Ribadesella and the International Descent of the Sella

Ribadesella is a city and a municipality in the Autonomous Community of the Principality of Asturias, Spain. Known for its location on the Cantabrian Sea, at the outlet of the River Sella, Ribadesella is a town that forms part of the Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe).

The city is a popular part of the Costa Verde (Green Coast) of the Atlantic resorts of Spain. It is bordered on the east by another popular resort of Llanes.

Ribadesella is the home town of Queen Letizia of Spain.

On the first weekend of August, the Descenso Internacional del Sella (International Descent of the Sella) takes place; kayakers from all over the world gather to attempt the final 20 km of the Sella River in record time.

Main attractions

Tito Bustillo Cave, considered one of the best representations of cave art in the world. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO along with other caves on the Cantabrian coast such as Altamira.

Tito Bustillo Cave Interpretation Center.

Church of Santa María Magdalena, in which the frescoes of the dome, by the Uría-Aza brothers from Riosella, and the carved stone altar stand out.

Prieto-Collado Palace, current Post Office.

House of “The Shield”, birthplace of Darío de Regoyos.

Plaza de la Reina Mª Cristina, of Renaissance origin, where the Palacio Prieto-Cutre, seat of the town hall, is located, which is undergoing a comprehensive reform to adapt it to new times.

Torre de la Atalaya, from the 19th century, and of clear medieval inspiration, something typical of Romanticism.

Plaza Nueva is located between Gran Vía and Calle del Comercio. It is a pleasant tree-lined square surrounded by terraces. Most of the events in the city are held here.

Hermitage of Nuestra Señora de Guía, located on Mount Corberu.

Paseo de la Princesa Letizia, a wide promenade that goes from the end of the Sella bridge to the Fish Market, and together with the parallel Calle de los Marqueses de Argüelles forms a wide avenue in which they are located facing the port, the most of the cider houses and restaurants.

Route of the Port, set of six panels, painted by Antonio Mingote, in the Paseo de La Grúa that review the history of the Villa from Prehistory to the present day.

Playa de l’Atalaya, the Villa beach, stands out for being a rocky beach instead of sand.

Paseo de la Playa and Santa Marina beach, an elegant promenade where the impressive mansions and houses of Indianos merge with the Cantabrian Sea in its pure state.

Chalet de la Gaviota, an eclectic building that mixes the style of Alsatian country houses with maritime decorative elements.

Gran Vía de Agustín Argüelles, the center of life in Ribadesella, where most of the shops and cafes are located. In it you can admire many examples of modernist, eclectic and traditional architecture.

Dinosaur footprints in Tereñes.


The International Descent of the Sella (Descenso Internacional del Sella) is a race that takes place every year on the first weekend of August on the banks of the River Sella, and is accompanied by a celebratory gathering (La Fiesta de Les Piragües) through the streets and plaza of Ribadesella. The race begins in Arriondas, and finishes at the end of the River Sella, located in the “center” of Ribadesella.

Other festivals are celebrated with food, music, and dancing with original bagpipe/asturiano music and traditional dress. These festivals include religious celebrations for San Antón de Cuerres, San José de Sebreñu, Nuestra Señora de Fátima de Toriellu, San Isidro, San Lorenzo, Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, Nuestra Señora de la Esperanza de Collera, and Nuestra Señora de Guía, the patron of fishermen.

The Feria del Queso (Cheese Festival) de Cuerres and La Fiesta del Pez (Fish Festival) de Tereñes are other festivals celebrated throughout Ribadesella. Semana Santa, or Easter Week is very important in Ribadesella. Processions take place daily, and a great celebration, including a horse race/spectacular on the Santa Marina beach is held each year.

How to get to?

From Oviedo 59 min (79.3 km) via A-64 and A-8

From Gijón 47 min (62.2 km) via A-8

From Madrid 4 hr 52 min (523 km) via A-67

Main information

Area: 84 km²

Coordinates: 43°26′45″N 5°05′00″W

Population: 5686

Languages: Spanish, Asturian

Currency: Euro

Visa: Schengen

Time: Central European UTC +1

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