Ribadesella is a small town located in the Asturias region on the north coast of spain. The quaint little town is surrounded by imposing mountains which make up the Picos De Europa National Park. Located in the heart of Astuia, home to rugged coasts and mountains, you’ll find this picture perfect town.
Asturia is one of Spain’s lesser known regions, this does not mean it is not worth visiting; in fact – the opposite. This hidden gem of an area feels almost undiscovered. It is like a perfect little town which has not been spoiled by too much tourism.
The town is most famous for its canoeing, particularly the Descent of the Stella or ‘Les Piragües’. Once a year, this competition / festival brings people from all over the world together. This normally happens on the first Saturday in August so if you happen to be in the area then, be sure to check it out. It is meant to be quite the spectacle! As well as the canoeing competition for thousands of participants, the whole are turns into a big party with carnival parades.
Although canoeing is why it is famous, there is so much more for you to discover in Ribadesella. We hope the following list inspires you to visit this fantastic town.
1 – Hike Up To The Church On The Hill
Begin your adventures in RIbadesella by climbing up to Ermita de La Guía. This is essentially a little church perched on the tallest peak in the town. This is the perfect place to get 360 degree panoramic views of the charming town and its surrounding area. It is a fantastic look out point to pick where you want to go and visit after you descend.
The hike up to the church is not too strenuous, it takes around 15 minutes to climb up from the harbour. But prepare yourself, it is quite steep.
2 – Tito Bustillo Cave
One of the main attractions of Ribadesella is Tito’s caves. These caves are a UNESCO world heritage site and are home to some amazing prehistoric wall paintings. The caves really have to be seen to be believed, the whole place is covered in paintings of animals and people. The dates of these painting vary from 22000 – 10000 BC which is absolutely crazy to think about!
It is not possible to simply explore the caves on your own, you need to go on a set tour. These tours are not expensive, only €4.20 per adult. The guide will teach you about the cave paintings and their meaning which is incredibly interesting. We would recommend booking online in advance as tickets are fairly limited and can sell out well in advance, especially during the summer months.
3 – Santa Marina Beach
When in Ribadesella be sure to check out Playa de Santa Marina, this is the main beach in the town. We must say that this beach does not disappoint! The beach is situated right at the mouth of the river Stella where it meets the sea. Compared to the size of the town, Santa Marina beach is pretty massive, stretching 1.5km.
Lining the promenade are many beautiful grand buildings in an array of colours. This provides the perfect backdrop to the stunning golden sandy beach. The position of this beach in Ribadesella makes it a perfect location for surfing, you’ll likely see surfers if you choose to visit this beach. If you fancy giving surfing a go, there are many surf shops dotted around Ribadesella for you to rent equipment from.
If you are a van-lifer like us you’ll be happy to know that the beach has showers and toilets for you to freshen up.
4 – Old Town Centre
Wander the charming colourful streets of Ribadesella’s Old Town. Although the beach and caves draw people into the town, many forget to appreciate its town centre. The old town is located on the east of the River Stella, over the bridge from the beach. The attractive colourful buildings stand proud above the open streets.
The most interesting building in the old town is undoubtedly the Iglesia Santa Maria Magdalena. This imposing structure stands nobly right in the heart of the Old quarter. It is very recognisable with its two bell towers and a statue right between them.
The whole old town area has an easy going, relaxed feel to it. There are many restaurants and bars in this area where you can get yourself some traditional Asturian cuisine.
5 – La Cuevona de Cuevas
This attraction is about a 15 minute drive out of the centre of Ribadesella, but we promise it is definitely worth it! Also, as a bonus, you’ll be pleased to know that it is completely free.
‘La Cuevona de Cuevas’ literally translates to ‘The Cave of Caves’. If that’s not an inviting title, i don’t know what is. This is an astonishing cave tunnel which is possible to pass right through. You can go through on foot or even in your vehicle, we would recommend doing both. There is a free car park very close to the entrance of the cave. With all the classic cave goodies, such as stalagmites and stalactites it is definitely worth exploring close up for yourself.
The road to the cave is single track and pretty windy so take care on your commute.
Ribadesella is one of Spain’s hidden gems, The whole Asturian area is stunning but there is something special about this small town. It’s not overly touristy, and as a result, it truly feels like an authentic Spanish experience when visiting. We cannot recommend visiting Ribadesella enough. Although this list points out the best attractions to see in Ribadesella, part of the towns charm is simply getting lost and discovering its charms for yourself.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment down below and we will get back to you! Also if you have any suggestions of other things ‘you must see in Ribadesella’, let us know!
Whilst you’re here why not check out this road trip for the neighbouring area of the Basque Country.
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