The sea off Asturias is different: it has power, character and a great deal of art. In Spanish it’s the Cantábrico –in English the Bay of Biscay– and it’s a marvellous sculptor. Along the 340 kilometres of the Asturian coast, the power of its waves has drawn great cliffs and deep caves and then shaped its pretty beaches. And these beaches are doubtless its greatest work of art. They have been made with affection, with care, with time. Some are large and others are small; of fine sand or of stone; some hidden among the rocks… But all the beaches, without exception, are a treasure of the Cantábrico.

You can travel along the coast of Asturias, go down to the beaches, wade in the sea and calmly contemplate the surroundings. While they are all enchanting and have something special, here are some that are outstanding and are not to be missed.

Playa de Cadavedo. Valdés. Turismo Asturias – Noé Baranda

One of them is Gulpiyuri, in the eastern part of Asturias, probably among the most peculiar in Spain because it is separated from the sea by a string of land some 100 metres in length. Indeed, at first glance it can appear to be a small lake or a natural pool. But it receives water from the Cantábrico through a subterranean conduit and has some 50 metres of natural sand. So yes, it is a beach, and in 2001 it was declared a Natural Monument.

Close by, in the council of Llanes, is Torimbia beach. With its half-moon shape, it has fine sand and very clear water. But what’s probably most noteworthy are the views: it is surrounded by cliffs that are 50 metres high. The green of the mountains blends with the blue of the water to create a unique place.

Playa de Torimbia. Llanes. Turismo Asturias – Roberto Tolín

Also in Llanes is the Cuevas del Mar beach. Here the sea did an excellent job carving out the stone and opening hundreds of caves. They are only visible at low tide, when the giant rock formations can be seen, crossed by tunnels and grottos.

Playa de Cuevas de Mar. Llanes. Turismo Asturias – Noé Baranda

Following the coast westward, near Cudillero is Oleiros beach, in a semi-wild setting, with crystalline waters,  pine trees and cliffs. It’s also a paradise for underwater fishing, surfing and windsurfing. While it’s a little hard to reach, through an unpaved trail, it’s worth a visit.

As its name indicates, the Playa del Silencio leaves you at a loss for words. At 510 metres in length and with a curious string of islets on its banks, this unknown place has some spectacular views. On the inland side there is also a great view, since the beach is surrounded by some lovely, impressive cliffs. The beach is more stony than sandy, and has a virgin, somewhat wild beauty. It is near the town of Castañeras, and to reach it you must walk a good ways and then go down some steep stone steps built into the cliff.

Playa de Oleiros. Cudillero. Turismo Asturias – Arnaud Späni

This route ends in Cadavedo beach, also known as Playa de La Ribeirona, an immense strand that at low tide has 53,000 square metres. Around it are forests, and keeping watch from the top of a hill there’s even a small hórreo, a traditional granary.

Playa del Silencio. Cudillero. Turismo Asturias – Alfonso Polvorinos

These are just a few of the prettiest works along the Asturian coast. But there are many more: it is dotted with beaches and hidden coves that make it a paradise. And there may be even more to discover, because the Cantábrico is a restless, living artist at work every day of the year. Its love and dedication are captured in this marvellous work that is the Asturian coast.