The town of Ribadesella is the capital of a municipality surrounded by mountains, beaches and cliffs. Without going any further, in the urban area many of the attractions of the council are condensed (municipality of Tourist Excellence from 1997). Apart from enjoying the heritage and the local culture, it is easy to approach the beach, the cliffs, different viewpoints and protected natural environments without going too far from the limits of its urban core.
Going around Ribadesella becomes a very dense and entertaining walk, with dozens of locations of interest.
Split in two by the beautiful estuary of the river Sella, the two urban banks of the town are connected by a bridge over the estuary. In the East the historical center and the central streets of the Gran Vía or Commerce are located, which give the layout of the town a wide and orderly sense and where a good part of the commercial and leisure establishments of Ribadesella are located. One of the nerve centers of this part of the town is in the vicinity of The Plaza Nueva and the Plaza de la Iglesia, a very busy space in summer and where cider houses, cafes and shops abound. The old town it is pedestrianized and it extends from the coquettish park of the Atalaya to its westernmost foothill in the neighborhood of Portiellu, one of the towns that gave rise to the town itself and that marked its seafaring condition.
The port of Ribadesella
The port area It has been remodeled in the last decade and now combines the presence of fishing nets and boats with its orientation as a boulevard: tourist and commercial promenade at the foot of the estuary. The very mouth of the sella has undergone a transformation in its use; it has gone from being the exclusive refuge of fishing vessels -as still witnessed by boats and fishing boats, or the fish market itself (La Rula) - to sharing its waters with recreational sailing ships that dock at the pontoons of a new marina, raised on the opposite shore to the traditional dock. The attractiveness of this area of the port becomes pure aesthetic pleasure walking through the popular Crane ride, at the eastern end of the estuary. This is a highly recommended route that was designed according to the architectural guidelines of the time of Carlos III and which is very pleasant for the ride. Walking through it we get a good view of the main urban area of the village, but also of the west bank, including beautiful Santa Marina Beach.
In this walk, humorist Antonio Mingote has left reflected his biggest vignette, in six ceramic murals that review the local history. Those that are popularly known as The Mingote Panels, they are an authentic work of art in the open air that you should not miss.
We walk the Paseo de la Grúa until its end and we arrive at a wide space, with high retaining walls, from which we get a close view of the Cantabrian Sea. Above us, the Monte Corberu, a promontory with exclusive views. From the area where we are located we can easily ascend it by stairs. At the top is The Guide Hermitage, a small chapel that is the seat of the Virgin of the same name, the patron saint of the sailors' guild since ancient times. In the surroundings of the hermitage we discovered authentic cannons pointing towards the horizon. It is about the weapons that the ancient Rio de Janeiroians used to protect themselves from any threat that will come from the sea, call pirates or foreign conquerors.
From the mountain of «Guide» we obtain an exact map of the village, with its two clearly differentiated parts, its enormous beach, the wide estuary and the high mountain ranges that surrounds the town by the south, with its maximum level located in the Mount Mofrechu. At the end of the beach is the Monte Somos, which together with the Corberu, in which we find ourselves, give the mouth and the beach an aspect of a shell. If we look further down we discover the pedrales. The coast at the foot of the cliff is made of rocks and boulders.
We descend from the chapel through a path that runs through Mount Corberu and that will leave us in the old town, specifically in the Atalaya Park. Nearby we find the beach of the same name, one of the two most frequented bathing areas of Ribadesella. The Atalaya Beach It is an advanced pedral in its evolution and has traditionally been the favorite "solarium" of the inhabitants of this area. To the right and left, the pedral of the Atalaya extends into more stone coves and privileged swimming areas, with swimming pools and natural pools to enjoy the sea in its purest state.
The old town of Ribadesella
From here, and redoing the sense by which we arrive at the pedral, we can enter into the historic helmet of the locality. It is a restored and pedestrian environment, with architectural gems such as the Casa de los Ardines, the Palacio de Prieto Cutre, the current City Hall building, or the house of the Escudo, which, among other properties, grant the area a deserved title: "historical artistic".
The parish church of Santa María Magdalena, and its adjoining square, in the heart of the old town, is well worth a visit for its aesthetic singularity and for the pictorial jewels that the temple itself keeps inside. Highlight the four huge fresco murals by the brothers Bernardo, Celestino and Antonio Uría Aza, located on the four sides that finish the cruise and are a clear allegory against all wars.
