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The Bizarre Beach of Gulpiyuri

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The coast around Llanes is well-known as one of the most stunning areas in Spain, and during a recent trip there, we sought out one of the features which makes it special: Gulpiyuri beach.

Gulpiyuri

Gulpiyuri’s name isn’t its only bizarre facet: this beach is found completely inland, in a gorgeous little cove which looks like something out of a fantasy. I kept expecting to see Christopher Atkins and Brooke Shields rolling around on the sand, making out. The Cantabrian Sea bored through the earth to create this sandy spot, and though you can’t see the ocean, its waves to lap the shore just like any beach. Like a magical wave pool.

We sat here for a half hour, taking in the cove’s beauty and eating bocadillos. Our dog Chucky came along for this road trip, and though Gulpiyuri’s odd allure was probably lost on her, she seemed to enjoy the sand.

Location of Gulpiyuri Beach on our Day Trips Map

Inland Beach
Weird Beach
French Bulldog
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October 20, 2010 at 12:44 pm Comments (12)

Driving around the Cabo Peñas

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Hotels in Luanco

Jutting out into the Cantabrian sea, Cabo Peñas (the Cape of Rocks) is the most northern point in Asturias and an area of incredible natural beauty. We spent the day driving around the coast, from Luanco to the Lighthouse of San Juan de Nieva.

Asturien

Cabo Peñas is a short drive from Oviedo. The seaside village of Luanco on the eastern side of the cape is the district’s largest town and a great place to prepare excursions; the tourist office was really friendly, and helped us plan a great itinerary for the day. There’s a lot to see in Luanco, including the beach, an odd clock tower, and the gorgeous Iglesia de Santa María, which has been declared an artistic historic monument. Luanco is famous for an annual Beach Tennis Tournament, which draws the most famous stars in the country.

Heading northwest from Luanco along the coast, our first stop was at the beach and mines of Llumeres. The iron mines have long been abandoned, but the sand, water and stones on the beach are forever tainted with a bright red hue. The fear of contamination doesn’t deter all Asturians; about 4 fishermen had their lines in the unnaturally colored water.

Next, we drove up to the lighthouse of Cabo Peñas, which has been guarding the coast since 1852. The first floor of the lighthouse has been converted into a Maritime Museum, which costs just a euro and introduces visitors to life on the Cantabrian sea. The museum is okay, but the real highlight is walking along the cliffs, behind the lighthouse. We were there on a windy, rainy day, which lent dramatic weight to the landscape.

After our cliff-side stroll, we were starving, and so headed out in search of food. Not the easiest prospect on an off-season Tuesday, but we found an excellent meal at Bar Linares on the expansive Playa de Xagó. €8 for a huge plate of beans with ham, fried hake, bread, wine and arroz con leche for dessert. Three years in Spain, and I still can’t get over the value of lunchtime menus. This restaurant was great; though it doesn’t look like much, both the food and the proximity to the beach were excellent.

The final stop on our journey was the Lighthouse of San Juan de Nieva, on the easternmost tip of the cape. Huge barges passed close by, into the port of Avilés. By now the rain had picked up and we were getting soaked, but this was another impressive sight.

There was a lot more to Cabo Peñas which we didn’t get a chance to explore, but it was a full day and we were exhausted by the time we got back home. If you’ve got an extra time during your stay in Asturias, definitely consider it for an excellent day trip.

Cabo Peñas on our Asturias Day Trip Map

Luanco
Iglesia del Santa Maria
Spanish Flirt
Rain in Spain
Rain Twig
Rain Scream
Sidra Table
Bar La Rula
Blue Boat
Porto Luanco
Water Beast
Surfing Asturias
Iron Mine
red Rain
Red Wave
Playa Asturias
Fog Horn
Lighthouse Cabo Peñas
Spanish Pussy
rain cloud
Cabo Peñas
Costa Verde
Atlantic
Asturias
Barca
Steam Boat
Black and White Beach
Waves Asturias

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October 11, 2010 at 6:56 pm Comments (2)

Ribadesella

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Looking for a Hotel in Ribadesella?

We were first introduced to this small seaside village during the madness of the Descenso del Sella, when over 300,000 revelers use an annual boat race as an excuse to party. With so much going on, we had no chance to see the town, and so went back.

Ribadesella

The river Sella, winding through the mountains on its way to the sea, is the dominant feature of this town of 6000 inhabitants. A popular summertime destination, Ribadesella quiets down completely during the fall. We were able to see the main sights within a few hours, and often felt completely alone.

The highlight of the day was walking to the Hermitage of La Guía, high on a hill, with a vantage over both the city and the ocean. With its canons still pointed to the sea, this was an important defensive point back in the day. Along with the canons, a small chapel with a couple pews and a wall full of model boats, still remains.

Ribadesella is most famous for the Cave of Tito Bustillo, with wall paintings from 11,000 to 22,000 BC. Sounds neat, although we wouldn’t know. Apparently, only a limited number of tourists are allowed in every day. Despite our inquiring about the caves at two different offices, no one saw fit to mention that. Frustrating, but let our loss be your gain: make reservations, or show up early.

Regardless, Ribadesella is beautiful. We finished the day with a long walk along the beach, alternately praising the elegance of the beach-side houses, and venting our frustration about the caves. But it was a fun day, and we can definitely recommend it for an easy, memorable day trip.

