Asturias is a captivating blend of lush landscapes, dramatic coastlines, and charming villages. This hidden gem of northern Spain boasts iconic landmarks that are a photographer's dream.
This Spanish province provides an abundance of stunning scenes waiting to be captured through your lens. From the rugged peaks of the Picos de Europa to the picturesque beaches along the Bay of Biscay, every corner of this region is a photographic masterpiece. Below you can discover my suggested best photography spots to capture the beauty of Asturias.
PRACTICAL TIPS FOR SHOOTING PHOTOS IN ASTURIAS
Forget the well known stereotype that is always sunny in Spain. Asturias has a wet and temperate oceanic climate. Average yearly precipitation is around 1000 mm. Daytime high temperatures generally average around 12ºC in winter and 23ºC in summer. Snow is rare on the coast but in the mountains is present from October till May. Asturias, like the rest of Northern Spain, is known for its changeable weather, so come prepared with waterproof gear and layers to adapt to varying conditions. Even in summer time!
Explore lesser-known spots for a unique perspective. Asturias is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Low and high tides are a major factor to keep in mind when shooting the beaches of Asturias.
All beaches in Asturias experience high and low tides at different times. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun on the Earth's oceans. The timing and height of the tides vary depending on the location and the alignment of the sun, moon, and Earth. Check the latest local weather report when tides are expected during the day. Remember what time high tide peak is expected the day you are shooting in the beach in order not to remain trapped by the rising sea!
COASTAL WONDERS: BEACHES AND SEASCAPES
The Asturian coastline is a treasure trove of photographic opportunities. Some of the best photography spots of Asturias are along its beautiful coastline. From the pristine beaches of Playa de Requesinos to the dramatic cliffs of Cape Peñas, the diversity of seascapes is unparalleled. Experiment with long exposure shots to capture the movement of the waves against the rugged cliffs by using a ND filter or focus on the vibrant colors of fishing villages along the coast.
One of the secrets to capturing the true essence of Asturias is to make the most of the golden hours. The soft, warm light during sunrise and sunset casts a magical glow over the landscape, turning bathing coastal cliffs in a painterly hue. Set your alarm early and embrace the tranquility of Asturias as the sun rises, or stay out late to capture the mystical twilight along the coastline.
Witness the magic of high tide as it transforms the coastal landscape into a dynamic and captivating scene. Capture the drama of crashing waves against rocks, creating spectacular splashes and intricate patterns. The reflections on the wet sand add depth and dimension to your compositions, enhancing the visual appeal of your photographs.
High tide provides unique opportunities for long-exposure shots, smoothing out the motion of the waves and creating a dreamy, ethereal effect. Experiment with different shutter speeds to achieve the desired level of softness in the water, creating images that evoke a sense of calm and movement simultaneously.
On the opposite side, low tide provides an excellent opportunity to capture reflections in tidal pools, creating mirror-like surfaces that enhance the visual impact of your photographs. Play with angles and perspectives to capture the intricate details and colors present in these temporary aquatic microcosms.
Take advantage of the extended shoreline during low tide to create compelling compositions. Utilize leading lines formed by receding water to draw attention to focal points in your frame. The wide expanse of the beach allows for expansive panoramic shots, showcasing the beauty of the coastal landscape.
The whole coast of Asturias is a succession of splendid and unspoiled beaches. Hundreds of them to discover!
MY FAVORITE BEACHES FOR SOME UNFORGETTABLE IMAGES
Playa Cuevas del Mar is a stunning beach located near Llanes. Nestled between towering cliffs and rocky formations, this beach is renowned for its natural beauty and pristine surroundings with golden sands stretch along the shoreline and stunning sea caves. Easily accessible by car.
Playa del Silencio probably is the most famous and photographed beach in Asturias. One of the distinctive features of this beach is its dramatic coastal formations. Towering cliffs and rock formations create a stunning backdrop, providing a dynamic contrast to the serene beach below. Photographers can play with the interplay of light and shadows on these formations, capturing the ever-changing textures and contours. The beach comes alive during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset, casting a warm glow over the landscape.
Playa de Requesinos is a 3-km long sandy beach with some sea stalks perfect to be shot at sunset. Great location during low tide. Easily accessible by car.
Cliffs of Hell (Acantilados del Infierno) stand as a breathtaking testament to the raw power and rugged beauty of nature. It's a paradise for photographers! One of the most beautiful photography spots of Asturias.
These imposing cliffs command attention with their sheer height and dramatic presence, making them a must-see destination also for photographers. You get the challenge of capturing the scale and majesty of these geological wonders. The relentless crashing of waves against the base of the cliffs creates a symphony of sound that adds to the coastal drama.
During storms, the sea surges, sending waves soaring to meet the formidable cliffs, resulting in a display of nature's power that leaves onlookers in awe. The Cliffs of Hell provide unparalleled views of the Asturian coastline.
Along the path you get plenty of views and panoramic angles to shot over stunning sea stacks, majestic rocky cliffs and sweeping views of the sea stretching endlessly to the horizon. The ever-changing colors of the sky, especially during sunrise and sunset, paint the cliffs in a myriad of hues, creating a visual feast for photographers.
You can park your car at Playa de Guadamía and follow westward a well marked path that follows the wild and amazing coastline. Lots of stunning images are guaranteed along the path!
A NOT TO MISS ARCHITECTURE!
