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The area of Villaviciosa is symbolically the heart of Asturias because of its situation at the centre-east of the region and because the area is well known for its Cider production of which the Asturians are very proud.

Villaviciosa is very popular with tourists due to its beauty, landscapes, beaches and the Partial Natural Reserve surrounding the estuary.

The Estuary of Villaviciosa is 8 Km long and at the point close to the mouth is 1000 metres wide ending at the stunning beach of Rodiles. It is an essential place for ornithologists as this estuary has of vital importance for migratory and wintering birds where you can observe more than 150 species. The environmental value of the estuary of Villaviciosa has been recognised as a European Place of Interest (LIC), a special Protection Zone for Birds (ZEPA) and a part of the network NATURA 2000. Also it is in the list of Wetlands with International Importance (RAMSAR).

The area of Villaviciosa has an exceptional heritage full of examples of Romanic ethnographic relevance.

The village of Villaviciosa is a lively and charming village with an historic centre considered of Cultural Interest with important buildings like the Church of Santa Maria de la Oliva, the Ballina Park, the City Hall,  the Riera Theatre or several Palaces from the XVII and XVIII centuries, among others.

Throughout the village and the surrounds there are multiple representations of Roman architecture, the principal one been the pre-Romanic basilica of San Salvador de Valdedios.

Just at the outskirts of Villaviciosa you will find the charming fishing village of Tazones, a beautiful old whaling town with white houses and a nice port considered of Cultural Interest.

The magnificent rural town of Sietes stands out for its decorated “horreos” (asturian food stores) of a great ethnographic value. Here you can visit the Casa L’Horru (House of the Asturian Food Stores) which was sponsored by the local emigrants in order to study and explain this traditional architecture.

The Council of Villaviciosa is a part of the Route of Saint James. This section is known as the  Northern Routewhich goes along  the Coast of Asturias. In the area you can also do many other routes like the “Ruta de los Molinos del Rio Profundu” (Route of the Watermills), the “Ruta del Romanico” (Route of the Romans) or the  “Ruta del Azabache” (Route of Jet, which is a black stone use in making Jewellery).

This area has some of the best beaches of Asturias such as Rodiles, a renowned sandy beach and considered one of the best waves in Europe by surfers. Other beaches of interest are El Puntal, Tazones, España, Meron, and La Ñora. Also, the coastline of Villaviciosa is a part of the “Coast of Dinosaurs” where you will find the Jurassic reptile prints and Dinosaur bone remains. You can see this around the Meron Beach, Tazones Port and Tazones Lighthouse Cliffs.

This is also an area that encourages traditional handcrafts as part of the local cultural wealth. One of them is the Jet jewellery (Azabache) designs as Villaviciosa is home to one of the most important Jet mines in Asturias. The jet from this area is considered one of the best quality in the world. Other handcrafts of woodcarving, pottery, textile, leatherwork, etc. can be found throughout.

The Gastronomy in this area is based around the traditional Asturian fare, with stews, Asturian reared beef and fresh fish from the see and the rivers. It has special importance the quality shellfish from the area, cooked with rice or in many ways but always very tasty. And of course the real star of the area is Cider which is great for drinking but also for cooking with.

In the area of Villaviciosa there are many popular parties, but two of the most significant ones are “The Festival of the Apple” and the historic festival in the town of Tazones with a re-enactment of “The Landing of the Emperor Carlos V”.

Images supplied by Tomás Fano