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A Short Guide To Cudillero – Northern Spain’s Most Colourful Town


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Rania Backus



Welcome to Cudillero, a charming and picturesque town nestled along the rugged coastline of Northern Spain. With its vibrant colors, breathtaking landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Cudillero is truly a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. This article will serve as your guide to understanding the history, geography, attractions, cuisine, and local traditions of this captivating town.


Cudillero, often referred to as the “most colorful town in Northern Spain,” is renowned for its unique architecture, friendly locals, and laid-back atmosphere. Nestled on a hillside overlooking the vast Cantabrian Sea, this idyllic fishing village offers a plethora of experiences for travelers seeking an authentic taste of Spanish coastal life.


Steeped in history, Cudillero has been inhabited since ancient times, with evidence of Roman settlements in the area. Over the centuries, it evolved into a renowned fishing port, attracting seafarers from all over the world. Today, it still proudly embraces its maritime heritage, with the bustling harbor showcasing colorful fishing boats and the delicious aroma of freshly caught seafood lingering in the air.


As you wander through the narrow cobbled streets, you’ll be captivated by the town’s unique architectural style. The houses, known as “casonas,” are stacked closely together and seem to defy gravity as they perch precariously on the hillside. Each house is painted a different shade, creating a beautiful mosaic of vibrant colors that cascade down toward the sea.


One of the main attractions in Cudillero is the Church of San Pedro, a striking Romanesque-style church that dates back to the 12th century. Its location at the highest point of the town provides panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and makes for an unforgettable visit.


Whether you’re strolling along the picturesque harbor, enjoying a leisurely meal at one of the many seafood restaurants, or simply taking in the breathtaking sunsets, Cudillero offers a myriad of activities to suit every traveler’s interests. Its natural beauty, warm hospitality, and authentic charm make it an ideal destination for those seeking a unique and memorable experience in Northern Spain.


History of Cudillero

The history of Cudillero can be traced back to ancient times, with evidence of human habitation in the area as early as the Roman period. The Romans recognized the strategic importance of the region and established settlements, taking advantage of its natural harbor and abundant fishing grounds.


Over the centuries, Cudillero grew and prospered as a fishing port, attracting seafarers from different parts of Spain and beyond. Its strategic location along the Cantabrian Sea made it an ideal base for maritime activities. Fishing became a significant part of the local economy, with the townspeople honing their skills in the art of netting and seafaring.


In the Middle Ages, Cudillero was a thriving commercial hub, as its fishing industry flourished and trade routes expanded. The town’s prosperity attracted the attention of various ruling powers, leading to battles and sieges as competing forces sought control over Cudillero’s valuable resources.


During the 16th century, Cudillero experienced a period of economic decline due to changes in fishing practices and the advent of more efficient fishing methods. However, the town managed to retain its cultural identity and maritime heritage despite the challenges. The distinctive Cudillero architecture, characterized by its colorful houses stacked closely together on the hillside, began to emerge during this period.


In the 19th century, Cudillero underwent further transformations as the fishing industry regained momentum. Technological advancements and improvements in transportation infrastructure revitalized the town’s economy and brought new opportunities for growth. The influence of industrialization gradually made its way to Cudillero, facilitating the export of seafood to other parts of Spain and abroad.


Today, Cudillero is a popular tourist destination that attracts visitors from around the world. Its rich history is showcased in the town’s museums, where artifacts and exhibits highlight the maritime heritage and traditional way of life that have shaped the local identity.


Cudillero continues to thrive as a fishing town, with the fishing industry playing a vital role in the local economy. The town’s picturesque harbor is still home to a fleet of colorful fishing boats, and visitors can witness the daily activities of the local fishermen as they bring in their fresh catches.


The history of Cudillero is a testament to the resilience and determination of its people. Despite the challenges faced throughout the centuries, the town has managed to preserve its cultural heritage, architecture, and traditional way of life, creating a unique and captivating destination for visitors to explore.


Geography and Location

Cudillero is situated in the Asturias region of Northern Spain, along the rugged and picturesque coastline of the Cantabrian Sea. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, the town’s geography provides a stunning backdrop of natural beauty and diverse landscapes.