Location of Ribadesella on our Day Trips Map

Asturias Painting
Oldtown Ribadesella
Church Asturias
Nature Ribadesella
Ribadesella Cliffs
Hermitage-de-La-Guia
Guia-Ribadesella
Seaman Church
Natural Pool
Lizard
Mirador Asturias
Coast Asturias
Fishing Asturias
Boat Parking
Fishing Ribadesella
Playa Ribadesella
Ribadesella Spain
Villa Rosario

Calatrava in Valencia

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October 2, 2010 at 8:06 pm Comments (3)

Hiking the Ruta Naviega

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A popular hiking trail connects Barayo Beach to the town of Navia, about twenty kilometers away. Especially for fans of cliffs, seaside villages and hidden beaches, it’s a long walk through paradise.

The Ruta Naviega is a well-marked trail, with yellow and white stripes leading the way. We began at the river Barayo, a small stream which eventually ends at a beach of the same name, popular with nudists. From here, it was a five-hour hike westward along the coast. We encountered very few people, and aside from some horses, cows, spiders and a snake, saw little wildlife. The cliffs were our only companions, and it was as solitary as I’ve ever felt in Spain.

After a couple hours of walking, we took a short break in Puerto de Vega, a charming fishing village. The port is the center of activity, with fishermen were working on their nets and retired men playing cards at the nearby bar. The only women we saw were modestly dressed matrons, leaning out the windows of their apartments to carry on shouted conversations with one another. It was as though we had been transported back in time a few generations.

Near the trail’s end in Navia, we found a long staircase carved into the cliff, leading to a beach called the Playa del Moro. We had been hiking all day, and the steps were steep and long enough to nearly deter us. But, reasoning (correctly) that we’d never have another chance, we dutifully sucked it up and went down. I’m glad we did. With a deep cave and powerful waves splashing upon the rocks, it was a neat discovery.

In Navia, we didn’t do anything except collapse into the first bar we found. It looked like a neat town and probably merited exploration, but that was something we just didn’t have the energy for.

Hiking in Spain

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August 27, 2010 at 5:57 pm Comments (2)

Day Trip to Gijón

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Are you looking for a Hotel in Gijón?

Everything I’d read about Gijón, the largest city in Asturias, described it as “industrial” or “working-class”, so we arrived fearing that it’d be boring. But we needn’t have worried: Gijón is beautiful, full of students, lively bars and charming plazas. We spent the day walking around the old town center, the Cimavilla, admiriing monuments, plazas and incredible old buildings. The weather was great and the streets were full with young people sitting on whatever piece of stone was available.

Playa San Lorenzo

In the middle of the city is the beach of San Lorenzo, which stretches along the coast for over a kilometer. Though a lot of people were swimming, I wasn’t about to join in after experiencing the ice cold water at the Playa del Silencio. We also walked around the docks on the other side of Cimavilla and grabbed a bottle of cider in one of the city’s many sidrerías.

Gijón is much bigger than Oviedo, and the few hours we spent there during our first visit weren’t nearly enough to conduct a thorough exploration of its streets. No bother. It’s just 30 minutes by train from Oviedo, and we returned often. This is the kind of city which needs to be discovered slowly. On subsequent visits, we discovered the Park of Santa Catalina, a beautiful green area at the top of the city with a famous sculpture called “Elogio del Horizonte”, and the Termas Romanas, Thermal Baths built in the 1st Century by the Romans.

Location on our Asturias Map

Lady Stoner
Kiosk People
Fontan Out of Control
Calle Leon Gijon
Passaje Gijon
Pharmacia Gijon
Bar Carmen Gijon
Jesus on a Roof
Christus Gijon
Architecture Gijon
shadow beach
Snow on the beach
Beach Summer Gijon
Beach San Lorenzo
Abstract Beach
Castle on the beach
Asturian Mansion
Asturian Curtains
Beach Cross
Gijon Cathedral
Cathedral Gijon
Sailing Club Gijon
Plaza Gijon
Urban Art Gijon
Where did the Sidra Go
Sidra Gijon
Tostas Gijon
Sunny Alley Gijon
Snow in Gijon
Sailing in Gijon
Bubble Balls Gijon
Nordeste Gijon
Making out in Gijon
Boat in Wall Gijon
Sunning Gijon
Cute Bar Gijon
Gijon Face
Fury Coat Spain
Holy Sailor
Gijon For Lovers
Casa Fernando Gijon
Palace Gijon
villa hill gijon
Hungry for Pigeon
Souvenirs Gijon
Sac Player Asturias

Visit the Alhambra in Granada

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August 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm Comments (13)

La Playa del Silencio

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Despite the overcast weather on Saturday, we decided to check out the evocatively named Playa del Silencio: the Beach of Silence. After a 40 minute drive from Oviedo, access to the beach can be found in the tiny village of Castañeras (here).

This was our first excursion in Asturias, and immediately we were struck by the beautiful nature which the region possesses. The N-632 highway ends in Galicia and, on the way, winds its way along the Asturian coast, over rivers and in view of the sea. There’s a lot more vegetation than I had expected, and the old industrial towns and shuttered-up housing we passed provided a romantic, meloncholic air.

The beach was amazing. An inlet trapped between cliffs, the water was still, crystal clear and as silent as it named promised. I was kicking myself for not having goggles or, even better, a wet-suit. Turns out the water of Spain’s northern coast is freezing, even in summer. The few Asturians who were on the beach didn’t seem to mind, jumping in without hesitation, but they were probably warmed up by cider. Besides, I was still accustomed to Valencia and the lukewarm Mediterranean. But I stiffened my lip, and leapt into the sea, managing to stay in for a grand total of twenty seconds.

Now we’ll let the pictures of this hidden Asturian spot speak for themselves. Definitely worth an outing!

Location on our Asturias Map

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August 2, 2010 at 3:27 pm Comments (9)
The Bizarre Beach of Gulpiyuri The coast around Llanes is well-known as one of the most stunning areas in Spain, and during a recent trip there, we sought out one of the features which makes it special: Gulpiyuri beach.
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