Exploring Llanes, a Mountain Drive & Hospitality at the Posada de Babel
On this gorgeous sunny day I had already fallen in love with one Asturian coastal town: the scenic town of Ribadesella had truly captured my heart and made it into my personal travel memory bank as one of the most scenic ocean-mountain towns I had ever seen. Now in the mid-afternoon I had to continue eastwards towards Llanes, another picturesque coastal town on the Cantabrian Sea. I was going to stay overnight near Llanes in a small country hotel called “la Posada de Babel” in the village of La Pereda.
Images from my drive along the northern shoreline of Asturias
Most of my drive to Llanes took me very close to the Atlantic coastline and I had to stop several times to gaze out over the sandy beaches on the ocean. After 3 pm I arrived in Llanes, a small ocean-front town of about 14,000 people that stretches out along the Green Coast of Spain. The Picos de Europa mountains almost reach down to the sea here and the town is framed by the coastal range called Sierra del Cuera.
A look at the Playa del Sablón in Llanes with the mountains in the background
Today Llanes is a fishing port with a long history: the remains of the town’s walls date back to 1206. Of course, tourism has also become an important contributor to the local economy. I stopped at a beach area called “Playa del Sablón”, a small scenic crescent-shaped beach that was surrounded on the north side by a long elevated promontory that offered gorgeous views of the entire area.
Another look at Llanes
I left my car parked at the beach and strolled into the town which was amazingly quiet right now because it was siesta time. Tourists in Spain have to be aware that any time between 2 and 5 pm, Spanish stores may close and activity ceases until the frenzy resumes during the cooler hours of the late afternoon. A few restaurants were open, and these were the only places where I actually saw people. The streets, for the most part, were completely empty.
Gorgeous architecture in Llanes
The medieval streets in the old downtown of Llanes were narrow and cobble-stoned, The old town is centered around the Church of Santa Maria del Coneyo and the remnants of the town’s fortification wall. With its salt trade and fishing activity, the town became an important trading post between 1000 and 1500 AD, giving rise to the medieval architecture that characterizes the town’s centre.
The locals are enjoying a late lunch in Llanes
To reach my hotel for tonight, I had to conclude my walk in Llanes and keep moving. I drove westwards on the coast through beach towns like Celorio, Barro and Niembro where I came across an absolutely gorgeous little church on a small lake just inland from the ocean. I just had to stop and take a few photos and video clips of this extremely scenic location. The Church of Dolores (La Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Dolores de Barro) is surrounded by a cemetery with a high wall and is set right above the lake. Sometimes impromptu travel presents you with the most scenic unexpected vistas.
The gorgeous little Church of Dolores
Then I turned in from the coast to head up into the mountains. Having grown up in the Austrian Alps, I have to admit I am always a sucker for mountains and the mountains of Asturias reminded me so much of my home country. I drove inland on the AS 115 highway and turned off at Torrevega to get on a narrow mountain road behind the coastal mountains.
The mountains of Asturias felt just like home
Cows and sheep were grazing on the green mountain slopes, and the cow bells were ringing throughout the valley. I felt like I had been transposed back to my childhood in the mountains of Austria and my heart started beating noticeable faster with fond memories.
Driving through the mountains
The road became ever narrower until it pierced the coastal range and allowed for distant views down to the ocean and the coastline of Llanes. On the winding serpentine curves I made my way down the other side of the mountain and was able to locate the village of La Pereda in the now flatter terrain. I found the sign for “Posada de Babel” and took a narrow road and a long driveway to enter the country estate of my small family-owned hotel where I would spend the next two nights. A small white dog and a cat welcomed me as I entered the reception area of the main building.
Blanca and Lucas, the owners the La Posada de Babel
After checking in I dropped off my suitcase in my comfortable second floor room which overlooked a large meadow and a forest with the coastal mountain range in the background. I could not have found a more idyllic and restful location than La Posada de Babel. I went downstairs into the large library where I sat down for a chat with the owners Lucas and Blanca who have been running this small hotel for almost 20 years. In the large library, guests can enjoy two fireplaces, a bar and two great sitting areas with floor to ceiling picture windows that provide a stunning view out into the countryside.
Great sitting areas in the library of La Posada de Babel