Galicia and Asturias: Places to Explore

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  • Baiona

    At the southern end of the AP9 freeway and the Ría de Vigo, Baiona (Bayona in Castilian) is a summer haunt of affluent Gallegos. When Columbus's Pinta landed here in 1492, Baiona became the first...

  • Betanzos

    The charming, slightly ramshackle medieval town of Betanzos is still surrounded by parts of its old city wall. An important Galician port in the 13th century, it has silted up since then.

  • Cambados

    This breezy seaside town has a charming, almost entirely residential old quarter and is the hub for the full-bodied and fruity albariño, one of Spain’s best white wines. The impressive main...

  • Cangas de Onís

    The first capital of Christian Spain, Cangas de Onís is also the unofficial capital of the Picos de Europa National Park. Partly in the narrow valley carved by the Sella River, it has the feel of...

  • Comillas

    This astounding pocket of Catalan Art Nouveau architecture in the green hills of Cantabria will make you rub your eyes in disbelief. The Marqués de Comillas, a Catalan named Antonio López y...

  • A Coruña

    One of Spain's busiest ports, A Coruña (La Coruña in Castilian) prides itself on being the most progressive city in the region. The weather can be fierce, wet, and windy—hence the...

  • Covadonga

    To see high alpine meadowland, some rare Spanish lakes, and views over the peaks and out to sea (if the mist ever disperses), take the narrow road up past Covadonga to Lake Enol, stopping for the...

  • Fisterra

    There was a time when this lonely, windswept outcrop over raging waters was thought to be the end of the earth—the finis terrae. Just about all that's left is a run-down stone faro (lighthouse) perched on a...

  • Gijón

    The Campo Valdés baths, dating back to the 1st century AD, and other reminders of Gijón's time as an ancient Roman port remain visible downtown. Gijón was almost destroyed in a 14th-century...

  • Llanes

    This beach town is on a pristine stretch of the Costa Verde. The shores in both directions outside town have vistas of cliffs looming over white-sand beaches and isolated caves. A long canal...

  • Luarca

    The village of Luarca is tucked into a cove at the end of a final twist of the Río Negro, with a fishing port and, to the west, a sparkling bay. The town is a maze of cobblestone streets, stone...

  • Lugo

    Just off the A6 freeway, Galicia's oldest provincial capital is most notable for its 2-km (1½-mile) Roman wall. These beautifully preserved ramparts completely surround the streets of the old town....

  • Mondoñedo

    Founded in 1156, this town was one of the seven capitals of the kingdom of Galicia from the 16th to early 19th century. The cathedral, consecrated in 1248, has a museum, a bishop's tomb with...

  • Muros

    Muros is a popular summer resort with lovely, arcaded streets framed by Gothic arches. The quiet back alleys of the old town reveal some well-preserved Galician granite houses, but the real action...

  • Noia

    Deep within the Ría de Muros y Noia, the compact medieval town of Noia is at the edge of the Barbanza mountain range. The Gothic church of San Martín rises over the old town's Praza do Tapal,...

  • O Cebreiro

    Deserted and haunting when it's not high season (and often fogged in or snowy to boot), O Cebreiro is a stark mountaintop hamlet built around a 9th-century church. Known for its round,...

  • O Grove

  • Ourense

    Despite the uninspiring backdrop of Ourense’s new town, Galicia’s third-largest city has bubbling thermal springs and an attractive medieval quarter whose animated streets, tapas bars, and...

  • Oviedo

    Inland, the Asturian countryside starts to look more prosperous. Wooden, tile-roofed horreos strung with golden bundles of drying corn replace the stark granite sheds of Galicia. A drive through...

  • Padrón

    Padrón grew up beside the Roman port of Iría Flavia and is where the body of St. James is believed to have washed ashore after its miraculous maritime journey. The town is known for its pimientos...

  • Pontevedra

    At the head of its ría, Pontevedra is approached through prefab suburbs, but the old quarter is well preserved and largely unspoiled. The city got its start as a Roman settlement (its name comes...

  • Potes

    Known for its fine cheeses, the region of La Liébana is a highland domain also worth exploring for other reasons. Potes, the area's main city, is named for and sprinkled with ancient bridges and...

  • Ribadeo

    Perched on the broad ría (estuary) of the same name, Ribadeo is the last coastal town before Asturias. The views up and across the ría are marvelous—depending on the wind, the waves appear to...

  • Ribadesella

    The N632 twists around green hills dappled with eucalyptus groves, allowing glimpses of the sea and sandy beaches below and the snowcapped Picos de Europa looming inland. This fishing village and...

  • Santander

    One of the great ports on the Bay of Biscay, Santander is surrounded by beaches that are hardly isolated, but it still manages to avoid the package-tour feel of so many Mediterranean resorts. A...

  • Santiago de Compostela

    A large, lively university makes Santiago one of the most exciting cities in Spain, and its cathedral makes it one of the most impressive. The building is opulent and awesome, yet its towers...

  • Santillana del Mar

    Santillana del Mar has developed a thriving tourism industry based on the famed cave art discovered 2 km (1 mile) north of town—and the town itself merits a visit of at least a day. Just as the...

  • San Vicente de la Barquera

    This is one of the oldest and most beautiful maritime settlements in northern Spain; it was an important Roman port long before many other shipping centers (such as Santander) had gotten firmly...

  • Tui

    The steep, narrow streets of Tui, rich with emblazoned mansions, suggest the town's past as one of the seven capitals of the Galician kingdom. Today it's an important border town; the mountains of...

  • Vigo

    Vigo's formidable port is choked with trawlers and fishing boats and lined with clanging shipbuilding yards. Its more typical tourist sights fall far short of its commercial swagger. The city's...

  • Vilalba

    Known as Terra Cha (Flat Land) or the Galician Mesopotamia, Vilalba is the source of several rivers, most notably the Miño, which flows down into Portugal. Hills and knolls add texture to the plain.

  • Villaviciosa

    Cider-capital Villaviciosa has a large dairy and several bottling plants as well as an attractive old quarter. The Hapsburg Emperor Carlos I first set foot in Spain just down the road from here....

  • Viveiro

    The once-turreted city walls of this popular summer resort are still partially intact. Two festivals are noteworthy here: the Semana Santa processions, when penitents follow religious processions on...

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