Discovering Spain’s Costa Verde (Green Coast)

The Spanish Costa Verde (Green Coast) lies on the country’s northern coast, facing the Atlantic Ocean.   The weather here is cooler than on the southern Spanish Costas, so it’s a good Summer destination if you don’t like it too hot. The beaches are popular with surfers due to the Atlantic breakers. The Costa Verde stretches from San Vincente de la Barquera in the east to Ribadeo in the west.  I’ve been keen to visit this European destination for years now so decided to research and write this mini travel guide to the Costa Verde in Spain, as hopefully I’ll get there soon.

Las Catedrais Beach, Ribadeo by xindilo

Most visitors from the UK arrive in the area through the city of Santander, east of the Costa Verde.  Santander can be  reached by ferry from Plymouth or Ryanair flights from Stansted. The advantage of coming by ferry is that you can bring your own car, packed with as much luggage as you want and not have the added expense of a hire car if you want to tour the region.  You could spend a night in Santander on arrival or before departure, as there’s plenty to do and see there.  The are 10 beaches near the city; Sardinero, with its pale golden sand, is the largest.

Sardinero Beach, Santander by Yellow.Cat

The Barrio Pesquero is the place to head for fresh seafood straight from the fishing fleet.  It’s also the destination of the procession during celebrations for the city’s patron saint, Virgin del Carmen, on the 16 July.  You can stroll along the promenade and  admire the art deco style Sailing  Club building which stands on stilts at the water’s edge and the Palacete del Embarcadero.

Santander Bay by groblear

You’ll need to head west from Santander to get to the start of the Costa Verde at the village of San Vicente de la Barquera which lies in the middle of the Oymbre Nature Reserve. The 4 mile long Meron beach is ideal for surfing while the aptly named  Tostadero beach is popular for sunbathing.  There are several hotels in San Vicente de la Barquera

San Vincente de la Baquera by Monte Maste

As you head further west you’ll arrive in Llanes with its famous surfing beach Salinas. St Peters Walk is a grassy path with views over the town. There’s a fair selection of hotels in Llanes.  There are several caves in the area which usually charge around 3 Euro for adult entry but if you visit El Pinda or El Buxu on Wednesdays, it’s free to get in.  There’s a Cider Museum nearby.

Surfing in Llanes by Cesar de la Vega

One of the larger towns along the Coste Verde is Gijon, the location of many festivals and plenty of hotels. The Sea Week runs between 24 – 29 June, linking the celebrations for St John and St Peter.  In July there’s Black Week,  themed around crime thriller writing, which offers some free concerts.  The Day of Asturias is celebrated on the first Sunday in  August.  In November there’s an International Film Festival.  Gijon even has an International Bagpipe Museum.  The Atlantic Botanic Gardens are said to be some of best in Europe.

Gijon harbour by jlastras

Ribadeo lies at the western end of the Costa Verde. It’s home to one of the most popular Costa Verde attractions,  Las Catedrals Beach, with its amazing rock formations with many arches.  Make sure you go at low tide to see the formations, as many are submerged at high tide.  You can reach the lighthouse in Pancha Island in Ribadeo over a pedestrian bridge, where you can ascend to the observation platform encircling the lighthouse.  There are a few hotels in Ribadeo if you decide to spend some time here.

Las Cathedrals Beach by endogamia

I think that Spain’s Costa Verde has to be one of the best places to visit in Europe if you like dramatic coastal scenery dotted with lovely beaches and interesting towns and villages. If you’ve visited the area, please leave a comment with your Europe travel tips for your favourite Costa Verde attractions to add to my Spanish Costa Verde travel guide.