Castropol

The hidden treasure of Asturian towns

Anchorage, shelter, bay, estuary, gulf, inlet, port, cove... all nouns that are valid to refer to the "wide" mouth of the Eo River. On the shore belonging to Castropol there is a long fishing tradition as well as a great love of rowing and sailing.

At low tide its famous oyster farms are exposed, but what cannot be found anywhere are the remains of two Spanish galleys loaded with silver and jewels that sank in these waters after a relentless pursuit by English pirates.



Latitude: 43.5262833 Length: -7.0302310
Open location in Google Mapsgoole maps icon

Castropol, town and capital of the council of the same name, is above all a town with nineteenth-century airs, illustrious and noble, with a characteristic and unmistakable silhouette. It is reflected in the Eo estuary in a natural way, since these waters give it its reason for being and its idiosyncrasy. The estuary forms the natural border between the Principality and Galicia, and precisely the best view of Castropol is obtained from the port of Ribadeo, on the Galician shore of the estuary.

Eonaviego or Galician-Asturian is spoken in Castropol, a language popularly known as "The Fala". There goes a sailor saying: «Xente de marina, xente de gran caldeirada, muito day eve of nothing».

We are talking about a picturesque town like few others, located in the -still unknown by many- western end of the Asturian coast. A villa that enjoys un extraordinary historical center and that is located in a beautiful hill in the shape of a peninsula. In addition to all the attractions that we are going to mention, Castropol has a well-deserved reputation for seafood haute cuisine.

The Villa of Castropol

There is evidence that Castropol was already occupied during the Iron Age. In addition, the latest findings seem to confirm the suspicions of archaeologists, who have always considered that the villa hides a fort or primitive village. Both the place name, its elevated location and its own constitution seem to indicate that this was the case.

Castropol

In 1587, a big fire completely razed the town, only the Chapel of Santa María del Campo was left standing. Despite this, the architectural value of the town was greatly recovered from then on, rising from its ashes; to the point that today it is a declared villa Historic Site and Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC).

The tower that stands out above the rest of the buildings is the church of St. James, XNUMXth century. Visible from any point, it rises above the charming white houses with slate roofs. It puts the finishing touch to an urban profile that is ordered and very elegant.

Castropol

Castropol is not very big, and except for the odd slope the walk through its streets is very comfortable. Cobbled streets that give it another attraction and that lead us to the gates of Indian constructions, manor houses, mansions and palaces of great architectural value, such as that of the Valledor (1921th century) or the Marquises of Santa Cruz de Marcenado (also known as the Palace of Montenegro, from the XNUMXth century). The Casa de las Cuatro Torres (XNUMXth century), and the modernist complex, from the early XNUMXth century, made up of the Vicente Loriente Park, the Casino/Casa de Cultura (current headquarters of the prestigious Popular Library, founded in XNUMX and considered one of the best in Spain). Not far behind these properties is the palatial Villa Rosita mansion, nor the sober town hall building.

The visit to this dazzling heritage gains more significance when we learn that in the eighteenth century, in full development of the urban area, Englishmen They take Ribadeo and threaten to do the same with Castropol and Figueras, for which the latter towns had to pay a large ransom. Precisely a century before, in Linera, one of the carpentry shipyards on the banks of the Eo, two Urcas (galleys) were built that fought in the invincible army to defend Spanish interests.

In the XNUMXth century, with the French invasion and the capture of the main cities of the province, the Superior Board of Asturias moved to Castropol, creating here a very important regiment made up of 10 companies and 1024 men, all of them from Castropol, who carried the good name of their town throughout Spain fighting against Napoleonic troops.

The honorable history of this town also includes the figure of Fernando Villamil (1845-1898). Military sailor, naval engineer and writer, who designed a metallic, light and fast ship called "Destroyer", with such optimal results that the name was used as a generic for all of its class from then on. His people dedicated a monument loaded with symbolism to him. Located in the Vicente Loriente Park, we see the figure of the sailor and behind a woman who allegorically represents the homeland. To this we must add the gigantic globe of the world on a column and the winged genius that sits on it, holding a rudder and the frigate "Nautilus" with which Villaamil went around the world.

One of the most charming areas of this villa is the Pier walk that allows you to travel the entire coastline of the town until you reach the marina and fishing port and the sailing club.

