Sandwiched between the shimmering waters of the Bay of Biscay, and the rugged mountains of Cantabria, Asturias is a place of captivating beauty and rich cultural heritage.
Located in the north of Spain, it boasts spectacular mountain ranges, picturesque coastal towns, and several notable historical landmarks preserved for centuries.
Travelers to Asturias can immerse themselves in its unique culture, sample world-renowned cuisine, and explore its rugged landscapes. They can also enjoy its beautiful architecture, revel in its excellent nightlife and make new friends with some of the most sociable locals in Spain.
If you plan on visiting the area, you’’ find plenty of things to do in Asturias while you are there. Here is our take on must-see attractions and top places to visit in the region.
Map of Things to do in Asturias, Spain
If you appreciate natural beauty, history, and culture, Luarca is somewhere you should visit. A charming small town along the Cantabrian Sea, it is famous for its lovely harbor, colorful houses, and delightful seafood restaurants.
Boasting a breathtaking location, nestled between cliffs around an S-shaped cove, a lovely thing to do here is a stroll along the promenade and harbor. You can take in the site of the vividly colored fishing boats and enjoy a meal at one of its eateries.
Luarca also has several notable attractions, including the picturesque San Timoteo Cemetery. Situated on a hill overlooking the sea, it offers stunning views of the town and shoreline.
Additionally, Villa Blanca, a palace built in the early 20th century, is now a museum showcasing the town’s rich history and culture.
Visitors can also explore the narrow streets and alleys of the Old Town, lined with historic buildings and shops selling local handicrafts. For nature enthusiasts, the breathtaking Cabo Busto Natural Park, known for its incredible landscape of rugged cliffs and verdant grassland, offers excellent hiking opportunities.
11. Cabo Vidio
Another place to visit in Asturias if you love incredible coastal views is Cabo Vidio.
Located on a beautiful headland, where the towering cliffs drop straight down to the sea, it is a prime Insta-worthy stop. You’ll want to bring your camera as it offers spectacular views of the Cantabrian Sea!
To make the most of these views, stroll along marked trails, which wind through its rough terrain. Eventually, you will get to an iconic lighthouse operating since the 19th century. Tours inside this historic structure are available should you wish to check it out.
Cabo Vidio is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, such as birds of prey, dolphins, and seals, which you should see as you walk the path.
Whilst in the area, you can also explore several archaeological sites and monuments. They include the remains of a Roman settlement and a medieval tower, which provide a fascinating insight into the area’s history.
10. Cangas de Onis
Cangas de Onis is a delightful town in the heart of the Picos de Europa National Park.
Best explored on foot, one of the town’s main attractions is the 13th-century Roman Bridge. It is a significant landmark in Asturias and one of the oldest bridges in Spain.
Additionally, visitors can explore the historical center of town, which is home to impressive buildings such as the Santa Cruz Chapel and the Palace of Cortes y Noriega. Both will charm you with their design, grace and a strong sense of history.
Nature enthusiasts can use Cangas de Onis as a perfect starting point for exploring the Picos de Europa National Park.
Rich in history and natural beauty, the park boasts craggy mountains, deep valleys, and scintillating landscapes that time has seemingly forgotten.
Visitors can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding through its stunning countryside. Moreover, the town is renowned for its traditional Asturian cuisine, which includes hearty stews, fresh seafood, and local cheeses.
9. Senda del Oso
You’ll want to hit the ‘Bear Trail’ if you enjoy hiking and biking. Also known as Senda del Oso, the trail spans some 22 kilometers and is named after the brown bears that reside in the area.
Visitors can fully immerse themselves in the region’s natural beauty, passing through charming villages, dense forests, and breathtaking gorges.
A must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts, The Senda del Oso offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, diverse wildlife, and a glimpse into the area’s cultural heritage. The Bear Procreation Center is a notable attraction along the trail. It allows visitors to observe the bears in their natural habitat while learning about conservation efforts to protect them.
The trail is also home to several cafes and restaurants serving traditional Asturian cuisine. The local delicacy is fabada asturiana (bean stew) and cider, which we enjoyed at Riellu, one of the quaint towns we stopped at.
If you find yourself on the northern coast of Asturias, visit the captivating fishing village of Cudillero. Characterized by its picturesque harbor and colourful houses, it’s another destination you’ll want to take many photos of.
Wandering through the village’s narrow streets, you’ll love the traditional fishermen’s houses with their vibrant facades. Make sure you venture up the Mirador de la Atalaya and Mirador de la Garita, as the buildings there create a striking contrast against the blue sea.
The harbor is home to a small fleet of fishing boats, and visitors can observe the fishermen unloading their daily catch. The village also boasts several small beaches ideal for swimming and sunbathing when you fancy some downtime.
If you can tear yourself away from the beaches and the village’s charming streets, visit the Palace of Selgas. It is an impressive 19th-century palace with a notable collection of art and antiques.
7. Bufones de Pría
The Bufones de Pría are a natural wonder that attracts visitors from around the globe.
Located on the coast of Asturias, these blowholes have been formed in the cliffs by the force of the sea over tens of thousands of years. During high tide, they can reach heights of up to 20 meters!
