Last week we traveled to the coastal town of Salinas, which is only one hour away from Gijón by train, which costs $3.00 one way. For that price Jesse and I took a long beach walk followed by a long walk back along the paseo maritimo, or boardwalk, under sunny skies and nice weather that felt like a fall day. We finished with a savory menu del dia lunch at our favorite Asturian restaurant in Salinas. While there was still some daylight left we decided to stop in the town of Candás, which is another coastal town about half-way between Salinas and Gijón. We walked from the train station to the beach, stopped and took some pictures, admiring the Cantabrian Sea, and the cliff-sides that surrounding the small Candás bay.
Although this is December, and once the sun goes down, it gets chilly quickly. We had to cut our trip short, and we walked back to the train station, telling ourselves we would return and spend the day. So that is what we did today.
We boarded the 11:30, two train car, local train line that runs from Gijón and ends in Cudillero. There were a handful of other people on the train, and in a short while we arrived in Candás. Candás has a summer resort vibe to it, so in the winter it is mostly locals that were enjoying the 19 Celsius (70 Fahrenheit) degree day, with the sun shining brightly overhead. We sipped on cafe con leche at while sitting outdoors on the cobblestone pedestrian way. There are a few murals in the tiny square as well that show the spirit of this old fishing town.
After our coffee we headed into the sculpture park leading toward the old lighthouse. We walked up stone and dirt paths with the sea on our right, listening to the waves, and refilled our water bottle at one of the many water fountains found throughout parks in Spain. We passed a huge birdhouse, a smaller than it seemed obelisk, and other odd sculptures before we reached the lighthouse. Unfortunately it was closed and we could not access it, but the views were still worth it.
The trail away from the lighthouse headed west along the coast line, so we followed it for a while, until we saw a path that headed downward, toward the beach. We peered over the edge, saw the small beach was empty, and walked down the path. The beach was mostly smooth rocks of all sizes, and we found a large rock with a flat surface to sit on. We sat for a long while, the sun at our backs, the crashing waves and clean sea smell loading our senses.
The walk back up to the town from the beach was tiring, so we stopped at a nearby cafe and enjoyed cañas and sliced chorizo, before comtinuing through the town, in search of a good lunch spot. We came upon the main street of restaurants in Candás, which numbered about six, and perused each’s menu del dia, as people ate and talked and smoked in the tables outside the restaurants. We decided on an Italian place, where we ate penne with salmon cream sauce, osso buco (with the polenta replaced with fries, because, almost every dish comes with fries in Asturias) and lasagna with green peppers, along with a bottle of house red wine, of course. For dessert we shared tarta de queso and tarta de chocolate, which, when eaten together in the same bite, were better than they were apart.
Being very full of good food, a long walk was in order. When we were in Candás the first time we could see a few trees, all alone, on a nearby cliff-side hill, and decided we wanted to walk to them as well. The picture below is from the boardwalk and if you really zoom in you can see them(right above the bridge).
After a time we reached the trees, though they were less impressive than they seemed from far away, but still made for some cool pictures, especially with the clouds above.
We stopped and assessed where we wanted to go. Back to the Candás train station (about 20 minutes), or trek to the next train stop, about an hour away, in the town of Xivares. Still full from lunch, and while the sun was shining, we continued on the seafront path toward Xivares.
As we walked, We were surprised to see all these dilapidated domiciles, near the cliff overlooking the sea. We saw many outdoor stone grills that sat unused along with picnic tables. The homes looked nice, and we were unsure as what to make of them. We figured squatters probably occupied some, but could not figure why they were as such. The views were spectacular, and there were more than a few staircases to access the waterfront and small beaches below.
Thanks to smart phones, we learned we were passing through the abandoned resort town of Perlora. Built in the 1950s to provide workers a vacation spot, it had gone into disrepair decades earlier, and the current owner, the Autonomous Community of Asturias, has not decided what to do with it. Locals now use the grand picnic areas and scenic overlooks to enjoy the nature, just as we had done. There is also good surfing, and even in December we saw a couple surfers trying to catch a wave.
We continued on the seven kilometer walk, past joggers, bicyclists, dog walkers and other locals enjoying the day, realizing that this route was fairly popular, and wondering why none of our Gijón friends had told us about it. We even walked through two pedestrian tunnels!
We finally reached Xivares, where we then had to climb ten flights alongside the town to reach the road, which was then a short trek to the train station. We watched the sun set and light up the sky with cotton candy clouds over the ocean to the north, and fiery colored ones to the south, appreciating another day in Asturias.
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