Another option to discover Castropol is to do it thanks to the Literary route through Castropol-Santinebla, a walk of an hour and a half that revives the text that Luis Cernuda he wrote in this villa, going through the very human and spatial context in which the author forged it.

Castropol also has several viewpoints. Although the best known is "Mirandilla Viewpoint", very close to the church, with spectacular views of the Eo estuary, Ribadeo and Figueras. We also see from here the long Los Santos Bridge that unites Asturias and Galicia. It has a considerable length of 612 meters divided into five bays.

Castropol exemplary town

In addition to enjoying a privileged setting and benefiting from the breadth of vision granted by a large estuary open to the sea, Castropol also stands out for the cultural courage of its people. In 1997 the "Castropol Neighborhood Community" was awarded the Award for the Exemplary Town of Asturias. According to the jury's minutes, "respect for the best enlightened traditions of Asturias" and the implementation of "initiatives of the highest significance" stand out.

The residents are organized around a few but solvent groups that allow them to value their way of life and prosper economically. As with its traditional Sea Club, a society that has known how to absorb the best trade union merits and all the cultural heritage of the sailors and fishermen of the estuary to always make them available for the progress of the region. Castropol also enjoys a famous centennial library that has helped a lot in the enlightened tone that permeates this villa. Since its founding in the twenties, the "Menéndez Pelayo" Popular Library and its active "circulating" work has become aware that culture must reach every corner of the municipality and beyond if possible. Since then it has offered a varied activity, not only promoting reading but weaving networks and strategies for social development.

The neighborhood union can be clearly observed every year in the traditional Corpus Christi party that adorns all the streets of the town with enormous floral carpets.

The Eo Estuary

The Club de Mar, the “Ría del Eo” Sailing Club, the drifter regattas, the Arnao Aeroclub or the modern oyster and clam farming are clear examples of the vitality of a municipality that draws much of its strength from the estuary itself. An estuary created by a longitudinal fault and a series of minor fractures that form inlets. Ecosystem of an overwhelming wealth, with its colonies of birds, its underwater meadows, its population of otters... Sportingly, the estuary is competition scene rowing, which traditionally arises from rivalries between seafarers. In Castropol there is evidence of regattas since 1890, with their own fishing boats or "barcaxe".

The Eo estuary

The Eo estuary

From a satellite view, the Eo estuary is more than just a simple border between communities, it is a…

The estuary is a source of wealth, a generator of modes of production, of marine activity and a growing focus of touristic interest for its attractive rocks, beaches, coves and inlets. In the Eo estuary, the only variety of Asturian oysters extensively and sustainably. Native oysters that are finding their place in a Spanish gastronomic scene with explosive salinity, great shell strength and powerful flavor. In addition, we can try them because every year, during the May 1 bridge, the popular Festival We are the Oyster.

IX Oyster Festival 2023

IX Oyster Festival 2023

On the 28th, 29th, 30th…

Castropol and surroundings

Before the Eo River flows into the Cantabrian Sea, the right bank forms an inlet. From this side you can visit the Salias Beach, in which a rock formation can be seen, with trees and vegetation, which is isolated at high tide, forming a small island. The cove can be skirted up to the Arnao Beach of Figueras.

Castropol It is the most populated town in the municipality despite not being its capital. Here, the emblematic company Gondan Shipyard It employs hundreds of people and builds boats for half the world.

The town also enjoys a very outstanding urbanism, with important architectural jewels such as the Palace of the Pardo Donlebún, whose central tower dates from the XNUMXth century, lto the church of Santiago Apostol, of the XVII, the hermitage of the Watchtower, Clock Tower or Mansion Peñalba, current site of a Hotel, was built in 1912 by the architect Angel Arbéx, a disciple of Gaudí and represents one of the best examples of Asturian Indian architecture from the early XNUMXth century with very clear features of Art Nouveau.

At present Figueras is a tourist center whose population grows substantially in summer.

If what we want is open sea we can go to the Penarronda beach, With its almost 800 meters in length, it is ideal for surfing. Very close to here is the villa of Tapia de Casariego.

Peñarronda beach

The beach of Peñarronda

Beach on the western coast of Asturias. A natural treasure that goes unnoticed if we look at it from the…

Beaches of Tapia

Beaches of Tapia

Tapia has a lot of coastline, cliffs…


Text: © Ramón Molleda for asturias.com Copyright Ramón Molleda