The Northern Route of Saint James or Coastal Route as it passes through Asturias, was used by the first European pilgrims as it followed along a pre-existing route carved out by the local inhabitants thousands of years before especially between the European Coastal communities of the Atlantic Arc. From the dawn of the Jacobean era and due to the Moorish conflicts throughout Spain, this was the safest way to Santiago or Saint James to visit the final resting place of the Apostle Saint James as only the Cantabric Coastline was free of the domination and attacks by the Moors. Afterwards, between the 12th-13th centuries, The Northern Route of Saint James was consolidated as the most popular maritime and overland way to arrive at Santiago.
The Northern Route of Saint James in Asturias passes through 23 Councils: Ribadedeva, Llanes, Ribadesella, Caravia, Colunga, Villaviciosa, Gijón, Carreño, Corvera, Avilés, Castrillón, Soto del Barco, Pravia, Muros de Nalón, Cudillero, Luarca-Valdes, Navia, Coaña, El Franco, Tapia de Casariego, Castropol, Vegadeo y San Tirso de Abres.
As you cross the bridge over the river Deva and enter into the Principality of Asturias, you soon become aware that not only are you on a historically important stage of the Way of Saint James but also that Asturias has much to offer her visitors and much to marvel over. This is a region that some have labelled “The best kept secret in Spain” and there is good reason for that.
Pilgrims to Saint James will be treated to some of the most spectacular landscapes the country has to offer such as the stunning Picos de Europa, the Sierra del Sueve, the river Eo reserve, many Natural Protected Spaces, beautiful Beaches, and some very eye-catching natural phenomenon. Visitors can make a stop at the many viewpoints and beauty spots ideal for taking memorable photos or simply resting a while and taking the environment in. A brief detour along some of the other coastal walkways will allow pilgrims to Saint James to discover fabulous coves and beaches where you can take a refreshing swim to energise your body…. and soul.
This dramatic landscape, both mountainous and coastal is responsible for the temperate climate of Asturias. The region is wonderfully lush and vibrant and is a bountiful land for gastronomy. Pilgrims to Saint James will be given an opportunity to try the freshest fish and seafood caught locally and served to perfection or sample the fine locally reared beef, lamb, chicken and pork prepared in a traditional way that that will satisfy even the biggest appetite. You cannot pass through Asturias, a region famous it’s food producers and artisans without tasting their wonderful cheeses with more than 40 varieties or the local honey, the Fabada Bean casseroles, smoked chorizo, blood sausage, cider, preserves, traditional Breads, very fresh vegetables and fruits, wine, liqueurs and delicious desserts.
The Northern Route of Saint James in Asturias
Every step a pilgrim takes along the Asturias leg of The Northern Route of Saint James is a step along time and history dating as far back as the Jurassic period when dinosaurs dominated the region to early man and the development of culture, from the secretive and hidden Celtic traditions to the inventive Bronze Age and the unique Pre- Romanesque Architecture and examples of Roman occupation, Chapels, Monasteries and medieval towers. From times of mass emigration and the influences of faraway lands to the dramatic industrial revolution… from times of modernity to a time of hopefulness for the future.
This impressive history is visible at every turn of the way be it in the bustling cities or the small coastal villages. The cities offer Pilgrims to Saint James plenty of excellent accommodation, places to eat and visit and many streets dedicated to shopping in order to stock up on essentials that will help you endure the pilgrimage to the final resting place of the Apostle Saint James. The coastal villages and towns offer their visitors a chance to rest weary feet and experience a lifestyle that still operates today as it did many years ago with the added advantage of beautiful rural hotels and restaurants.
Whether the reason for passing through Asturias is a spiritual on their Way to Saint James resting place or a touristic one, pilgrims will always be greeted by a warm and friendly people that wish to make the visitors experience a very fulfilling and enjoyable one. Taking time to explore the region more will allow visitors to witness a real and lively part of Spain that is fast becoming a destination of choice for those looking for a unique holiday experience. Welcome to the Way of Saint James in Asturias and “Buen Camino”.
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