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From: 755 €
Duration: 8 days
Northern Spain's "Green Coast" makes the perfect setting for an active family holiday, with fun for all ages: cycling, canoeing, surfing or riding the waves on a body board. Here, on the Costa Verde, the landscape is lush and green year round, a virtual paradise of rolling hills, rocky cliffs and sandy coves, with spectacular snowy summits just inland. Ideal terrain for doing easy cycling routes, as you ride from village to village on quiet country lanes. There are always beaches nearby, where you can stop for a paddle in the sea! On alternating days, you can canoe on the river, snorkel in a cove, or walk along the cliffs to natural blowholes. Some of the cycling routes follow the Northern Variant of the Camino de Santiago, and Romanesque chapels and ancient ruins line the pilgrims' path. At nearby beaches, you can admire fossilized dinosaur tracks or caves with prehistoric paintings. Throughout the week you visit picturesque fishing villages, with places to stop for refreshments or a meal. The first three nights are spent at a friendly agroturismo - accommodation on a working farm, where the raspberries are hand-picked and cows graze peacefully in the field. Next, you spend two nights at small hotel with a tiny beach right in your back yard. The last two nights of the program are spent at a renovated 19th century manor house in the pretty village of Nueva, which has one of the nicest beaches in all of Asturias.
Arrival in Asturias, by car or bus (max. 1 hour from Santander airport). Time to settle in at your friendly rural accommodation in Vilde, a small family-run hotel on a working farm with a garden and sitting room. At meal time, everyone eats together at one large table. Fresh fruit from the garden is often served.
Challenge: Arrival in Asturias.
Villages along the way: Vilde
After a hearty breakfast, you start off with a test run on your (hire) bike, then do a circular cycling route through green hills on the border between Asturias and Cantabria. Choice of doing a longer or shorter ride: a 41km route (with a total of 375m in ascent, spread out over a few short but steep sections) or a short ride of 15km to the beach at Pechón (50m in ascent) or to Cueva Pindal (2 ascents of 150m), with its prehistoric cave paintings. Optional short walking route through Mediterranean woodlands to reach the ruins at Santa Tina chapel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrims' trail.
Challenge: Circular cycling route, 41km or 15km
Villages along the way: Vilde, Unquera, Pimiango, Pechón
Today you cycle just 4km, to the canoe rental shop in Unquera. Transfer up-river to Panes, starting point for your canoeing excursion. Armed with wetsuits, paddles and a packlunch, you spend 2-3 hours paddling down the pretty Deva River. Small beaches on the riverbanks provide a place to stop along the route. In the afternoon, optional walk from Vilde to Colombres, to visit the Casa de Indianos, a beautiful colonial-style building which houses an interesting emigration museum.
Challenge: Canoeing excursion, walking route
Villages along the way: Unquera, Panes, Colombres
Via quiet country lanes, you cycle into Valle Oscuro ("Dark Valley"), an ominous name for a beautiful place with traditional family farms and tiny villages at the foot of the Sierra del Cuera coastal range. Stop for a short rest at an authentic local bar. Option of doing up to 25km (with a total ascent of 325m, spread out over 3 small hills). By afternoon you're back at the coast, to a short ride nearby blowholes on the cliffs, or a protected otter habitat on the tiny bay of Andrín. From there, it's just 5km to reach your hotel in Cué, situated on the cliff with views to the sea. Tiny beach just 50m away.
Challenge: Cycling route of 25km, 325m in ascent
Villages along the way: Valle Oscuro, Cué
Your hotel in Cué is just 3km from the lovely fishing village of Llanes, with its Medieval centre, Gothic church, two beaches, lots of shops and restaurants, and colourfully-painted wavebreak on the harbour. If you're lucky, there will be some local celebration on nearby. The county of Llanes has a busy calendar of patron saint's Days, with interesting traditional processions and local folklore. Option of cycling to the village of Porrúa, with its interesting ethnographic museum, or to the beach at Póo de Llanes.
Challenge: 20km cycling, with a total of 125m in ascent
Villages along the way: Llanes, Porrúa, Póo
Today you trade the beach hotel in Cué for a historic "Casa de Indianos" - colonial-style mansion built by emigrants returning from the Americas. As you cycle from village to village along the coast, you'll see many of these impresssive villas. Most sport the traditional palm tree out front, "souvenirs" brought back from far-away lands. After you pass the large cove at Andrín and the mini beach-in-a-field at Gulpiyuri, you cycle inland to reach Nueva. The evening meal is not served at your hotel, so you'll have the enjoyable task of choosing a place for dinner from among the many local restaurants and cider houses.
Challenge: Cycling route to Nueva
Villages along the way: Andrín, Nueva de Llanes
Just 2,5km from Nueva, you have the pretty beach called Cuevas del Mar, perfect for swimming and playing in the sand. If you're into surfing, you can cycle 12km back to Andrín (total 24km on mainly flat terrain). Or choose a circular route to the west (for a total of 30km with 50m in ascent) via the town of Ribadesella, where you can swim, surf, canoe and follow fossilized dinosaur tracks on the beach. The Cave Museum of Tito Bustillo, offers a replica of valuable cave paintings some 25,000 years old.
Challenge: Choice of activities on the coast
Villages along the way: Nueva, Cuevas del Mar, Ribadesella
Your cycling program comes to an end this morning after breakfast. It you have hired a bike through S-cape Travel, it will be collected at your accommodation. If you're returning to Vilde, you can make the trip by bus or train.
Friendly family-run hotels in small villages
Finish: Nueva de Llanes
Trip availability: From 01 April to 31 October