Northern Spain and the Atlantic coast around the regions of Galicia and Asturias both seem and feel like a completely different country, then Spain most of us imagine. Climate, scenery, and vegetation all change dramatically from the dry and sunny
Mediterranean South, to a lush, hilly, and excessively beautiful piece of green landscape. The North is all about dramatic coastlines, deep rivers, fiords (in the North called: ‘rias’) and peninsulas, green hills, and mountains. Both Asturias and Galicia have this rural feel
rather than an urban, cosmopolitan city feel, and most people come here to enjoy the natural beauty, to hike, and to visit national parks and the small fishing villages along the coast or the picturesque rural villages in the mountains.
Both capitals however, Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) and Oviedo (Asturias), are great visits and have a lot to offer the traveler, just like the cities of La Coruña, Vigo, Pontevedra, and Gijón, but still, most people seem to come to enjoy the rural pleasures and
the natural beauty of the beach or the countryside.
The culture is historical of more Celtic than Moorish influence, the food is solid, rich, and regional, and of course, both Galicia and Asturias are well-known for their fabulous seafood. Excellent wine is grown along the slopes of the Galician rivers, both red and white, but the white wine ‘Albariño’ is particularly known and liked and enjoyed cold along with a delicious plate of fresh seafood.
Thousands of people come every year to walk the old pilgrimage route of ‘El Camino de Santiago’ (the Way of St. James) and with a good reason to do so. They enjoy both the spiritual feel of this enchanted and challenging journey as well as the fantastic experience
of being in presence of such magical natural surroundings. There are many ways of walking ‘El Camino’ and also several routes to choose from. Many visitors even enjoy just doing parts of the route, or choosing alternative hiking routes that are so plentiful in both Galicia and Asturias.
A practical piece of advice on visiting this part of Spain would be to come and enjoy the spring and summer months between May and September when it rains the least and temperatures are warm and pleasant. Both Santiago de Compostela and Oviedo have international airports, there are plenty of good bus routes and even the railways have fairly decent train connections (both local
and inter-regional) in this green and agreeable Northern corner of Spain.