Information about stage 18: Stage from Llanes to San Esteban de Leces
It take 9 to 11 hours if you walk it in one day
The Llanes exit is not properly signposted and out of common sense we proceed along the AS-263 in the direction of Ribadesella. The first milestone of the day is at the Villa de Llanes Funeral Home and leads us to Poo along an old path (Km 2). Arriving at the parish church with its white and tile façade, the best option is not to follow the signs and go towards the train tracks and cross them. We continue along the road to Ribadesella and leave it to the right to take a path that leads to Celorio, a village in Llanes that grew up around the Monastery of San Salvador and of which today only a few vestiges of its Romanesque origin remain (Km 4.3 ). Leaving it aside we find ourselves with our feet on the beach. The next milestones are Barro and Niembro , two other tourist towns in the Council of Llanes . Among them stands the church of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores on the sand . At high tide we can see this neoclassical temple reflected in the marsh. After this delight, a path on the left connects with Niembro (Km 8). We come out onto the road and then take a track that leads back to the AS-263. Along a pedestrian promenade you can slowly admire San Antolín Beach and the mouth of the Bedón River . An advertisement stamp thanks to the railway track that runs through it. Thus we arrive at Naves where more than a third of the stage has already passed (Km 12.3). We now head towards Villahormes along the old Camino Real that linked Llanes with Ribadesella. On the edge of this route is the chapel of Las Ánimas , a humilladero from the 12th century that a group of vandals destroyed in the early morning of September 1, 2012. From Villahormes (Km 13.2) we continue to Nueva de Llanes , a town with all the services where we can recover strength (Km 16.1). Attention because if we are going to sleep in Piñeres de Pría, the next town, it is essential to buy in Nueva since in Piñeres there are no services, just a bar that does not serve food. Once again we return to the AS-263, leaving it along a path that starts on the right before the level crossing with barriers. We follow a long straight after crossing the A-8 to reach Piñeres de Pría (Km 18). In this town there is a hostel with 8 beds and from mid-May to mid-September 36 beds are set up in the rectory. The owner of the rural house, Rosa Cueto, formed the Association A Mitad del Camino, to help pilgrims and they have credentials. We leave Piñeres, straight ahead, without taking the detour to the AS-263, as a badly located milestone can confuse us, and further on, on the left hand side, there is a grassy section, which tends to get flooded easily, which goes up, cross country included, up to the church of San Pedro that stands out for its bell tower. We go down to Cuerres along the path that comes out next to the water tank and when we pass the first houses the most logical thing to do is to cross the FEVE road, however the official route continues to the right making a long detour. In Cuerres, a German family offers traditional reception in their home. We arrive at the Aguamía medieval bridge , recently restored, and in this way we enter the Council of Ribadesella (Km 22.5). Later on we do cross the road and continue straight ahead towards Ribadesella, which we arrive at in more than an hour after going through the places of Sobares and Pozu la Arena . The entrance to Ribadesella is through the back door, at first it does not hold any attraction but suddenly we find ourselves immersed in the network of narrow streets of the El Portiellu neighborhood . We descend through the historic center of the town looking for the ford over the Sella, an objective that thousands of paddlers also set themselves each summer when they take the exit at the Arriondas bridge on the International Descent (Km 29). In the past, when there was no bridge, pilgrims crossed the riverbed by boarding from the chapel of Santa Ana . Not now, so if our goal is San Esteban, we will cross the concrete bridge to enter modern Ribadesella. After the Sella, the signs make us turn to the right. Giving a slight detour we will reach the promenade of the beach of Santa Marina , ending at the local road that leads to San Pedro (Km 32.6), and that after a very strong slope (at some point it is more restful to go up in zigzag) to one side the village of Abeu . A Jacobean marker leads to the left to the next hostel in San Esteban de Leces (Km 33.9).
- Long but pleasant stage, just note a strong climb at the end of the stage after Ribadesella, it is only a few hundred meters, but after San Pedro the road goes uphill and the legs are painful.
In San Esteban de Leces, although there are no catering services, the hospitaleros make an effort to prepare dinner and breakfast for the pilgrims staying there. Long stage but with abundant catering and accommodation services for pilgrims in practically all the towns.
What to see, what to do
In San Esteban de Leces, next to the hostel, we can admire the church. It was an old Romanesque temple that had to be rebuilt after the civil war. Nearby is the Tower of San Esteban, also called the Ruiz de Junco. It is a medieval tower built between the 14th and 15th centuries. It is very likely that the foundation of Ribadesella dates back to the 13th century under the reign of Alfonso X El Sabio. The population prospered during the Middle Ages partly thanks to the shipyards and thanks to the wood that was brought down the river Sella. Fishing activities focused on whaling and salmon fishing using nets. The 14th and 15th centuries saw many years of fighting due to the strategic location of the town. Thus, noble families such as Quiñones, Álvarez de las Asturias, Ruiz or Junco disputed power. The Quiñones were victorious but the Catholic Monarchs returned Ribadesella to the crown. Another important moment in its particular history took place at the end of the 18th century when Carlos III awarded a consignment for the works to improve the port. During the 19th century, as in other localities, the French invasion came to paralyze progress and demolish part of what had already been advanced. This also happened during the Spanish civil war. For example, the current concrete bridge replaced the previous iron structure destroyed during the Spanish war in 1940.
Pietro Cutre Palace
Plateresque, from the 16th century, today it is the current seat of the Ribadesella Town Hall.
Santa Ana Chapel
Located on Santa Ana street, it was restored in 1995. It is curious because it is the headquarters of the Gremio del Mar, extinct in 1846.
Chapel of the Virgen de la Guia
We will reach it by a stone path that leaves from the port. From this place there are formidable views of Ribadesella and the mouth.
Santa Marina Beach
With a length of a kilometer and a half, this sandy area remained unchanged until the construction, at the end of the 19th century, of the iron bridge over the Sella. Then its urban exploitation began with modernist mansions and chalets that were occupied by members of the Asturian and Madrid aristocracy and high bourgeoisie. Now it has a promenade and in summer it has a rather high occupancy and is conducive to practicing water sports.