June 5th, 2011
Nestled on the Costa Verde – The Green Coast – of Asturias, take time out to visit Llanes in the extreme East….where you’ll discover an active port, a dizzy cliff-top walk, stunning white sand beaches, turquoise sea, sparkling cider…..and did I mention the cheese? Yes, please.
One of the most picturesque fishing ports in all of Spain, Llanes is a lively busy harbour, with a collection of red roofed houses and buildings its body – and the long cliff-top walk its arms. Walk along the cliff-top, stretching over 800m, a watch-point for the town and the Cantabrian sea surrounding it. All of this and on the doorstep of the Natural Park of the Picos de Europa too!
Look out for a couple of interesting plaques, one commemorates the 65 Llanes sailors who were part of the Spanish Armada, no less than 3 of the ships for that voyage were fitted out here:
- Santa Ana
- San Nicolas
The other plaque to look out for tells you of the time that Emperor Charles V stayed a couple of nights way back in 1517. Can’t guarantee YOUR name engraved for posterity, but you can follow in his footsteps and book a holiday in this lovely area! Do have a browse through these attractive Asturian houses.
What’s to see?…
The Historic quarter has been declared a Historic – Artistic site, unsurprisingly given the 300m of Pre – Romanesque wall. Find the Castle tower and you will also discover the tourist office – perfect for picking up leaflets for information on what’s on while you’re there. Don’t miss the Posada Herrera which has been transformed into the Municipal Arts Centre, or the Basilica de Santa María del Conceyu - Nuestra Señora del Conceyu is also the Patron Saint, celebrated every year on August 15th. Other fiestas celebrated here include:
- July – La Magdalena
- August – San Roque
- September – La Guía
……..And to do?
Underground, overground - Llanes and the surrounding district has something for everyone – whether you like action filled days or lazy days. The caves are a prime example, and the Cueva Bolado near La Pereda has some ancient artwork in the form of cave paintings as well as lots of tunnels to explore.
For an afternoon battering the credit card, Llanes is full of delightful shops many of them traditional and a delight to visit. I must mention the unfortunately named Art and Craft centre, it’s called Poo – really – and located at the Antiguas Escuelas – designed to keep traditional arts in the town, you can watch articles being made and crafted, and have the opportunity to buy them there as well.
Open Monday to Thursday 10:00 – 14:30 and 17:00 – 20:00
If it’s beaches you like – and I do! – there are too many too mention, a few of the best include:
Toro, Las Camáres, Barro, Xighu, Torimbia, Vialago…….
Criteria? soft white sand, clear turquoise waters, you get the picture!
And so to supper…
You don’t have to be an Affineur to appreciate the cheese selection of this region. Don’t wait until after dinner for the cheeseboard! The Green Coast produces the best cheese in Spain, the only difficulty is which to choose! The main types are:
- Taramundi – a raw cow and goats milk cheese
- Afuega lṔitu – a cows milk cheese laced with chilli! Also known as ‘the fire in the gut’.
- Cabrales – The best known – a blue veined goats cheese.
Do try Solomillo a Cabrales, a steak smothered in a melted mixture of white wine, cream and paprika…hello cholesterol.
Fabada of course, that white bean and meat stew of Asturias, a great lunchtime treat with a cold beer.
And talking beer, in Asturias it has to be Sidra, or cider….another dish inspired by this local export is Merluza a la Sidra – hake in a delicious cider sauce.
The Natural Park
Do take some time out to explore the Natural Park of the Picos de Europa, literally the Peaks of Europe, which form the magnificent backdrop for Llanes and the area. This is the largest area of Natural Park in the whole of Spain. Flora and Fauna are abundant, of the former you will see Oak, Holm Oak, Beech and Holly, of the latter expect to see Griffon Vulture, Roe Deer, Mountain Cat and if you are really lucky – Capercaille - the emblem of the Picos de Europa. On the other hand, if you’re unlucky, you might meet a Cantabrian Brown Bear! Happy hunting!