The town is built on a steep hillside, with its colorful houses cascading down towards the harbor. This unique layout gives Cudillero its distinctive charm and has earned it the title of the “Amphitheater of the Sea.”


Surrounded by the Cantabrian Mountains, the town is shielded from strong winds and extreme weather conditions. This favorable geographical position creates a mild and temperate climate, making Cudillero an enjoyable place to visit throughout the year. Summers are typically warm and pleasant, while winters are mild with occasional chilly temperatures.


The coastline of Cudillero is a combination of rugged cliffs, serene coves, and beautiful sandy beaches. The clear waters of the Cantabrian Sea provide a haven for marine life, and the area is known for its abundant fish and seafood.


One of the most iconic landmarks in Cudillero is Cape Vidio, located just a few kilometers from the town. Standing at a height of over 80 meters, the cape offers breathtaking views of the coastline and the vast expanse of the sea. It is a popular spot for nature lovers and photographers to capture the beauty of the surrounding landscape.


The town’s location also makes it a convenient base for exploring the natural wonders of the surrounding area. The nearby Somiedo Natural Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is home to stunning mountain ranges, picturesque lakes, and rare wildlife species. The park offers numerous hiking and outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts.


For those seeking a beach escape, Cudillero boasts several beautiful beaches, such as Aguilar Beach, Concha de Artedo Beach, and Silencio Beach. These pristine stretches of sand are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and enjoying the tranquility of the coastal scenery.


Overall, the geography and location of Cudillero contribute to its allure as a destination. From its hillside architecture to its stunning coastline and proximity to natural wonders, the town offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors to enjoy.


Architecture and Buildings

Cudillero is renowned for its unique and vibrant architecture that is characteristic of the town. The colorful houses, known as “casonas,” are stacked closely together on the hillside, creating a picturesque and captivating sight.


These traditional Cudillero houses are typically made of stone and feature wooden balconies and colorful facades. Each house is painted in a different shade, creating a beautiful mosaic of colors that seems to tumble down towards the sea. The vivid hues of blue, green, yellow, and pink add a sense of vibrancy and charm to the town’s landscape.


The architectural style of the Cudillero houses is influenced by the town’s fishing heritage and the need to optimize limited space. The narrow streets and steep terrain required innovative building techniques, leading to the construction of houses that appear to be stacked on top of each other.


As you wander through the streets of Cudillero, you will notice that the ground floors of the houses often serve as storage space for fishing gear and boats. The upper levels are where the residents live, with their colorful window frames and wooden balconies adding to the architectural beauty of the town.


One of the most prominent architectural landmarks in Cudillero is the Church of San Pedro. Located at the highest point of the town, this Romanesque-style church dates back to the 12th century. Its impressive stone façade, decorative elements, and commanding position offer panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.


Another notable building in Cudillero is the Town Hall, which is located in the main square. Built in the 19th century, this historical building showcases a blend of architectural styles, combining elements of Gothic and Renaissance design. Its grand presence adds to the charm and character of the town.


Besides the colorful houses and architectural landmarks, Cudillero is also home to several quaint chapels and small shrines that are scattered throughout the town. These religious buildings are testament to the town’s strong faith and cultural traditions.


Overall, the architecture and buildings of Cudillero provide a visual feast for visitors. The blend of colors, unique designs, and integration with the natural environment showcase the town’s rich cultural heritage and make it a destination that is both visually appealing and culturally significant.


Attractions and Points of Interest

Cudillero offers a variety of attractions and points of interest that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages. From its beautiful beaches to its historical landmarks, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this charming town.


One of the main attractions in Cudillero is its picturesque harbor. As you stroll along the waterfront, you’ll be greeted by rows of colorful fishing boats bobbing in the water. This bustling scene provides a glimpse into the town’s rich maritime heritage. You can watch the local fishermen unload their fresh catches of the day or enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the seafood restaurants that line the harbor.


For those seeking natural beauty, Cudillero boasts stunning beaches and coastal landscapes. Aguilar Beach, located just a short distance from the town, is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Its golden sand, clear waters, and surrounding cliffs make it a perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and exploring the nearby caves.


