Spain was treating us well since we left Santander. There was sunny weather every day, making it pleasant to be sailing and to be land bound. It was a pleasant sail from Santander to Llanes. We really enjoyed seeing the high mountains that lies right by the coast, much like the Norwegian west coast. The highest mountains a little further inland is still covered in snow, whereas the mountains closer to shore is green and covered in trees.
We arrived in Llanes in the afternoon, going through the mouth of the river and the tight entrance to the harbour. Just as you enter there is an artwork “The cubes of memory” where the artist Augustin Ibarrola has painted the big concrete cubes that shelters the harbour from the storm.
We took a stroll through town in the evening, reflecting on the architecture here that differs quite a lot from the French. They have a cosy square and quite a lot of restaurants and shops with all the Asturian delicacies. The cobbled streets have buildings ranging from the 13th century until today, including the church Iglesia de Santa Maria which is one of the waypoints on the Camino de Santiago that runs along the Asturian coastline.
The second day we took a small hike around town and enjoyed the views over the town. Walking out of the town you pass the old defense tower and the old town walls. We then continued on the cliff walk El Paseo de San Pedro which provides a panorama view over town and also great views of the surrounding mountains and the sea.
The tourist office lies just by the harbour and they gave us some directions for a nice coastal walk that you could take on either direction from Llanes. We decided to walk back towards Santander the next day. The hike took us through small villages, passing beaches and along small country roads with sheep, horses, cows or goats staring at us as we passed by.
Then the route turned upwards. One viewpoint was just above the perfect little beach, where we actually saw one man take a swim. It must have been rather cold in the water, but since the air was warm I still got a bit jealous. It was the perfect picnic spot.
We continued down the mountains through the eucalyptus forest and some small farms until we got to a bridge over a small river and decided it was time for lunch. It was nice to wash the feet that were hot from hiking in the cold stream.
The last part of the hike was right by the coast, passing a lot of “bufones” – holes in the ground that is shooting up sea water high up in the air when the tide is high and the waves are crashing in from the sea. We just heard the deep murmur, which I was quite happy about since of course Jens decided to climb down to it… When we arrived to the village Pendueles after 15 km hike we decided that we deserved an ice-cream and then took the train back to Llanes. The train in Spain is cheap! If you are ever close to Llanes, we really recommend walking a part of the “Senda Costera” walk.
NOTES FOR SAILORS
The harbour in Llanes belongs to a boat club and does only have 1-2 spots for visitors (we could stay for free, but maybe it was because we arrived in the low season). You need to call ahead to confirm there is room and that you are welcome to stay. There is a narrow entry where current depth is indicated on the pier on starboard side. Electricity and water is available on the jetty, but no other facilities. The tourist information next door has a toilet and free WIFI during their office hours.
Llanes really was a little gem and one of our favourite spots so far. Even if you don´t come here by boat, it is only a short train ride from Santander.