Cudillero, Spain – A Coastal Village Off the Beaten Path
Cudillero is a small fishing village in the principality of Asturias in northern Spain. I arrived in Cudillero on a sunny morning and was dropped off at the Hotel Casona de la Paca. The immaculate old villa was built by emigrants who returned to Spain after becoming wealthy in the Americas, known as “indianos.” After taking a quick peak inside, I made my way through the hotel grounds and down a sloped path to a lookout point. As I climbed up the steps to the deck, I immediately started taking pictures of the houses built along the sloped hillside and was suddenly struck by the beauty of what was in front of me.
My guide Hugo, from GUIAS tour ASTURIAS, then lead me down a steep coastal trail en route to the seaside. As I walked down some of the paved roads grooved with tire tracks, my mind suddenly drifted to thoughts of Vernazza in Italy’s Cinque Terre with the local women leaning out the window to hang their laundry out to dry and friendly neighborhood cats and dogs going about their daily business. One house Hugo pointed as we walked by had about two dozen fish (Criadillo) strung outside its window to dry.
Slowly making my way down the hill while taking in the sights, sounds and smells, I suddenly found myself in the center of the seaside village looking at all the colorful houses lining the hills that open up to the sea. I was now convinced that Cudillero was someplace very special. I looked up and admired Cudillero from the bottom up and counted nine different locals perched in their windows, peacefully peering out on that fine morning at the happenings of the town center.
Walking past a number of outdoor cafes and restaurants, I continued on toward and along the water and snapped picture after picture of everything in sight; locals fishing off the rocks, colorful boats, the sight of the town center with its paved ramp to the water and the sea glowing bright green from the sun.
Hugo arranged for a local fisherman to meet us and share the history of the fishing industry in Cudillero which is still a very active port today. Our special guest gave us a quick tour of the area, including the building on the edge of town where the hake and other catches are taken and prepared for sale. On my way out of the building, I noticed a few stacks of crates that included freshly caught crabs.
At that point, it was time to make our way back toward the center of town to have a drink and something to eat at one of the outdoor cafes. After selecting a place that looked good, we sat down outside and enjoyed a few cervezas and tapas. The grilled octopus and razor fish (a local favorite fish of the region that looks like a long skinny clam) were my favorites while the grilled little squids and grilled prawns were also amazing.
The best time of year to visit Cudillero is in July or August, and I would recommend staying for two or three nights. Accommodation-wise, there are many options when it comes to places to stay in Cudillero as the coastal fishing village’s main industry has now become tourism.