The Coastal Way

Stage 3: Ribadesella/Ribeseya - Priesca

Stage with a length of 29.02 kilometers, which runs through the western area of ​​the council of Ribadesella/Ribeseya, as well as through the municipalities of Caravia, Colunga and a small part of Villaviciosa. It is a stage that combines ascents and slopes of a certain entity, such as those that lead to Abéu, Berbes and Priesca, with practically flat routes in the middle of the Cantabrian coast, highlighting the long maritime stretch of the Caravia council, through an entirely natural environment, without buildings in sight.

The Camino runs largely on sections of asphalt road, although almost a third of the route is done on dirt and stone tracks. It passes through large population centers, such as the capitals of Ribadesella/Ribeseya and Colunga, and through a good handful of small towns and villages, in which excellent testimonies of the traditional popular architecture of Asturias are preserved. The granaries and paneras are very abundant, the two most defining elements of the auxiliary constructions that support the peasant and cattle work that for so many centuries constituted the fundamental sustenance of the people of Asturias.

The natural landscape is particularly interesting at some points on this route, the Way running alongside beaches of interest such as Vega in Ribadesella/Ribeseya or Morís and La Espasa, in the councils of Caravia and Colunga. Likewise, the route goes into higher areas, not far from the sea, the foothills of the El Fitu and El Sueve mountains, which allow you to pass in a few kilometers from direct visual contact with the Cantabrian Sea to rugged landscapes dotted with small towns. A particularly beautiful point of fusion between nature and human construction is in Bueño, with the two small bridges, called Roman bridges, crossing the small stream that will soon flow into the coast of La Isla, in Colunga. The cultural heritage finds in the church of San Salvador de Priesca, at the end of the route, its most relevant testimony. This pre-Romanesque church, preserved in excellent condition, has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2015.

The documented references of the passage of pilgrims through the Jacobean route that includes this stage are very abundant, ranging from the news regarding the existence of pilgrim hospitals in towns such as Ribadesella/Ribeseya itself, San Esteban de Leces, Berbes or Colunga, to the frequent mentions that are made in ecclesiastical documents to the death of pilgrims of very diverse origins in several of the places that mark this stage. There are also references to the passage of pilgrims through sites that today are more or less far from the official route, such as the old monastery of Santiago de Caravia (founded in 1040), Llastres or the church of Santiago de Gobiendes.

Stage description

The stage begins in the heart of the historic center of Ribadesella/Ribeseya, in front of the parish church of Santa María Magdalena. From here, continue along Calle Manuel Fernández Juncos, the old main street of the town, which has an irregular layout, typical of the time when it was drawn, in the middle of the Middle Ages. On both sides of this road, old buildings are preserved, some of them built between stone firebreaks, and which generally have a narrow façade, the result of the characteristic layout of the parcel (narrow farms with much development in depth) typical of medieval urbanism . In the property located at the number ¿?? The Uria-Aza brothers (Bernardo, Antonio and Celestino) were born, prominent local artists who captured the best of their work in the nearby parish church of Ribadesella/Ribeseya, while a little later, at number 18, the great painter Darío de Regoyos was born , in 1857, in a superb 18th century building in which the quality of the limestone ashlars with which the façade is built stands out, presided over by a large coat of arms of the Marquis of Collado.

This street leads to a small park in the Plaza de Villar Valle or the Mercado de Ganado, having to turn left, onto Calle Manuel Caso de la Villa, which leads directly to the port of Ribadesella/Ribeseya, where the rationalist building appears first. from the Fish Market.

In medieval and modern times, the Ribadesella/Ribeseya estuary had to be saved by boat, leaving the port (specifically from the place known as the Rambla de la Barca) the boats that allowed the pilgrim to continue their route along the coastal path towards Compostela. In 1869 a first bridge was built over the Sella, since then the connection on foot between the two banks of the riverbed was channeled through here, which also facilitated the urban development of Ribadesella/Ribeseya beyond its medieval limits, producing the urbanization of the sandy area of Santa Marina, which became the great urban beach of the town.

The Camino de Santiago continues its journey to the left of the fish market, along the shore of the estuary, through the Reina Letizia promenade, until it reaches the bridge, which has a sidewalk on both sides of its board, allowing safe pedestrian traffic . This bridge is the end point of the famous International Descent of the Sella, one of the main world canoeing competitions that is held every year on the first weekend of August.

