Llanes and the Gulpiyuri – shortest beach in the world

Llanes is a municipality and a city in the community of Asturias, in northern Spain.

The town of Llanes is located on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, near the Picos de Europa, with numerous beaches and a good conservation of its monumental heritage which makes tourism one of the largest areas of activity. Its port maintains some fishing activity.

The city is a popular part of the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of the Atlantic resorts of Spain.

Tourism and main attractions

The municipality has an extensive artistic heritage in churches, mansions, palaces or noble houses. Among which stand out:

The palace of the count of La Vega del Sella, from the 18th century. It is a well-kept Baroque residence, today it houses a private museum on the excavations carried out by Don Ricardo Duque de Estrada. It is organized around a central courtyard. It is a Historic Artistic Monument.

The Posada tower, an example of late medieval civil architecture. Rectangular building with two floors. Built in masonry, except in the corners and windows which is reinforced with ashlars.

The church of San Salvador, of which only the remains of two construction phases of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries remain, one is a tower and a simple door at the foot. The tower has three floors of hermetic character, the different floors are marked by lines of imposts.

The entrance to the tower is through the sacristy which belongs to a completely renovated temple in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The western façade is an element of the primitive temple, of the late Romanesque. Its structure is a slightly pointed arch on a smooth impost with unadorned jambs, with a dust cover with zig-zag moldings on the bow thread and dust cover.

The 17th-century palace of the Duke of Estrada, a large Baroque palace, has two square towers at the ends of the main façade. It has been in ruins since the fire of 1809. Of the building stands a splendid eastern portico of excellent stonework open to two levels of arches on pillars.

The convent of the Augustinian nuns, today a hotel. Its simple façade of the portico and the monumentalized frontispiece of access to the temple are preserved. The chapel is the current dining room, and has a single nave divided into four aligned sections. The presbytery is square and vaulted at the edge. In its internal articulation we find semicircular arches, Tuscan pilasters and entablature with pyramids.

The monument dedicated to Egidio Gavito Bustamante, mayor and benefactor of Poo. Located at one end of the square of the church of San Vicente. It is a platform in a chamber and in the center a cubic pedestal on a stepped base where the statue stands.

The palace of Sinforiano Dosal, former home of the Count of Santa Engracia and his family, built by Miguel de la Guardia in 1909. It has an eclectic cosmopolitan style. The building has two rectangular and parallel bodies.

The House of the Lions, Villa Flora, is from 1906, by the cosmopolitan eclectic Indian Manuel García. Its structure is of single volume, basement, two heights and three attics that are articulated in three of the four faces of the building. It uses a wide variety of materials that provide it with an estimable chromaticism.

The Casino Teatro is designed by the architect Juan Álvarez Mendoza. Its structure is cubic, seated on a wide plinth and open to the street by three large arches. The façade is flanked by two towers that delimit the terrace hidden by the parapet. It is an inordinate work and has been declared a Historic Artistic Monument.


The region is part of the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of Spain, which is known for its spectacular coastal scenery, with 32 white sand beaches. But first af all, its famous for its Playa de Gulpiyuri. Its is a flooded sinkhole with an inland beach located near Llanes, around 100 m from the Cantabrian Sea. It is shortest beach of the world.

Roughly 40 meters in length, it is fully tidal due to a series of tunnels carved by the salt water of the Cantabrian Sea, which allows water from the Bay of Biscay to create small waves.

The word ‘Gulpiyuri’ means ‘water circle’. Unlike from many other hidden beaches around the world, Playa de Gulpiyuri is actually fully tidal and even has waves bathing the small strip of sand. The crystal clear water may be a little cold after remaining underground for a while before getting to Gulpiyuri Beach.

It is a popular tourist destination, natural monument, and part of Spain’s Regional Network of Protected Natural Areas.

Best restaurants

There are three Michelin list restaurants in the municipality:

  • El Retiro, Carretera Pancar, 56 – 95 EUR • Modern Cuisine (one star)
  • Julia, Camino de la Cuesta, 30 – 60 EUR • Traditional Cuisine
  • El Bálamu, Paseo del Muelle, 32 – 75 EUR • Seafood

How to get to?

From Oviedo 1 hr 9 min (107 km) via A-64 and A-8

From Gijón 57 min (89.5 km) via A-8

From Madrid 4 hr 34 min (496 km) via A-67

Main information

Area: 263 km²

Coordinates: 43°25′16″N 4°45′11″W

Population: 13 611

Languages: Spanish, Asturian

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

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