Coves and Harbours of Northern Spain

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****# (86%) Based on 9 customer reviews
  • Wild and spectacular cycling: traffic-free coastal trails hardly touched by tourism
  • Hidden coves, idyllic sea caves, sweeping bays backed by magnificent white-sand beaches
  • Outstanding natural beauty: coastal cliffs, verdant valleys, rugged mountains
  • Prolific birdlife: eagles, vultures, kestrels, peregrine falcons
  • Traditional fishing ports, friendly farming hamlets, colonial villages oozing historic and architectural interest

What's included?

  • Please call for departure dates
  • 9 nights, hotel-to-hotel
  • All breakfasts and 3 evening meals included
  • Managed by Headwater appointed agent
  • Sustainability rating: 90%
  • Route notes and maps provided
  • High quality bikes provided
  • Optional electric bikes
  • Luggage transfers between hotels

Excellent for...

Coves and Harbours of Northern Spain

This 9 night linear cycling holiday explores Spain's wholly unspoilt northern coast, a wild and beautifully rugged landscape of green rolling hills, lush river valleys and deserted beaches, backed by steep limestone cliffs, honeycombed with caves and shelters where prehistoric man once lived. It's a journey of raw, untouched natural beauty as you pedal west along Asturias' magnificent coast-hugging paths, drinking in spectacular views from traditional hill villages unchanged over centuries.

The cycling starts in Villanueva at the easternmost point of Asturias and in the foothills of the majestic Picos de Europa mountain range. As you pedal, you'll pass pretty seaside towns, hidden hill hamlets and unique ' Indiano-style' villages, dating to the late C19 when emigrants returned from Central America bringing with them a very unique and cosmopolitan style of architecture. It's big bird-spotting country too with more than 150 species, and is a resting point for migratory birds en route from Europe to Africa. Your final cycling stretch takes in part of the revered Camino de Santiago pilgrims' trail, cruising the Jurassic coast towards the historic port city of Gijon, cultural capital of the region.

During your trip, you'll stay in a lovely mix of hotels, including two original Casas Indianos, a lovingly restored farmhouse and a seaside hotel with popular chocolateria - reputed to serve the best churros y chocolate (Spanish style donuts) in the region! In Gijon, the **** Hotel Asturias is right on the main city square, just back from the San Lorenzo beach and marina.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Villaneuva

Arrive at Montse's beautifully restored Indiano mansion in the tiny Asturian village of Villanueva where you'll spend the next 2 nights.

Day 2 - Circular route to Pechon beach 30km/19mi or 42km/26.5mi

You have a leisurely warm-up cycle today - with a choice of routes - starting with a panoramic downhill ride into the San Vicente valley then on through the rich rolling countryside of neighbouring province, Cantabria. Picnic on the beautiful beach at Pechon (don't forget your swimming things) before heading inland and looping back via riverside Unquera, one of the gateway towns to the Picos de Europa.

Day 3 - Villanueva to Llanes 29km/18.5mi

It's a real 'top of the world' feeling this morning as you follow the magnificent coastal cycle path west along the glorious cliff tops passing the blowholes of Arenillas - be careful not to get wet! You'll then continue on through the Rio Puron Nature Reserve, a haven for rare flora and fauna - keep your eyes peeled for otters - before a final stretch past pretty Andrin (another gorgeous beach) and to the enchanting fishing port of Llanes, whose historic quarter has been declared an Historic- Artistic site.

Day 4 - At Llanes

Backed by majestic mountains and boasting three of the best beaches in the region, Llanes is also a popular stop-off for pilgrims following the world-famous Camino de Santiago walking trail. Explore the fine classical architecture of its atmospheric old town - the C15 Gothic Basilica de Santa Maria is particularly worth a look - before sampling the regional tipple, cider, in one of the many sidrerias. After a harbour-side lunch, re-trace maritime history at the impressive Cubos de la Memoria, or take a stunning cliff-top walk along the spectacular Paseo San Pedro.

Day 5 - Llanes to Ribadesella 38km/24mi or 42km/26mi

Combine rural tranquillity and little traffic with beautiful woodland landscapes and amazing coastal views with picture-perfect coves lapped by clear aquamarine seas. Maybe stop for lunch in the little hamlet of Nueva de Llanes, or picnic at the curious rock formations of the Cuevas del Mar (sea caves) unique to this region. A downhill run brings you into the royal resort of Ribadasella and your chic hotel overlooking the river Sella. Maybe spend an extra night as this quaint resort with its beautiful beaches.

Day 6 - Ribadesella to Colunga 21km/13mi

A shorter day today will give you a chance to stop and relax at one of the most beautiful beaches on the route. After a short, steep climb you follow the Camino del Norte, passing the, ancient horreos (old wooden farmhouses) to La Vega beach the biggest beach in the area (and in our view the most beautiful yet). A short climb brings you to Caravia with yet more impressive Casas Indianos before we drop down, passing more inviting beaches on our way, to Colunga for your next two nights.