In the direction of travel, from the bridge you can see on the right the mouth of the Sella in the river, as well as the beach of Santa Marina, and backwards the old town of Ribadesella/Ribeseya. From the left side of the bridge it is possible to contemplate an excellent panoramic view of the valley that makes up the river Sella, and also of the Ardines massif, a karst relief in which a complex system of cavities develops, among which the one of Tito Bustillo stands out. the great Asturian sanctuary of Palaeolithic rock art. This cave was included in 2007 on the UNESCO World Heritage List, being a must for all lovers of art and the history of Humanity. From the Camino de Santiago to the access to the cave there is a distance of just 400 meters, easily traveled along the shoulder of the local road RS2.

After crossing the bridge over the Sella, the Camino turns right and immediately afterwards left, along Darío de Regoyos street, until less than 200 meters later, it turns right again onto Avelina Cerra street, at On the left bank there is a source of drinking water, and the Avelina Cerra secondary education institute is also located here. This street ends at Calle de Dionisio Ruisánchez, parallel to the promenade of Santa Marina beach, which the official Jacobean route does not reach.

Continue along this street for approximately 1.8 kilometers. In the section of the street parallel to the promenade, the large palaces promoted by aristocrats and bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 20th century, at the time when the Santa Marina beach began to be urbanized, becoming one of the great places of summer vacation for the well-to-do classes in the Cantabrian Sea. Large single-family homes and chalets such as Villa Rosario, Villa Argentina or the Chalet de Uría-Aza line the street in its first foothills, gradually giving way to rationalist chalets and more recently built houses and, finally, to the large Astursella urbanization, formed for single-family semi-detached houses and of greater development in height.

From a roundabout, called Plaza de Miguel Ángel, the street is renamed Carretera de San Pedro, in the area where the presence of very recent constructions is already dominant.

This long route leads to the Ribadesella/Ribeseya exit, in the area known as Somos, connecting after a roundabout with the local road that leads to the town of San Pedru, the route running along the shoulder of said road. Then a steep ascent begins, which saves an approximate difference of 100 meters between the capital of the council and the town of Abéu.

Continue on the local road for about a kilometer until you reach San Pedru. On this ascent, you pass a drive-in movie on the right and a campsite on the left, just outside Ribadesella/Ribeseya, in the area known as Los Porqueros. Further on, you pass a detour to the left and you come to the center of San Pedru, which you cross following the local road itself. To the right and left the constructions of this population are developed.

You pass by a fountain and laundry room. The local church, from the 18th century, is on the left hand side of the Camino, on a lower level of the slope where the town develops, which has some good examples of granaries and bread baskets, some of them with decorative carvings on the girders, the wooden beams that make up the construction box.

Leave San Pedru behind and continue along the local road, flanked by trees, intensifying the uphill slope, reaching the next town, Abéu, after just one kilometer of travel. At the exit of San Pedru, on the left hand side, there is an old stone construction, with two floors, which has a pronounced eaves with roof tiles.

The route of the Camino through Abéu is carried out by the local road itself, through the El Cantarillón neighborhood, not entering the town, which is on the right-hand side of the Jacobean route.

Continue along the road to a crossroads that leads, on the left, to the church of San Esteban de Leces, of Romanesque origin, and the adjoining pilgrims’ hostel, heir to the one that existed here in modern times. In the church’s registry books there are testimonies that confirm the passage of pilgrims through the place, two of whom, of French origin, would have the misfortune of dying in this place in the years 1742 and 1764.

To get to San Esteban de Leces, you have to deviate about 300 meters from the route, at a crossroads where, to continue on the road to Santiago, you have to continue straight ahead, along the so-called Camino Real. This is a concrete route that runs mid-slope through a totally natural environment, among trees, flanked at different points by stone walls, and with wide perspectives of valleys and mountains to the left. This Camino Real ascends to the place known in the past as El Manso, a hillock where a sale was once located, of which no remains have been preserved.

After approximately a kilometer and a half, you will come to a fork in the road, the one that goes to the left goes to the town of Barréu, continuing the Camino de Santiago to the right, towards Vega, a town that can be reached in just 350 meters, for a Downhill concrete path with wide panoramic views to the left of Vega beach. Vega is accessed through the La Sertal neighborhood.

