San Vicente de la Barquera
Destination GuideAsturias & Cantabria
Asturias & Cantabria
The heir to the Spanish throne bears the title Prince of Asturias, and perhaps only a natural paradise of this kind is worthy of a future king. Given the small size of this autonomous community and its neighbour it is relatively easy to traverse both fairly rapidly, but do try and linger a little longer. Located in northern Spain, between Galicia and the Basque Country, this area is a popular holiday destination for some Spaniards, while others hesitate to explore it because of its changeable climate: here bright sunshine can give way to mist and even rain in a single day. But it is this same climate that helps make the region abundant in vegetation, earning it the name of Costa Verde (Green Coast). Then there is the fact that the two communities are linked by the fabulous Picos de Europa National Park, whose immense green and blue mountain landscape of flora and lakes has also been declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The region also boasts extensive apple orchards that enable Asturias to continue to produce its most popular drink, cider. The rugged coast forms beaches, inlets, bays and capes along which the main cities are dotted, including bustling, urbane Gijón and elegant, modern Santander. Further inland is Oviedo, the capital of Asturias, with its romantic aura and charming historical buildings. These major cities contrast with most of the rest of the region, with its small, quiet coastal towns and isolated rural stone houses in the foothills. The region is known for the diversity of its landscapes and customs, but you can also find prehistoric art here, such as in the caves of Altamira.