The nature and climate of Asturias
Asturias is bordered on the east by Cantabria, on the west by Galicia, on the south by Castile León, and on the north by the waters of the Cantabrian Sea.
Unique features of the geography of Asturias are its rugged coastline with sharp coastal cliffs and beautiful bays with turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, numerous clean sandy beaches, which resemble the shores of Monaco, as well as the panoramic views of the Cantabrian mountains.
This small mountainous region is located on the greenest and most environmentally friendly in Europe, the coast of the Bay of Biscay, called Costa Verde (Green Coast), whose landscape is protected and listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Cantabrian mountains in the south of Asturias on the one hand and the waters of the Cantabrian Sea on the other play an important role in shaping the special microclimate of the Principality of Asturias. Most of its climate is of the Atlantic type, so it is not as hot as the southern regions of Spain.
Summers are usually humid and warm, with little rain. Winters are fairly mild and moderate, cold only in the mountains, where snow lies from November to May. The greatest amount of precipitation falls between November and February. The coastal areas have a milder climate. The clear, light and warm rain is called “orbayu,” and it keeps the grass green all year round in Asturias, even in winter.
The annual rainfall is 973 mm. Therefore, the general character of Asturias climate is warm and humid. Warm coastal waters and abundant precipitation contribute to the development of rich flora. And the Cantabrian mountains provide excellent opportunities for hiking and climbing, as well as skiing in winter. The proximity of the Atlantic Ocean currents in the mainland of Asturias also leads to minimal temperature variations, with mild winters of +5°C to +15°C giving way to warm but not hot summers of +18°C to +24°C.
Because of the minimum temperature fluctuations, mild sea climate and clean environment, Asturias is favorable for people prone to allergies and with problems of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Asturias is an ideal place to restore health and strengthen the immune system. The average life expectancy of Asturians is more than 80 years!
The Principality of Asturias rarely gets sick – the regional health care system promotes the technique of the least intervention into the human body, relying on homeopathy and the healing powers of nature. Asturias are not called “Green Spain” for nothing.
The flora of Asturias is very diverse. The dominant tree species on the northern slopes are yew, oak, beech, pine, while on the southern slopes – evergreen and deciduous shrubs. Above 1600-1800 m – subalpine shrubs and alpine meadows. Chestnut is also often found in the mountains.
There are 35 natural monuments, 10 nature reserves, 5 national parks and 4 biosphere reserves in Asturias. This part of the natural lands occupies about one-third of the territory of the region. The pride of Asturians is the unique panorama of the Bay of Biscay with its sandy beaches (159), cliffs and turquoise bays!
The southern part of Asturias is located within the watershed ridges of the Cantabrian Mountains (up to 2,500 m high) and their northern slopes; in the north there is a heavily hilly coastal plain. The coast has many bays with sandy beaches.
Asturias is the center of so-called “green tourism” in Spain. The Picos de Europa National Park, the natural parks of Somedo, Reres Fuentes de las Ibias and del Narcea, the Munyellos Biological Reserve, the nature reserves of Villavisios, Barayo, Pelonho, Ria de Ero attract many tourists.
The most famous and oldest national park, formed in 1918, is called “Peaks of Europe. According to legend, this name was given to them by sailors who, seeing the snow-white peaks from afar, joyfully shouted “Europe, Europe!”
In the Asturian part of the park are the clear mountain lakes Lagos de Covadonga, Somedo, Calabasosa, Cerveris or La Cueva, near which tourists like to hike along the green mountain ranges. The road passes next to the clear waters of the lakes. It is also home to Asturias highest peak, Torreserredo, at 2,648 meters.
The territory of the park is part of three regions of the country (its total area is 650 km2). In the mountainous part of the park there are 14 peaks higher than 2.5 km, it is a great place for climbers, hikers, and in winter for skiers.
This area is characterized by a wealth of flora and fauna. Beech forests below the slopes are replaced by oaks, ash trees, chestnuts, birches, holly, replaced by yews and lindens. On the mountain pastures grow a variety of wildflowers. High up in the mountains grow gentian clusi, Asturian narcissus, leprosy, stonecrop, stemless smolly, Dedeana draba, bryophytes, foxglove, buttercup, linens, dwarf globularia, and styrax. Several species of wild orchids can be found in different parts of the national park, including marsh dremlik, red pollenhead, limodorum underdeveloped, ovoid stash, night violet, whitish pseudoorchis, spiral curlew, moth yatryshnikus. There are more than 2200 plant species in Asturias.
The territory of the National Park Picos de Europa, is the only place in Europe where two of the rarest representatives of the Iberian fauna such as the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the Cantabrian grouse (Tetrao urogallus cantabricus ), a subspecies of the common grouse, which unlike the common grouse survives in deciduous forests, are preserved and live. It is also home to Spanish lynx, Iberian wolves, Pyrenean chamois, roe deer, badgers, red squirrels, wyverns, snow voles, mating toads, alpine newts, golden eagles, white-headed vultures, grouse, clovers, stenolazas, barnacles, mountain skates, alpine curlews and snow finches. There are 154 species of butterflies.
Many full-flowing and short mountain rivers (Navia, Nalon, Sella, etc.) flow through the Principality from south to north to the Bay of Biscay. The nature and climate of this unique region, created all the necessary conditions for an active lifestyle and activities of Asturians, such as: swimming, diving, river and sea fishing, deep-sea fishing, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, hunting, hiking, mountain climbing, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, downhill skiing, caving, biking, paragliding and much more.