The Camino crosses the town of Vega, running between houses of two or three heights, with corridors and galleries, and next to numerous granaries. You pass by the Maria Magdalena chapel, built in 1922, leaving a small fountain on the right and a curious house on the façade of which trompe l’oeils have been painted reproducing the arches of a street in Avilés or famous scenes from history of art, like Vermeer’s Milkmaid.

The road through Vega ends at the local road RS4, continuing at this point to the right, along the shoulder of the road that leads directly to Vega beach. You cross a modern footbridge that crosses the Acebo stream and that allows you to see, on the left, the remains of the old stone bridge, of which only the start of the left abutment that supported the construction has been preserved, since a large flood that occurred in August 1988 wiped out the rest of the elements of this infrastructure.

The Way continues straight ahead, after crossing the river, along a cobbled path, which leads to a fork of paths where you must follow the one on the left, heading south, leaving the beach on the right. Continue along this cobbled path with pebbled stone and come to a new fork, where the route continues along the path to the right, all between meadows. We continue along a narrow dirt path, with some section that is still paved, which ascends the slope of Mount El Cuetu L’Aspa on a steep slope, allowing us to contemplate, on the right, broad perspectives of the Cantabrian coast.

Until recently, fluorite mining operations were carried out in this area, and part of the land was restored to the environment, with earth fillings that have shaped the current aspect of the landscape.

The dirt track leads to a wide gravel path, continuing along it to the right. After less than 400 meters it connects with the national road N-632, which cannot be reached because just before you take a concrete path that continues to the right and that leads directly to the town of Berbes, the last town of the Ribadesella/Ribeseya council through the that runs the coastal Camino de Santiago and in which there was a pilgrim hospital in modern times, founded in 1678 by Alonso Covián Ganancia and which disappeared in 1702 after a short existence.

The concrete track soon gives way to a dirt and stone path that leads to the first houses in Berbes, including an old post house located behind a section of the Camino that runs sandwiched between stone walls. After passing the house, continue along a path flanked by earth walls and go down to Berbes between single-family houses, leaving the parish church on the right, outside the Camino. The Camino ends at the 632 national road. You cross this road and continue along a paved section with a deep box, which leads back to the N-632. This intermediate section, known as “La Caleyona”, is one of the most interesting sections of the stage, due to its own configuration as a passageway dug into the rock.

Continue for approximately 75 meters along the shoulder of the road, to the left, then take the first detour to the right, which leads to the so-called Sollaríu, a short dirt road flanked by stone walls that ends again after just 250 meters on the national highway. Continue on this road to the limit with the council of Caravia, for a little less than a kilometer.

Upon reaching the council of Caravia, the Camino takes a detour to the right, ascending along a dirt and stone track that shortly after the detour turns to the left and begins an ascent up the slope of Cantu la Figar among eucalyptus trees and, which gives After a while, I pass to a very narrow dirt road in the area known as Les Telles, which descends towards the Arenal de Morís beach, from which you can contemplate splendid panoramic views. The Camino goes down to the beach and a road that is not incorporated, passing behind a house and connecting with a footbridge over a small stream, after which it ascends a section with steps that lead to a dirt road .

This path leads to a local road, along whose shoulder adapted for pedestrians, to the left (in the opposite direction to the beach) we continue. Before reaching a campsite, take a detour to the right, along a dirt path parallel to the coast. Then one of the longest stretches of the coastal route of the Asturian Camino de Santiago begins, in a fully natural environment, among meadows and with hardly any construction around. The Camino always continues to the west, straight ahead along the route that was taken at the detour from the road, having to take a first detour to the left at a fork in the road that is about 170 meters after the start of this path.

Along the almost 2.5 kilometers of route until reaching the beach promenade of La Espasa, the Camino de Santiago runs between meadows and with the constant presence of the sea as a companion on the journey, being also possible to contemplate good prospects of the Sueve coastal mountain range, in what constitutes an exceptional panorama that combines the sea and the mountains. The presence of cows and bulls grazing will be frequent, having to cross several access ports to farms with right-of-way for the Jacobean route. In other cases, electric shepherds are found flanking the route of the Camino, to prevent the escape of cattle. At a crossroads point, where there is a fountain and a drinking trough, the detour to the capital of the Caravia council will be left on the left.

Further on, in the vicinity of the Beciella beach, a wooden walkway is crossed over the stream of the same name, also known in historical documentation as the Romeros stream due to its connection with the Camino de Santiago and in whose vicinity there is it located the old monastery of Santiago de Caravia.

