic European Vultures flying overhead. 

To access this beach, you will have to walk down the side of the cliff – but don’t worry, there is a pathway with sturdy metal bannisters to hold onto.

Luarca

Known as the “White Town on the Green Coast,” due to its natural setting and white buildings, Luarca is home to pristine beaches, a working harbour, and a charming old town. 

Before you lose the daylight, make sure to visit the Gardens of the Fonte Baxa. This botanical garden is the largest private botanical garden in Spain and is home to thousands of plant species as well as sculptures and water fountains.

This is the perfect place to end our road trip, especially if you happen to be passing through at dinner time, you don’t want to miss out on the locally caught seafood and traditional Asturian dishes. As the light fades, take an after-dinner stroll along the harbour. The atmospheric sparkling lights of the village to your right and the gentle sway of the ocean to your left. 

Have More Time?

If you have more than a week in Asturias, there are endless options to extend your stay. If you are an avid hiker, climber, mountain biker or general outdoor enthusiast, you may want to base yourself in the Picos de Europa National Park for longer than the 2 days in this itinerary.

Kayak or canoe your way down the famous Rio Sella River – originating in the Picos, you can travel the entire way down the river to the Cantabrian Sea. If you want to explore more of this mountain range, Potes is an excellent base. 

From the mountains to the sea, if you would prefer to spend your extra time exploring hidden coves, colourful fishing villages and the bustling towns along the coast, there are plenty of options. Visit the tiny port of Ortiguera, with its slate-roofed fisherman’s cottages amongst vegetable gardens or explore more of the many beaches.

Playa de Rodiles is considered to be not just one of the best beaches in Asturias but in the whole of Spain. Visit the white sands of the (optional) naturist beach, Playa de Torimbia or go off the beaten track to the smaller Playa de San Antonio.  

You could also continue either east or west to explore other regions in Northern Spain, including Galicia to the west or the Basque Country to the east, where you can visit historic cities or eat local cuisine in cities like San Sebastian.

View of San Sebastian from Monte Igeldo
View of San Sebastian from Monte Igeldo

Visiting the North of Spain feels as if you have stumbled upon one of the best-kept secrets in Europe. Asturias is home to the real trifecta, charming mediaeval towns and cities, rugged mountains and an incredible, varied coastline.

There is something in this region to suit everybody and, after a day of exploring, you get to tuck into some of the world’s best food. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Are you planning to visit Asturias? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!

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Neota Langley

Neota is a writer for The World Was Here First. Born and bred in Cornwall, she can usually be found with hiking boots on, ready to embark on an adventure. For the last 6 years, she has travelled throughout Europe in her self-built campervan with her trusty canine companion, Ivy. She loves exploring France, the Nordics and spending time in Alpine destinations.

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