Ribadesella, A Gem on the Asturian Coast

Recently, while going through my Instagram, Mario commented sardonically, “You didn’t like Asturias much, did you?” True enough, there are six consecutive photos of Asturian scenery, along with one delicious tomato and sardine salad we enjoyed during our two-day stay there. I couldn’t help it! Asturias was everything I adore: beaches inspiring awestruck silence and wonder, mist-covered mountain ranges, the sounds of bleating sheep and barking hunting dogs, dangerously tortuous mountain roads, and the ringing of autochthonous cows’ bells while they munched happily on the local vegetation. So sue me—I loved Asturias!

Ribadesella (Asturian: Ribeseya) was one of our first stops after our brief pause in Burgos.

Asturias Ribadesella

Ribadesella was founded by Alfonso X The Wise—the King of Castile, León, and Galicia—in the 13th century. During the Middle Ages, the village thrived thanks to shipyards using the wood brought down the Sella River as well as maritime trade, especially of sea salt (which much of Spain used and still uses to preserve fish). But the most profitable activity was catching and selling salmon and the whales wintering there. Salmon was a much-prized fish, especially on royals’ tables.

Asturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa Marina

If you stroll along promenade around the Playa de Santa Marina, you’ll see lots of colorful houses built by those who had gone to the Americas to get rich and came back flush with cash.

Asturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa MarinaAsturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa Marina

Of course, I had to get a shot of this abuelo fishing. I have a soft spot in my heart for Spanish grandpas (whether they actually have grandchildren or not). They often stroll with their hands clasped behind their backs, sit in groups when it’s sunny and gossip with their friends, and possess an impressive number of hats. They are pretty much la leche, if you catch my drift.

Asturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa Marina

We climbed a nearby cliff and got an impressive glimpse of the waters hitting the rocks.

Asturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa MarinaAsturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa MarinaAsturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa MarinaAsturias Ribadesella Playa de Santa Marina

Can I go back now?

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3 thoughts on “Ribadesella, A Gem on the Asturian Coast

  1. Did y’all get a chance to hit up the Cueva de Tito Bustillo when y’all were there? The roommates and I stopped off in Ribadesella on our road trip back in November, and the prehistoric cave art in the Tito Bustillo cave was one of the highlights of our trip.

    I really love that shot you took of the Sella River curving around before it empties into the Bay of Biscay—I wanted to get a similar Instagram picture-perfect view but there wasn’t enough time and we wanted to get moving to Luanco!

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