This monastery was founded in 1040 by Count Nuño Rodríguez, nicknamed “El can”, and in 1176 it came under the control of the Oviedo Cathedral (by decision of King Fernando II), until its disappearance at the end of the 16th century. This center attracted many pilgrims in medieval times thanks to the relics it housed, among others of the Virgin herself and San Miguel. There are documentary sources that even point out that in this monastery there was an inn run by knights of the order of the Templars.

At this point there is currently a rest area with tables and benches set up in an exceptional environment, facing the sea. Shortly after, and after a paved section, you come to one of the flanks of the cove where La Espasa beach is located, allowing you to contemplate an exceptional panoramic view of it, with the presence of the town of The island.

This maritime path leads to the Paseo de La Espasa, already in an environment in which there are single-family buildings. The promenade presents a firm cobblestone first, and then cobblestone, which leads to the beach itself and to the El Viso area, where there are different facilities, such as restaurants, a toilet area and vehicle parking.

You continue along the promenade and at the end of it, in the parking area, you go up a ramp and reach the access road to the beach. Cross and access the bridge over the river Espasa, which has a sidewalk for pedestrians separated from road traffic. From the bridge you can see the mouth of this river in the sea, as well as the building of the old Venta de La Espasa, a historic construction already documented in the 18th century, already located in the council of Colunga and which currently has a agricultural dedication.

After crossing the river, the route continues along a sidewalk next to the national road 632. Soon, the first detour is taken to the right, along an asphalt road that continues perpendicular to the road for a few meters and then turns to the left, towards the neighborhood of El Barrigón, in the coastal town of La Isla. The Camino runs between single-family houses, leaving on the right a narrow alley that leads to the beach of La Isla. This road leads back to the road national, continuing to the right along a sidewalk, next to a large house.

At the first crossroads found, you have to cross the road and continue to the left, along a path parallel to this road that runs parallel to this national road and that allows you to get away from it for a few meters, for an area of new urbanization. After the new junction with the national highway, continue to the left, along a sidewalk that will be abandoned just 270 meters later, to take a dirt and stone path that opens to the left and which means the distance from the Camino del nucleus of The Island, through which the official Camino de Santiago does not run, although there is a pilgrims’ hostel in it that is located in some old schools.

After the detour from the national highway, the path, configured at this point as a narrow dirt path, runs through lush vegetation, soon leaving behind a short section of sidewalk behind some single-family houses. You pass a detour to the right hand side towards the national road and towards La Isla, and continue along a clearly rural road, which leads to the small stream of Bueño that is flanked by three small stone bridges, called the Roman bridges, although in reality They date from a much later period, as evidenced by their typical Gothic-era ogival profile.

After them, we continue along a path between trees that sometimes become an authentic vegetal corridor under which the Camino runs, in slight ascent, until it reaches the Bueño palace and its chapel, at which point the route passes to have a concrete road leading to the town of Bueño.

You go through the town, between single-family houses at the end of which, in a small open space, there is a fountain. Some old house, with a shield, marks the route of the Jacobean route as it passes through this town.

At the exit of the town, at a fork in the road, you continue along the one on the right, paved and on a slight upward slope, flanked on the right side by stone walls. As you go up this route, you can see good perspectives of the coastal section of this point in Colunga, as well as of the Sierra del Sueve. On the left hand side some ruined construction and the small nucleus of Covián, with single-family houses.

A descent begins here that will lead to an area of buildings of very recent construction and some pumarada or apple orchards. You come to a local road that you cross to continue along a dirt path that soon ends up on that same road that you continue on until you come to the AS-260 regional road. You cross and continue along an asphalt road that leads, after just 400 meters to the first buildings in the town of Colunga, municipal capital of the council of the same name. On the right hand side the Braulio Vigón school soon appears. Further on you will reach the Loreto chapel and the small green space that develops in front of it, from whose viewpoint it is possible to contemplate some of the large houses of Indian promotion that embellish the entrance to Colunga, in the case of the so-called mountain chalet, of the 1920s, and which stands out for the tower that it presents on its main facade, on the corner.

From here, you descend towards the center of Colunga, ending in Asturias Avenue, where you continue to the left, passing in front of a large modernist style villa from 1901 and soon arriving in the vicinity of the parish church, in a place where Avenida de Asturias converges with the AS-257 road that leads to Llastres and the Jurassic Museum of Asturias. Right at the confluence stands the great building of the Cafe La Esquina.