Day 7 - At Colunga

If you fancy a day off the bike today, there's a lovely relaxed walking trail along the River Libardon. Alternatively, cycle to the beautiful white hill village of Llastres where the Spanish version of Doc Martin is filmed! A climb up its C19 Capilla de San Roque affords sweeping views across the entire Asturian coast and dramatic mountain ranges.

Day 8 - Colunga to Arguero 36km/22.5mi

Continuing along the undulating Camino del Norte, you'll soon reach the apple-scented cider capital, Villaviciosa, set on a narrow estuary and a protected area for the 150+ bird species that live here. The historic old quarter is a perfect place to enjoy a leisurely lunch before heading up via Tazones (home to a lovely beach if you fancy a swim) to the large agricultural plains of Arguero where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking coastal views.

Day 9 - Arguero to Gijon 28km/17.5mi

A shorter ride today brings spectacular views of tree-lined hills as you descend from Arguero, down to the Rio Espana, before a rewarding climb to great views of the coast. It's then downhill into Gijon and along the promenade into the delightful Plaza Mayor. You have time to explore the cultural and cosmopolitan city of Gijon - an ancient Roman town with two universities, thirteen libraries, a bustling port, thermal baths, delightful squares and old fishermen's quarter. Extra nights here are also possible.

Day 10 - Leave Gijon

Please note that cycling helmets are compulsory in Spain for all customers. As we are unable to provide these, we strongly recommend that you bring your own.

Please see our Planning you holiday page for full details.

Where you stay

During your holiday you stay at the following hotels. If you'd like to extend your time at any of these or, if you'd like to enhance your stay with an upgraded room, just let us know at the time of booking. You can call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 to discuss accommodation options.

If you'd like to keep your bikes with you for any extra nights we can arrange this for you for just £25 per adult per day. Please contact us on 1-800-567-6286 for further details.

La Quinta de Villanueva, Villanueva   (3 Star)

Quinta de Villanueva

La Quinta de Villanueva is a charming Casa Indiano situated in the pretty rural village of Villanueva nestling in the foothills of the Picos de Europa. Run by a friendly and helpful young a couple an idyliic place to spend a couple of nights.

The hotel rooms are large and airy, with a delightful light filled breakfast room and a large garden to rest in the sunshine. Meals are served at a local restaurant which you will be taken to and picked up from.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market

Hotel Paraiso, Llanes   (3 Star)

Hotel Paraiso

The Hotel Paraiso has a great location in the centre of lively Llanes, just 400 metres from the coast and the towns beaches. The rooms are of a good size and decorated in a contemporary style.

Below the hotel there is a chocolateria, where you can sample the wonderful chocolates they produce, breakfast is a buffet served in the pleasant breakfast room.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Air conditioning

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Hotel El Jardin de Eugenia, Ribadesella   (3*)

Room at El Jardin de Eugenia, Ribadesella

Hotel El Jardin de Eugenia sits above the river Sella just a 10 minute walk from the old fisherman's quarter of Ribadesella, the hotel has chic feel with well decorated bedrooms and wooden floors. They have a small bar and cosy lounge, breakfast can be served in your room or on the outside terrace.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Internet access
  • Television
  • Safe

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Hotel Mar del Sueve , Colunga   (3 Star)

Hotel Mar del Suave

The Hotel Mar del Sueve, is a charming Casa Indiano, which has been renovated to add a contemporary feel to this characterful hotel.

The rooms are all slightly different and are large and airy, the hotels has its own private garden where in summer months there is a bar, and breakfast can be taken.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Air conditioning

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Hotel Rural la Figar, Arguero   (3 Star)

Hotel Rural la Figar

The lovely Hotel Rural la Figar is a restored old farmhouse, now with large modern rooms, some have views of the coast a couple of kilometres away.

Breakfast and dinner are served the traditional dining room or in good weather al fresco. There is a large garden where you can relax after a days cycling.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops

Hotel Asturias, Gijon   (4 Star)

Hotel Asturias

The Hotel Asturias has an ideal location on the Plaza Mayor, one of the main squares in the city, it links the old fisherman's quarter with the newer shopping and bar district.

The superior rooms which come as standard have been recently renovated to provide modern contemporary large rooms, some have a slight sea view. The large breakfast buffet is served in the grand old dining room.

Further details on the hotel website, and independent reviews on Trip Advisor.

Local facilities:

  • Mastercard accepted
  • Hairdryer
  • Wifi hotspot
  • Television
  • Air conditioning
  • Safe

Nearby facilities:

  • Shops
  • Market
  • Banking / cheques cashed
  • ATM / Cash machine

Travel options

Transfers included from Santander airport at 14:00, and back to Oviedo airport at 10:45.

Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email to arrange connecting flights.

