Spain’s rural Costa Verde

Asturias is a little visited region on the north coast of Spain known as the Costa Verde. Often called Green Spain - sometimes even ‘real’ Spain - it has a wild and dramatically beautiful interior, and a wonderfully unspoiled coastline strewn with sandy coves and tiny islets. There are no less than 24 nature reserves here and with its distinctive cuisine of simple, honest food (often accompanied by local speciality cider and cheese), a holiday on the Costa Verde offers all the character and flavour of real, rural Spain. Our holidays on Spain’s Costa Verde are based on the coast of Cantabria, close to small fishing villages and scenic walking trails.

This unspoilt part of Spain is perfect for nature and wildlife enthusiasts, or for those looking for an alternative to the flashier, better-known resorts in Southern Spain. Here are a handful of our favourite places.

The capital of Asturias is a compact, handsome city, yet for a small place it has some great cultural attractions including some of Spain’s finest restaurants and an opera house where both Plácido Domingo and Montserrat Caballé have sung.

At nearly 100 years old, Picos de Europa National Park is one of Spain’s first National Parks and is home to several endangered species, most notably bears and wolves. In addition to the wildlife there are 11 villages within the park boundaries, as well as a vast network of well-signed walking and hiking trails.

The village of Cudillero clings to the side of a mountain, around a bustling seaport. One of Spain’s most colourful towns, it’s a perfect place for lunch with its outdoor cafes and fishermen’s taverns filling the tiny square. Brightly painted houses and buildings hug the horse-shoe shaped port, or head up the steep streets into the hills behind to one of the many viewpoints such as El Pico or La Atalaya – the views are well worth the walk.

You can fly or take the ferry to Spain’s Costa Verde if you choose one of our hotel holidays. Flights are usually to Bilbao, or if you take the ferry you sail between Plymouth and Santander.

The weather is mild on the Costa Verde, with an average summer temperature of 20-25C. It’s an ideal choice if you want to enjoy some authentic Spanish culture and cuisine, and avoid the hotter, busier resorts that line the coast of Southern Spain. Winters are also mild, with temperatures rarely dipping below 13C.

The Costa Verde is one hour ahead of the UK.

Most major credit cards are accepted and there are ATMs in the larger towns and cities if you want to withdraw cash. The local currency is the Euro.

The Costa Verde is on Spain’s northern coast overlooking the Bay of Biscay. It incorporates the regions from Galicia in the northwest to the Basque Country in the northeast, including Cantabria and Asturias.

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