Information about stage 17: Stage from Unquera to Llanes
It take 7 to 9 hours if you walk it in one day
After a good breakfast based on ties dipped in milk chocolate, we begin by crossing the bridge over the Tina Mayor estuary, where the Deva gives its last throes before surrendering to the sea. In this way we entered Asturias. You ascend along a path that passes next to a chapel for souls where a bronze inscription marks the distance to Santiago: 427 kilometers. The road leads to Colombres . On sunny days, or after a storm, we will see the blue façade of Quinta Guadalupe shine, an Indiana mansion built by the emigrant Iñigo Noriega and which has housed the Indianos Archive since 1987. Colombres Leave it through Pío Noriega and Francisco Sánchez streets and take a path towards the N-634. Now begins a dangerous section with a lot of traffic. There is no other choice but to move along the shoulder of the N-634 passing the Peral neighborhood and later La Franca , a town also in the Ribadedeva council . On the beach of La Franca , which is accessed from pk 286 of the Nacional, Camping Playa de la Franca has several wooden cabins to accommodate pilgrims (see observations) . The itinerary leaves the National Highway towards Tresgrandas and by a dirt cart we go parallel to the train track. We cross a bridge and continue straight ahead until we meet the N-634 at kilometer 287. Be careful here because when you cross the road, in a curve just before the PK-287 there is a variant to go to Pendueles for a coastal path and take away kilometers of road. If we opt for it, we must enter through an opening in the guardrail of the national highway, cross “carefully” the train track and, after jumping over a wooden fence, walk to the cliffs where the jesters of Santiuste are located, from there continue west along a path through vegetation to the beach of Buelna where there is an option to go to said town and continue along dirt tracks to Pendueles. It is advisable to stop at one of the following locations, either in Buelna or Pendueles , because once on the GR-E-9 we will not have the possibility of buying anything, without deviating from the route, up to Andrín. This long route is taken in Pendueles , and is an alternative to the official itinerary. It is marked by the typical red and white band of the GR. The official layout, however, continues for a couple of kilometers along the N-634 to Vidiago. Later, by roads parallel to the National and by the road itself, visit Puertas de Vidiago and San Roque del Acebal to reach Llanes. As we have said, we propose to continue along the GR-E-9. This pleasant path, along which we will advance 15 kilometers to Llanes , will reward us in some sections with good views of the sea. We will have the opportunity to approach him after the campsite, at Vidiago Beach . Further on, after three and a half kilometers, a sign will indicate that we are in front of the Bufones de Arenillas . These are open cracks or chimneys on the coast, and connected to sea chasms, through which salt water penetrates under pressure, forming spouts of pulverized water that can reach more than 20 meters in height. If the conditions are met we can admire it. Today, the historical heritage is making a place for the natural. The Purón River viewpoint is another noted place. From here we go down to a bridge to cross it where the indication 20 people maximum can be read. In less than two kilometers we are in Andrín. The GR signs continue and we turn towards a pedestrian promenade parallel to the road that goes up to the La Ballota beach viewpoint . From here there are beautiful views of Llanes and the islet of Castro , below. From this point it is best to ignore the road and take a path that leads halfway up the slope, after a long loop, to the hermitage of Cristo del Camino. The view it offers of the village of Cue, Llanes and the Cantabrian Sea is unbeatable. From the hermitage we go down to Llanes , the old town of Aguilar that preserves traces of its medieval past. Here we can taste its native cider and take a walk around the port, where the barrier of buckets painted by Ibarrola emerges. This coastal town does not have a municipal refuge for pilgrims either, so there is no choice but to try youth hostels, private hostels, pensions or hotels.
- Nacional 634 at the Colombres exit to La Franca: It is a dangerous section that has a lot of traffic. If you go in a group, you walk in a single file, never in parallel. At kilometer 287 the route of the stage returns to the National and continues along it to Buelna and Pendueles.
- For the rest, a stage without complications where the only noteworthy slope is that of Andrin where you ascend to the Boriza viewpoint, it is about 200 meters from the esplanade, but it is worth going to see it.
- There is a variant to go from a couple of kilometers after La Franca to Pendueles along a coastal path and remove kilometers from the road. If we opt for it, we must enter through an opening in the guardrail of the national road, cross “carefully” the train track and, after jumping over a wooden fence, walk to the cliffs where the jesters of Santiuste are located, from there continue west along a path through vegetation to the beach of Buelna where there is an option to go to said town and continue along dirt tracks to Pendueles.
- Throughout the day we will find an infinity of tourist accommodation and catering services. It is good to remember that in summer it is always advisable to book so as not to be surprised.
What to see, what to do
Already documented in the year 1032, Llanes functioned as the administrative nucleus of Aguilar, a series of regions settled around the Soberrrón tower that was located as a watchtower on Picu Castiellu.At the beginning of the 13th century, Llanes obtained the Fuero de Independencia under the reign of Alfonso IX and at this time built the walls, the tower and the church of Santa María, the latter paid for by the monetary contribution of the inhabitants of the Llanes. During the following centuries, fishing was the economic boost of the Villa thanks to the importance of its port and fishing grounds, rich in species such as whales, hake, sardines, conger eel, etc. In the 19th century, Llanes faced war and occupation by the French, a situation that later forced many Llaniscos to emigrate to America, given the decline in fishing activities. The money from these llaniscos who returned with fortune from the other side of the Atlantic was vital for the Villa, since they paid for schools, hospitals, fountains, public lighting and other infrastructures.
The Llanisca wall
built in the 13th century, after the granting of the Fuero de Independencia, and demolished in 1870 to expand the Villa. Originally it had four doors, more than 800 meters in perimeter and an average width of one and a half meters. Today, the best place to see it is Sablón beach. It can also be seen on the pavement of the Plaza de Santa Ana where the door of San Nicolás was located.
today the headquarters of the Tourist Office, it is also from the 13th century and was used as a defense and later as a prison. Declared a National Monument since 1876. Basilica of Santa María: Gothic-style temple begun in 1240 and inaugurated in 1480. Inside, three naves roofed with ribbed vaults rest on pointed arches. The main altarpiece, already restored, dates from the 16th century and is a good sample of sculpture and painting from the first Renaissance. The Basilica is owned by the people and not by the clergy, since it was the Llaniscos who paid for its construction.
Chapel of Santa Ana
every July 26, the feast of this saint, sailors honor their patron saint with a boat procession. The chapel is from the 15th century.
Cubes of Memory
work of the painter and sculptor from Bilbao, Agustín Ibarrola. The artist began working on the breakwater in the fishing port of Llanes in 2001 and, according to his own words, it constitutes “the greatest challenge I have ever faced, turning the breakwater of the Llanisco port into a gigantic polychrome sculpture with infinite foreshortenings.”