The Council of Luarca (Valdes) is a part of the Region of Vaqueiros which passes from coastal to inland towns of Asturias and is linked by the tradition of the seasonal migration of the livestock trade. The “vaqueiros” or cattle drivers began to inhabit this part of Asturias in the medieval times and the most distinctive aspect of this that still exists today are the Brañas or highland pastures where they used to breed their cattle. In this council you can find examples of the Pastures in Aristébano, Leiriella or Busindre.
The coastal region of Luarca (Valdes) is an area of exceptional beauty. The valley of Paredes is splendid and you will find popular country towns with classical buildings, a roman bridge and also examples of megalithic dolmens such as Restriello, the Menhir of Ovienes, Brieves in the valley of the river Esva and Llorin which is home to the tower of the Abella. There are also beautiful Mills and classical Asturian food stores called “Horreos” and “Paneras” throughout plus fine examples of a medieval legacy like the Villademoros Tower.
Water is the force behind many magnificent types of scenery in the area especially the fluvial landscape around the river Esva and its gorge. Most of the coastline has been declared a protected area but offers stunning beaches and cliffs especially that of Cape Busto.
Needless to say, this area is a big favourite amongst tourist. The main village of Luarca is known locally as the White Village because its gracefulness and tidiness. Luarca was a very important whaling port which brought a lot of wealth to the area; which can be seen in the buildings and large stately homes such as the Ferrera Marquees Palace and the Gamoneda Palace. You will find plenty of signs of their fishing pedigree in The Table of the Seafarer’s and Shipping Trader’s Guild in El Cambaral which, together with La Pescaderia, make up a classical and picturesque fishing village.
Other very beautiful parts of Luarca are the lighthouse, the Atalaya Chapel and the cemetery which is one of the most beautiful of its kind in the North of Spain with impressive views over the sea. It is at this cemetery where the body of Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, Severo Ochoa was laid to rest.
Examples of Indiano architecture can be found throughout the town of Villar with different palaces from the 19th and 20th century. Asturias underwent large scale emigration at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century to America, especially Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and the US. After the emigrants settled into their new homes and became wealthy they didn’t forget their roots and decided to build these magnificent houses to show off their new status as rich men. This style of very distinctive and characteristic architecture was almost always accompanied by large ornate gardens of palm trees as a part of their identity. Also, a lot of the “Nouveau Riche” acted as sponsors and helped finance some basic needs in the towns like education, water or drainage.
One very interesting place to visit at the port of Luarca is the Centre of Giant Squid which is one of the largest and most important collections of cephalopods of the world.
The area of Luarca (Valdes) is also home to some of the best beaches in Asturias like Luarca, Cueva, Cadavedo, Otur or Barayo.
The Council of Luarca (Valdes) is a part of the Route of Santiago. This section is known as the “ Northern Route” which goes along the Coast of Asturias.
The local food in Luarca (Valdes) is based on a traditional Asturian fare, with stews, Asturian reared beef, Chicken dishes, sweet treats and Asturian cheeses but the star of the area is the fresh fish and the sellfish.
Here will also have a chance to see a traditional Vaqueiro wedding in all its ritualistic and folkloric glory as Vaqueiro is one of the most unusual parties in Asturias. Also are very popular the parties of San Timoteo in Luarca or the Party of La Regalina in Cadavedo.
More info: Valdes-Luarca Tourist Office
If you want more information contact Where is Asturias at email@example.com
Images supplied by Tomás Fano, Ayto de Luarca, Comarca Vaqueira and Turismo Asturias: Arnaud Spani, Camilo Alonso