Colunga

Cider town on the hillside of the Sierra del Sueve

Capital of a concejo of land softly sloping towards the sea and home to pleasant beaches, Colunga is known among gastronomes for its apple orchards, where select apples are cultivated, and for the excellent cider that results.

Plan your trip to Colunga

It can take two whole days to visit this concejo that is so rich in prehistoric assets, landscapes, and monuments. One of the most popular activities is the tour of its beaches and swimming in the summertime. All year round, it is common to visit its numerous inns to try Asturian cider. Those who have free time or decide to prolong their stay in Colunga can spend an entire day doing excursions in the nearby towns of Villaviciosa and Ribadesella. In Villaviciosa, there is a protected space of an estuary of great ecological value. We also recommend going to the impressive Fitu overlook to enjoy some unique views.

Do you want to visit this place?

Like other border concejos, the history of Colunga possesses a great number of prehistoric settlements. Near Gobiendes you’ll find the Obaya Caves, where, together with the Taraxu Caves (in Nozaleda), El Molino (in Libardón), remains of sculptures have been found dating from the Middle Paleolithic and Upper Paleolithic (approximately 40,000 years ago). Subsequently, it is possible to trace sites from the Neolithic Age and the Bronze Age; there are also pre-Roman settlements, including La Riera, La Isla, and Villeda.

The most recent archaeological investigations continue to work out the details of the Roman presence in Colunga. Thanks to the discovery of several villae, it is now possible to talk about a considerable Romanization of this area.

In the archive of Oviedo Cathedral, the first medieval reference is preserved, a donation by an individual to the monastery of Santa María de Liebardón dated 803. It does not definitively appear in the official sources until the 12th century. At this time, Colunga was in a weak position with respect to the nearby towns of Ribadesella and Maliayo (Villaviciosa), so it appears associated with Caravia. The centers of La Isla and Lastres were the foci of most of the activity in the concejo during the Middle Ages.

Starting in the 16th century, Lastres began to grow thanks to an increase in Cantabrian commercial traffic and the wealth derived from whaling. At the same time, the city council of Colunga was established. Shortly afterwards, the buildings on the port of Lastres suffered serious damages due to an episode of strong weather. Colunga benefited from the decline of fishing in the region, centralizing the administration of the concejo.

Colunga, in the early 20th century

During the War of Independence, the town of Colunga burned down, for which reason the architecture is predominantly modern. The limited process of industrialization that spread to all of the northern Iberian Peninsula in the late 19th century left Colunga untouched. Not even the remodeling of the port of Lastres was able to transform the agrarian economy of the concejo.

In the early 20th century, Colunga began to benefit from the return of some of its emigrants who had made a fortune in America, who would promote numerous construction projects. Today, Colunga’s economy is based fundamentally on agriculture and livestock.

In the urban center of Colunga, you can visit the Alvarez de Colunga Palace (17th century) in the baroque style, which is the current seat of the city council; the Chapel of the Virgin of Loreto, founded in 1662 by an Italian shipwreck survivor; and the Chapel of Santa Ana (from the 16th century). Also worth noting is the Church of San Cristóbal el Real (from the mid-19th century).

There is much to see on the streets of Colunga. You can admire notable homes like the Alonso Covián family home, where the famous nutrition expert was born in 1909. This noble building has stood since the 16th century and is one of the buildings where Carlos I may have stayed when he landed in Tazones in 1517.

The town of Colunga is quite spread out, therefore it is necessary to visit its surroundings in order to get a feel for its traditional essence. The urban center that gives its name to the region is inland, but the concejo is home to some of the best beaches in Asturias, such as Lastres, La Griega, El Barrigón, La Espasa, and Vega. The best-known one, for the quality of its sand and its charming environment, is La Isla (4 km from Colunga). Additionally, some of the small churches in the concejo of Colunga have a special charm. This is the case for Libardón (Llibardón), a place known for being the residence of the distinguished Asturian bagpiper Ramón García Tuero. The Gaitero de Libardón Visitor Center is dedicated to the life and work of this important early 20th-century figure, who traveled around the world playing concerts.

Following the Arriondas highway, the visitor should go to the pre-Romanesque Church of Santiago de Gobiendes. Although it was renovated in 1853, changing its old structure, the original capitals, shafts, and windows can still be seen. It is a Historical Artistic Monument and it has been restored. In this area, we also have to highlight the great Palace of Gobiendes, a medieval building that belonged to the miter of Oviedo until Felipe II sold it to Gonzalo Ruiz de Junco.

Álvarez Palace

Farther on in the same direction, the land begins to rise. You will find yourself at the Fitu overlook (Parres). From this point, there is a spectacular panorama of the hillside of the Sierra del Sueve and the Colunga Valley. We recommend making a stop at the Sierra del Sueve Visitor Center (located in Gobiendes next to the Santiago Church), where the staff can provide the necessary information to prepare excursions, weather forecasts, and more

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Practical data

Coordinates

43° 29′ 7″ N, 5° 16′ 14″ W

Distances

Oviedo 60 km, Madrid 490 km

Altitude

21 m

Inhabitants

3607 (2013)

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