Llanes is by far the largest resort in this eastern coastal area. It is an attractive fishing port, with a lovely old centre. (In August it is extremely busy.) There are over 50 sandy beaches in this district, with lots of possibility for safe swimming and plenty of campsites. We particularly recommend visiting the beaches of Cuevas del Mar, Torimbia (a nudist beach), Niembro and Sablón.
To the south of this district lies the Sierra De Cuerra. This mountain range lies between the Cantabrian Sea and the Picos de Europa, of which it is a geological extension. It is an area of Karst like scenery of limestone tortured by erosion with many special features along the coast. There are many examples of blowholes and those at Llames de Pria are worth visiting, (best at high tide).
Ribadesella is another old attractive fishing port, somewhat smaller than Llanes. The town lies on the mouth of the River Sella, which divides it. On the eastern side of the river lies the old town and fishing harbour. On the western side lies the Santa Marina beach, which developed as a popular bathing resort at the turn of the century. There are still many examples of residential houses constructed in the "Belle epoch" period in an outstanding architectural style. We recommend the short circular walk along the eastern side of the River Sella to the headland and returning to the old town along the higher track, with wonderful views of the beach, the river Sells and both sides of the town.
Also in Ribadesella are the famous caves of Tito Bustillo, with cave paintings of horse and deer from the middle Magdalenian period. These are well worth a visit, but check cave opening times and best arrival time so as to secure an entrance. The number of visitors entering the caves each day is strictly controlled.
The Vega beach West of Ribadesella is worth mentioning. This is a protected area due to its sand dunes and accompanying flora and fauna. There is very little development on this sandy beach, almost one kilometre long. It is nice to walk along, and excellent for experienced surfers, but can be dangerous for swimming.
Just beyond the western limits of the Vega beach lie some of the most important deposits of Fluorite (Blue John) probably in the world. Amateurs and professionals still collect beautiful specimens from this area. Care should be taken when collecting minerals, and most of these old open mines are still under private ownership.
La Isla is a rather lovely beach with a small Island and safe swimming, and Llastres a beautiful fishing village built on the sides of a cliff, which has been declared of Historic and artistic interest. However this area is becoming more famous as the centre of finds from the Jurassic period. There are many dinosaur footprints along this coast, and those in playa La Griega are worth a mention. A Jurassic museum with investigation centre and theme park is soon to be built in this area!
Villaviciosa, the centre of the cider industry is a more prosperous town, situated slightly inland on a river estuary. This has been declared a protected area and is good for watching migratory birds (particularly in late September and early October.) It is also possible to rent a boat on the estuary (summer only), and the beach at Rodiles is also worth visiting (swimming with care.) Tazones is another small fishing port close to Villaviciosa, popular with Spaniards for eating seafood.