You cross the AS-257 road just in front of the Cafe La Esquina and you come to the parish church of San Cristóbal.

Leave the church behind and come to the adjoining Alonso de Covián house, in front of which there is a small garden area with a fountain. Go around this house and go up Calle Grande Covián (formerly Calle Real) that leads to Plaza del General Vigón and the chapel of Santa Ana and San Hilarión. This chapel of Santa Ana is all that remains of the old Colunga pilgrim hospital, created in the 16th century by the brotherhood of Santa Ana, linked to the guild of seafarers in the nearby port of Llastres. On this journey through the historic center of Colunga, you will pass by buildings of great interest, of varied styles, such as the modernist Casa de los Pablos or various traditional buildings, such as the so-called house of the arcades, in the Baroque style, which has its lower floor with arcades formed by semicircular arches, finishing this construction with a glazed gallery.

In the vicinity of the chapel you can see some interesting testimonies of popular constructions, dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, with frequent wooden galleries, roof tiles. An example is the very renovated building of the El Mesón hostel, next to the Santa Ana chapel, built in 1856.

When you reach the end of this street, in Plaza Mercado, continue to the right, descending along Calle Carril, formed as a long ramp that leads to the national highway, which it crosses, connecting with the As-258 cart, by whose sidewalk is continued. You cross the Llibardón river by a modern concrete bridge (heir to the historic Sorribero bridge) and continue along a sidewalk to a first crossroads, where you have to take the one on the right, corresponding to the local road CL -1.

Continue along this local road for approximately 1.6 kilometers, passing through the small neighborhoods of El Llechazu, La Calzada, El Charcón, Zafra, Tras la Miranda and El Tarrerón, in the valley of the Sales and Llovones rivers. This is a more or less flat area, in which there are these small neighborhoods in which generally recent single-family constructions abound. Meadows and some apple tree plantations develop between the nuclei.

When you reach La Venta Peón, where the building of the old inn still exists, very altered, you take a detour to the left, along a flat concrete path that leads to an underpass of the highway, after having crossed the river Llovones by a small bridge.

After crossing the motorway, continue straight on along the shoulder of the AS-258 regional road, on a steep climb up the La Biseca mountain, which leads to the detour to the nucleus of La Corraliega, where the route is already flat again. Shortly after, the turnoff to Conyéu is left on the left, continuing here along the local road. We pass another detour to the left, in this case to Casablanca, and continue in an environment of small hills and valleys, dotted with some construction and agricultural exploitation. After leaving the detour to the town of Beldréu on the left, you go up an asphalt path that has on its right side, in the place known as La Cruz de Beldréu, with a small chapel of souls, built in 1955 and preserved in the interior a representation of the Virgin Mary on tile.

Continue along the local road for about 600 meters until you reach the detour to Villaescusa, on the left, which you take, soon arriving at the church and cemetery of San Pedro de Pernús, after which you access the town of the same name , one of whose neighborhoods you cross, continuing along the local road CL1, leaving the detour to the source of El Llovéu on the right.

After a few meters of ascent along the road, you will reach the small town of La Vega, where an old house with an L-shaped plan stands out in the center of the town. We continue up the local road CL-1, until we reach a dirt track that starts on the left side of this road. Take that road and by the same you reach the town of La Llera, passing in front of the church, from 1792, next to which several granaries and bread baskets of great antiquity and richly carved decoration rise. You also pass in front of the ruins of a construction.

At the exit of the town, at a crossroads, continue on the left, leaving the detour to Los Valles on the right.

It continues ascending, being able to be seen to the left, below, the town of La Llera, in the part of it that already corresponds to the council of Villaviciosa.

Continue along the local road, leaving the detour to Muñones on the right, a place dominated by a large house with a chapel and granary, on a property located on a steep slope of the land, under which the Camino de Santiago runs, which starts here a descent (contemplating from this point for the first time the Villaviciosa estuary).

The road continues to the town of Quintana, presided over by its pre-Romanesque church of San Salvador de Priesca, built in the 9th century, which houses interesting paintings from this period, and which since 2015 has been on the World Heritage List of UNESCO as an outstanding heritage asset linked to the Jacobean coastal route. The old parsonage is located next to the church.

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