Customer reviews

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus, of course, an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted straight to our website - totally unedited. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Reviewed by Mrs Trustram Eve on 10/09/2016

Asturias is a forgotten corner of Europe, and as a result all the cars on the mainly empty roads are Spanish. The advantage of this is that they treat cyclists like 'slow traffic' and give at least 1.5m room when they pass, in accordance with a new national law. This meant that my main concern about road safety and our teenagers was unfounded. The hotels we stayed in were all 3 star - individual, charming, quirky, clean and friendly. We learnt to look forward to what the next one would be like. The countryside is beautiful and some of the beaches really wonderful, think Rock/Trebetherick/St Mawes but with freshwater showers so we swam in the Atlantic most days and cycled on. The weather at the end of August was perfect - not too hot to cycle due to the breeze but we sat outside to eat most evenings. The cycling was demanding - we got a lot fitter. Despite discovering how refreshing cider is, we didn't get lost. Rural Asturias is atmospheric: villages, farms, cider cafes Casas Indianos - a bit of a time warp and most locals don't speak English, and yet all cafes had Wifi and warm, friendly customer service.

Reviewed by Mrs McCorriston on 26/07/2016

Good food wine and scenery for those who want a break from it all

Reviewed by Mrs Taylor on 10/09/2015

Would only recommend this holiday for fit people under 50 because of the terrain and the weather conditions .Lovely area with good accomodation

Reviewed by Mr Hutchinson on 14/08/2015

Excellent experience, sights and places which can only be discovered on a bike. A lot tougher than expected, would definitely put in more miles on the bike before attempting the route again.

Reviewed by Mr Wall on 09/07/2015

Beautiful area of Spain to explore.Cycling quite a challenge at times.Stay an extra night at Quinta Villanueva if you can.Highly recommended holiday.

Reviewed by Mis Aplin on 06/07/2015

Pros: Beautiful varied scenery, mountains, craggy coastlines and lovely sandy beaches. Llanes was probably the nicest town to stay in. Lovely harbour, plenty of good restaurants and small shops. Cons: Only 2 potential rest days and and one of those you would need to cycle somewhere as very little to do in Colunga. Bear in mind that none of the hotels had pools and on previous holidays it has been nice to have a few hours lounging by the pool. Some of the hotels had outdoor space but most not conducive to lounging about. There were plenty of nice sandy beaches but very little shade and only the occasional bench to sit on. Very little english spoken so even a few spanish phrases would be useful. On the last ride we found it better to head to Gijon as quickly as possible as the ride was unremarkable and it gave us a full afternoon and evening in Gijon.

Reviewed by Ms Johnston on 24/06/2015

Excellent holiday in a beautiful location. Particularly enjoyed the self-guided element and found the route notes really comprehensive which gave confidence doing the self-guided bit. Loved the variety of hotels.

Reviewed by Mr Paine on 21/06/2015

The trip is excellent, the area is superb, with rural countryside and fantastic beaches- like Cornwall but better. OK it is not hot like it is in S Spain but for cycling ideal. The people are very hospitable but do not expect them to speak much English.

Reviewed by Mr Marks on 20/06/2015

Hotel Don Thomas was gloomy and the town somewhat drab. Here, as in other places, we struggled to find somewhere decent to eat. After a hard days cycling, one is hungry at 6pm and in Spain this can be a problem as nothing happens until 8.30pm. It was therefore a joy to land at Hotel Figar and find an owner who was happy to serve dinner earlier and who produced magnificent home cooking. Six of the nine nights required us to find somewhere ourselves; a better balance of meals provided by the hotel might be something you could look at or list a few potential restaurants. The grade of this holiday in terms of the difficulty of the cycling, was a 3 not a 2 with some exceptionally challenging ascents for the occasional cyclist. The routes however were superb,the scenery impressive and the descents great fun. Paula at Villaneuva was a charming hostess and the lady who ran the Mar del Seuve equally obliging.

Departure dates & prices

No on-line prices available

Unfortunately we do not have on-line prices available at this time. Please call our sales team on 1-800-567-6286 or email for further details.

May 2016 departuresTour only 
May 1$1528
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June 2016 departuresTour only 
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July 2016 departuresTour only 
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August 2016 departuresTour only 
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Aug 27$1814
Aug 28$1646
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September 2016 departuresTour only 
Sep 1$1646
Sep 2$1646
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Sep 24$1528
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Holiday details

Holiday type

Self-guided cycling, hotel-to-hotel. Managed by Headwater appointed agent.


Please call for departure dates, for 10 days (9 nights).


All breakfasts and 3 evening meals included.

Other details

Please see our Planning your holiday and What's included in the price? pages for additional information. Please call us for single room supplements, room upgrade options and child prices.

Starting your tour

Transfers included from Santander airport at 14:00, and back to Oviedo airport at 10:45.

Enquire about this holiday

Simply complete the form below and a member of our sales team will contact you (when it's most convenient for you) to provide availability information, travel options and additional information.

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We can call you when it's most convenient for you, or contact you by email if you'd prefer. Morning calls will be between 9:00-13:00, afternoon calls between 13:00-17:00, and evening calls after 17:00.
Let us know any queries you might have about departure dates, similar holidays or tailor-made options.


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