Asturias, with its architectural diversity, provides an enriching playground for photographers. A unique blend of history, culture and modernity. Don't miss to shoot the following suggested buildings that, in my opinion, are among the best photography spots of Asturias!
Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre
For photographers in search of a captivating subject that seamlessly blends modern architecture, cultural vibrancy, and artistic allure, the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre is a must-explore destination. Designed by the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and located on the outskirts of Avilés, this cultural center is a celebration of futuristic elegance.
The Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre stands as a modern architectural marvel, beckoning photographers to capture its bold curves, avant-garde design, and artistic allure. For those seeking a visually stunning and culturally rich subject, this iconic center provides an unparalleled canvas for creative expression.
This modern Cultural Centre offers a myriad of angles and perspectives to explore. As photographer, you can capture the dynamic lines and asymmetrical structures from various vantage points, allowing your lens to uncover the subtle nuances of this architectural masterpiece.
Universidad Laboral de Gijón
Located near Gijón, the Universidad Laboral is a neo-herrenian style building. With its 270,000 m2 is the largest building in Spain. Originally built as a learning center for orphans, it currently hosts several cultural institutions. The entire building is structured around a large courtyard that hosts also a circular church.
The towering structures, adorned with ornate details and captivating designs, create a perfect canvas for architectural photography. Capture the play of light and shadow on the elegant facades framed by the arcades.
The Skate Church
Located just outside Oviedo, the 1912 dated church of Santa Barbara in Llanera has ben abandoned for many years and crumbling from neglect before being restored and then converted, some 10 years ago, into what can be considered the most beautiful skatepark in the world!
As if having a skatepark built inside an abandoned church wasn’t enough, the famous Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel was commissioned to cover the church's walls and vaulted ceilings with his unique brand of bright colorful geometric figures. Almost every flat interior surface of the building is covered with a rainbow of colors, illuminated from every side by tall windows, making this a truly unique and special place to shoot photos.
This former church is open to public on Fridays only from 2 PM to 5 PM. Entrance ticket: 5€.
Church of Santa María del Naranco
Located a few kilometres from Oviedo on the green slope of Mount Naranco this is one of the oldest churches of Asturias (9th century). Well worth shooting some pictures up there, particularly at dusk when the church is illuminated and you have the lights of Oviedo at distance. The church has been declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unfortunately, is under restoration in this period but if you keep walking a few hundreds metres up you'll find a similar church to shoot: San Miguel de Lillo.
NARANJO DE BULNES, AN ICONIC MOUNTAIN!
The 2,529-metre high Naranjo de Bulnes (known also as Picu Urriellu) is an impressive limestone peak dating from the Paleozoic Era, located in the Cantabrian mountain range. Its 550 metres high vertical wall of the west face stands proudly as an iconic pinnacle of the Picos de Europa mountain range in Northern Spain. This imposing mountain not only attracts avid climbers but also beckons photographers to capture its awe-inspiring beauty. It's one of the best photography spots in Asturias.
Experience the enchantment of Naranjo de Bulnes during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. The warm hues of the sun cast a mesmerizing glow, creating a breathtaking canvas for your photographs.
The rugged terrain surrounding Naranjo de Bulnes offers dramatic landscapes that are a photographer's dream. From craggy cliffs to lush valleys, every angle presents an opportunity to capture the raw and untamed beauty of the Picos de Europa.
Naranjo de Bulnes undergoes fascinating transformations with each season. In winter, witness a snowy spectacle, while spring unveil spectacular contrasting colors between the snowy mountain and the already lower green meadows. Autumn brings a palette of warm colors, creating diverse opportunities for unique and compelling shots.
Given the towering heights of Naranjo de Bulnes, be prepared to handle low light conditions, particularly in winter and, normally, at dawn or dusk. Bring your tripod.
The best viewpoint for shooting photos of Naranjo de Bulnes is located in Pozo de la Oración. Another one stands in Asiego. Being higher, it offer a more panoramic view of Naranjo de Bulnes and more mountains of the Picos de Europa.
PICTURESQUE FISHING VILLAGES
Asturias boasts several fishing villages that are a photographer's dream.
My favorite ones are Cudillero, Llanes and Castropol.
Cudillero stands as a picturesque fishing village, inviting photographers to capture its charm and unique character. It's one of the best photography spots in Asturias. With its vibrant harbor, colorful houses perched on steep hillsides, and breathtaking coastal views, Cudillero offers a wealth of photographic opportunities.
Go to its bustling harbor where the juxtaposition of fishing boats against the backdrop of charming pastel-colored houses creates a captivating composition for your photo. Then, climb the narrow, winding streets of the village adorned with traditional Asturian architecture. Photograph the intricate details of colorful facades, flower-filled balconies, and charming courtyards, showcasing the village's authentic beauty. Some top streets offer great views of the whole village and its port.
Best time for shooting for me is at sunrise or twilight when all the lights of houses and streets are on and you can still see the sunset tones on the sea.
The charming old town of Llanes offers narrow medieval streets and colorful façades. Capture the timeless beauty of architectural details, from ancient doorways to flower-laden balconies and cobbled streets.
Castropol looks more like an Andalusian village for its white houses and buildings but with a pretty nordic touch in their large windows. This is one of the best photography spots not to miss in Asturias. The village stands on a coastal inlet formed by river Eo which separates it from the municipality of Ribadeo in Galicia, Cross the river and go to Ribadeo to get the best views of Castropol and the green rolling hills behind. Best time to shoot is afternoon.