Among fans of extreme recreation is especially popular canoeing on the River Selja. The length of the route is 16 km.
Abundance of greenery and oxygen-enriched air with the scents of eucalyptus and sea surf, unique landscapes and beautiful coastline, clean environment, the absence of nuclear power plants, attracts many Europeans here.
They have long discovered not only a new destination for a prestigious tourist holiday on the Atlantic coast of “green” Spain, but also a place of calm and safe “quiet” harbor, where nature and people have created the ideal conditions for life!
All this is Asturias, the blessed land of the Spanish Kingdom. Asturias is very conveniently located geographically, with 400 km to France, 500 to Madrid, 800 to Barcelona, 1000 to London, 1100 to Marseille, 1100 to Paris, 1200 to Monaco, 1500 to Zurich and 2500 to Vienna.
Oviedo Asturias Airport is located 30 km from the city.
Evergreen Asturias. Escape to the mountains of Northern Spain
Green and mountainous natural paradise – at least that is how the country of Asturias in north-western Spain became for many Spaniards who chose this region as a vacation destination last year, away from cities and people in the lap of nature. It is somewhat of an exaggeration to say that the mandatory vaccination intervals and isolation are maintained without much effort here. For many Bohemians, Asturias is a rediscovered paradise, where nature flourishes in winter and summer and the mountains rise high into the sky.
The land, which stretches along the northwestern Spanish coast, is washed by the waters of the Cantabrian Sea. For the Spaniards, the area is of great historical importance: it was Asturias that became the last refuge of Christianity during the Arab rule. It was also from here that the Reconquista later led the Spanish to dominate the Iberian Peninsula. Because of the importance of Asturias, dating back to the Middle Ages, the Spanish heir to the throne still carries the automatic title of prince or princess of Asturias.
Asturias is one of the smallest autonomous regions of Spain, but tourism is thriving here. It boasts perhaps the most beautiful natural scenery in the Iberian Peninsula, which in 1918 led to its declaration as Spain’s first national park.
Evergreen Asturias. Escape to the mountains of Northern Spain.
Today it is called the Picos de Europa, which means “peaks of Europe” . This national park stretches between eleven villages and is the only inhabited reserve in Spain. Therefore, in addition to the natural beauty, people come here to admire the local outdoor life in harmony with the unspoiled mountains and wildlife. In addition to people, it is also home to a large number of interesting and sought-after animals such as chamois and birds . In addition, it is possible to see a wood grouse or a vulture here. The park is home to two great symbols of the Spanish mountains, the brown bear and the Iberian wolf. In Picos de Europa there are about 30 hiking trails that lead through snow-capped mountain peaks, spectacular rock gorges and deep forests. The local mountain landscape is characterized by clear lakes and several breathtaking viewpoints. The park has three visitor centers where counseling is available for all non-native visitors , and free guided tours are offered from July through September.
What is not to be missed in the area is the religious complex in the town of Cangas de Onís . As a reminder of the Battle of Covadonga, which launched the Spanish efforts to expel the Arabs from the peninsula, a holy grotto and basilica appeared here, adding a remarkable historical heritage to this mountainous area. It is also worth checking out some of the local mountain villages; Potes, sleeping under the high peaks of the snow-capped mountains, is a case in point.
The lesser-known route in St. James
The lesser-known route to St. James
But Picos de Europa is by no means the only landmark in historic and mountainous Asturias, as it is part of the route that leads to the tomb of St. James in Santiago de Compostela in Spanish Galicia. Perhaps the most famous pilgrimage route in Europe is the Saint James route, which stretches across northern Spain from the eastern border with France. However, the very first route first taken by King Alfonso II of Asturias as the initiator of the pilgrimage to James’ tomb is the Camino Primitivo, the original route. Since the ninth century it connects the ancient cathedral in the Asturian capital Oviedo with the mountain pass of Puerto de Acebo, where it follows the aforementioned Way of Saint James. Along the 321-kilometer route, you can see not only beautiful natural scenery, but also Doromanesque buildings and monasteries.
In the mountains hides the history of all of Spain
For the many pilgrims arriving in Spain along the coast from France, the so-called Camino de la Costa or coastal route was created . It stretches along the Atlantic coast and passes through the most beautiful fishing towns such as Cudillero, Llanes and Ribadesella, perched on cliffs or hilly rocky shores, an ideal place to rest and recuperate and soak up the authentic Spanish atmosphere.
The mountains hide the history of all of Spain
Along the coastal road are the slightly larger fairy-tale town of Aviles and the modern port city of Gijon . The latter is now Asturias largest city in terms of population, and although it has a rather rich history, today it is more of a modern, bustling Spanish metropolis. Despite this, there are still many historical sites and warm sandy beaches to explore.
For Spanish atmosphere, fiesta and cuisine
Before returning home, every visitor should try one of the local dishes. Traditional Spanish dishes are undeniable, but Asturias itself has its own treasures. These include blue cheeses such as cabrales and valdeón. If you’re in the mood for something more hearty, you should head to one of the local restaurants for a classic Asturian fabada, a red meat dish, the famous pita de calaya, a local variety of chicken.
For Spanish atmosphere, fiesta and cuisine
Spain is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and no wonder. It is here where everyone will find that much-needed holiday atmosphere – the Spanish fiesta and siesta, that is a celebration and an iconic afternoon. The land of Asturias is snow-capped peaks of high mountains, the oldest national park in Spain and historically one of the most important regions of south-western Europe. In addition, a pleasant oceanic climate blows from the sea, which welcomes tourists in a land of evergreen spring.