The historic center also houses the oldest "shopping center" of Ribadesella, its Wednesday's weekly market, inaugurated next to the villa itself in the thirteenth century. In it the small producers of the region offer to the public the vegetables of the council, the fruits of season, «fabes», seasonal fruits, chestnuts, hazelnuts and nuts, cheeses, apple sweets, «pantrucos» or corn flour, indispensable for fried tortoises and for the consistent "borona", made in the oven and stuffed with sausages. The weekly market is also a showcase for clothing stalls, various utensils, antiques, florists, etc.
The Artistic Historical set presents a medieval court and lets glimpse buildings with cantilevered balconies, glazed galleries, loft-shaped penthouses, facades with noble and arcaded shields, with buildings dating from the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The rest of the urban area on this shore of the Sella extends on a platform gained to the waters of the estuary throughout the last centuries, and the relative modernity of its foundations has allowed it to have a layout of streets with a great sense of amplitude, in accordance with the urbanistic norms of Carlos III, under whose reign the expansion of the town and port was undertaken.
In in the contemporary widening we discover Sober and solid buildings with a 19th-century square plan that are combined with others of more recent construction.
The beach of Ribadesella
On the other side of the estuary, after crossing the bridge, we access the Arenal de Santa Marina. Here in the year 1907 the Marchioness of Argüelles launched a unique urbanization. The luxurious residences and hotels that we can observe today in this part of Ribadesella are a legacy of the aristocratic and Indian constructions like the most cited of Villa Rosario, currently hotel. Right on this shore of the Sella, at the foot of the beach, part of the bourgeoisie of the time found an appropriate balneal environment for sun and sea baths, and a perfect place to reside in long summer stays. In this urbanized area new buildings are intermingled with the modernist building samples of the early twentieth century. Walking for the beach promenade It is a valid exercise at any time of the year.
In its eastern slope, the beach of Santa Marina concludes in the call Punta Arenal, where the estuary of the Sella takes its last curve before emptying into the sea. This point was formerly a much larger territory, area of dunes, dry dock of boats and solar of whaling industries. The subsequent urbanization of the area known today as «The tip» was changing the use of this area and its appearance.
The attractions of the west bank of the Sella are more than the beach itself and its architectural jewels. Very close they are the caves of Tito Bustillo and the massif of Ardines, an environment of Palaeolithic settlements with numerous examples of Magdalenian rock art that make it one of the prehistoric sanctuaries of the world. To know more about Tito Bustillo.
At the top of the Ardines massif itself we also find another great viewpoint of the village. Taking the N-632 towards Gijón, and just after leaving the urban area, we ascend the AS-341 towards the village of Carmen. After 100 meters traveled we left this road to continue to the left towards the recreational area of La Moría. This plain is a place of recreation very frequented with good weather and a unique watchtower to enjoy the view of the town. The panorama is wide: Ribadesella and its port, the bay and mouth of the Sella, the hermitage of Guía, the beach of Santa Marina ... We also discovered the extensive Malecón Natural Park, an elongated marsh that delimits to the South the promenade of the Beach. The Malecón has a great ecological value and is a place of passage for migratory birds. You can discover its fauna and flora walking through the park itself. There is an asphalted road and a series of footbridges and turrets to see everything very closely.
If we decide to go up Monte Somos, ascending a narrow road that starts right on the western edge of the beach, we also discover an unbeatable view of the beach and discover that the town still continues west in large urbanizations that have been built since the 80 years. Right at this western end we also find the promenade of Punta el Pozu, that borders the mount We are in its low zone and that it limits the beach. At the end of it we will be delighted with the close presence of the sea and the nearby cliffs where we also find, right at the end of the walk, dinosaur footprints in vertical slabs that are part of the Asturian Jurassic coast.
The Sella estuary
We can still enjoy one more walk if we cross the bridge in the direction of the urban area and we turn to the right once it is over. From the same podium of the International Descent, the walk of Los Vencedores del Sella, which runs along the river until the neighborhood of Cobayu and that continues beyond. This trip reveals us at the end the natural area of the Mediana. In front of us stretches a vast flat territory, a river jewel, fertile and beautiful that has been recently declared protected environment and that perhaps in the near future has the necessary to guarantee a walk, one of the many that Ribadesella provides to its inhabitants and tourists and that makes it one of the villas with more perspectives of itself.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com
Information of interest
Walk Doña Leticia
Tel: 985 86 00 38Tito Bustillo Caves
Tel: 985 86 12 55