Seeing the seawater rushing through the holes and shooting into the air is a spectacular sight that displays its incredible natural power.
The cliffs have a walking path where visitors can watch as the bufones erupt in bursts and sprays. The area is also home to various bird species, such as gannets and cormorants, that are spectacular to watch as they dive from the cliffs into the sea.
Whilst we recommend any visitor to Asturias should head to The Bufones de Pría, we urge you to exercise caution and follow the posted safety guidelines. It can be treacherous during periods of rough seas.
Gijón is the largest city in Asturias. It is known for being a vibrant coastal region with rich history, cultural heritage, and stunning natural surroundings.
While it is home to several beautiful beaches, the golden sands of San Lorenzo Beach stand out as its best. Stretching for over 1.5 km, it is the perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing and walking along the shoreline.
For those wanting to engage in a bit of culture, Gijón boasts several museums. One of the most popular is the Jovellanos Museum, which showcases the life and works of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos – a famous Asturian writer.
The city is also known for its lively nightlife, with bars, clubs, and restaurants offering traditional Asturian cuisine and live music performances.
Additionally, Gijón is home to the stunning Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura. This sprawling cultural center houses a range of art exhibitions, music concerts, and theater performances throughout the year.
Llanes is another enchanting coastal town you should pencil in a visit to.
Nestled on the eastern coast of Asturias, one of the main draws here is its charming historic district, which features traditional houses, cobblestone streets, and ancient defensive walls.
The town’s architectural landmarks include the Basilica of Santa Maria, a 13th-century church renowned for its Asturian Romanesque design and impressive interior.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Llanes offers several hiking, surfing, and fishing opportunities. They take place against a spectacular backdrop of rugged cliffs, pristine beaches, and lush forests, which combine to form awe-inspiring scenery.
Foodies will also appreciate Llanes’ delicious culinary offerings. Traditional Asturian dishes like seafood stews, grilled fish, and Asturian cider are available at many cafes and restaurants around town. All of them champion local produce and are rich in aroma and flavor.
Over in the northern region of Asturias, you’ll instantly fall in love with the charming coastal town of Ribadesella.
The town’s historic center is the kind of place you’ll spend hours wandering around in a happy daze. Its lovely atmosphere and quaint side streets are filled with trendy boutiques, medieval buildings, and monuments.
It is also home to the 16th-century Palace of the Marquises of Argüelles. An impressive residence, it is notable for design features like curved steps made of marble, a bronze balustrade and a ceiling painted by the Spanish artist Mariano Benlliure.
Elsewhere, Ribadesella is also home to some incredible beaches which offer stunning turquoise waters and spectacular views. It also accommodates the Tito Bustillo Cave, a UNESCO World Heritage site that features some of the world’s finest examples of Paleolithic rock art.
As it is the capital city of the Asturias region, Oviedo is a terrific place to explore the area’s history, culture, and natural beauty.
The medieval old town is a must-see, boasting charming plazas, stunning architecture, and historic buildings. Two of its more impressive structures are the Santa María del Naranco church and Oviedo Cathedral, which feature striking facades and awe-inducing interiors.
The city has its fair share of museums, notably the Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias. It boasts a critically acclaimed collection of famous Spanish artists’ works like Goya and Velázquez.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll love the traditional Asturian dish of cachopo (a meat-filled dish). Should you happen to be in Oveideo during the middle of September, check out the San Mateo Fiestas. This raucous celebration signifies the conclusion of summer and has been a major event since Pope Eugene IV introduced it in the mid-15th century. During the festivities, folk dress up in traditional Asturian costumes, and there are free concerts, firework displays and lots of barbecues over 9 days.
Lastres is an ideal place for lovers of history and culture to visit.
A lovely fishing village best known for its picturesque harbor, narrow streets, and traditional Asturian architecture, visitors can wander through its quaint laneways and admire its historic buildings.
They include the Church of Santa María de Sábada and the House of Madera, which are fantastic examples of 16th-century and 17th-century architecture.
The village also offers breathtaking views of the coastline and the Cantabrian Sea, which you can appreciate from several lookout points and scenic walks.
If you’re interested in marine life, Lastres also has a small fishing port where you can observe the daily activities of local fishermen. You can even purchase fresh seafood at the nearby market too.
Additionally, the village is close to several gorgeous beaches, including the Playa de La Griega and Playa de La Isla. Both are popular spots for swimming, water sports and topping up your tan.
1. Lakes of Covadonga
Nestled in the breathtaking Picos de Europa National Park, you’ll find the incredible Lakes of Covadonga.
Also known as Lagos de Covadonga, these magnificent bodies of water – Enol and Ercina – are surrounded by dense forests and soaring cliffs. They provide spectacular views of mountainous landscapes that flank the area, which will take your breath away.
For those who want to hike, there are several trails you can explore. They include the famous Ruta del Cares, which winds through towering cliffs and a narrow gorge.
You can also discover the charming mountain villages of Cangas de Onis and Covadonga, renowned for their historic buildings, quaint streets, and traditional Asturian cuisine.