Ano Beach is another hidden gem worth visiting. Tucked away in a small cove, this secluded beach offers tranquility and breathtaking views of the Cantabrian Sea. Its pristine waters and rugged cliffs create a mesmerizing backdrop for a day of relaxation and unwinding.


If you’re interested in history and culture, a visit to the Church of San Pedro is a must. This Romanesque-style church dates back to the 12th century and is located at the highest point of the town. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding area and is a fascinating example of architectural craftsmanship.


The Ethnographic Museum of Cudillero is another attraction worth exploring. Housed in a traditional Cudillero house, the museum provides insight into the town’s fishing heritage, local traditions, and way of life. Exhibits showcase fishing tools, traditional costumes, and artifacts that offer a glimpse into the past.


If you’re up for a bit of adventure, you can hike along the coastal trails that surround Cudillero. These trails offer breathtaking views of the cliffs, the sea, and the picturesque landscape. Exploring these paths will allow you to discover hidden beaches, secluded coves, and natural wonders that are off the beaten path.


Lastly, don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local cuisine in Cudillero. With its strong fishing tradition, the town is known for serving up some of the freshest and most delicious seafood dishes. From grilled octopus and mariscada (a seafood stew) to traditional Asturian cider, your taste buds will be delighted by the flavors of the sea.


Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply seeking a place to relax and unwind, Cudillero has attractions and points of interest that will exceed your expectations. Its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and warm hospitality make it a destination that will leave a lasting impression.


Gastronomy and Local Cuisine

Cudillero is a paradise for food lovers, with its strong fishing heritage and access to fresh seafood. The local cuisine reflects the town’s coastal location and offers a tantalizing array of flavors and dishes that will delight your taste buds.


When it comes to seafood, Cudillero is known for its exceptional quality and variety. From succulent prawns and lobsters to delectable clams and sea bass, the town’s restaurants serve up a bounty of flavors from the sea. Don’t miss the opportunity to try caldereta de pescado, a rich and hearty fish stew, or savor the flavor of grilled octopus, a local specialty that is tender and packed with flavor.


Asturian cuisine is also famous for its use of traditional ingredients such as fabes, a type of white bean, and cabrales cheese, a strong and pungent blue cheese. The combination of these ingredients in dishes like fabada asturiana, a hearty bean stew, and cabrales cheese fondue, creates bold and unforgettable flavors that are unique to the region.


Another must-try dish in Cudillero is the renowned Asturian cider. The region is known for its rich tradition of cider production, and the town boasts several cider houses where you can sample this refreshing beverage. It is customary to pour the cider from a height into the glass to release its natural bubbles, a practice known as “escanciar.” Pair your cider with a plate of local cheeses or a hearty Asturian-style steak, known as chuletón, for a truly authentic gastronomic experience.


To satisfy your sweet tooth, indulge in some traditional Asturian desserts. Arroz con leche, a creamy rice pudding flavored with cinnamon and lemon zest, is a popular choice. Another favorite is frixuelos, thin and delicate crepes that are often filled with cream or served with a drizzle of local honey.


When dining in Cudillero, immerse yourself in the warm and convivial atmosphere of the local restaurants. The town’s seafood restaurants, known as “marisquerías,” offer a charming ambiance and panoramic views of the harbor. Here, you can enjoy freshly caught seafood prepared in traditional and innovative ways, all while soaking in the vibrant atmosphere of this picturesque fishing village.


Exploring the local cuisine in Cudillero is a culinary journey that celebrates the flavors of the sea and the unique culinary traditions of Asturias. From seafood delicacies to hearty stews and flavorful cheeses, the town’s gastronomy is a reflection of its rich cultural heritage and its love affair with the sea.


Festivals and Celebrations

Cudillero is a town that knows how to celebrate and has a rich calendar of festivals and events throughout the year. These vibrant and lively celebrations showcase the town’s deep-rooted traditions, culture, and sense of community.


One of the most eagerly anticipated festivals in Cudillero is the Feast of San Pedro, the patron saint of the town. Celebrated on June 29th, this festival is a colorful and joyous affair that brings locals and visitors together. The streets are filled with processions, music, dancing, and traditional ceremonies. The highlight of the celebration is the maritime procession, where the statue of San Pedro is taken out to sea on a beautifully decorated boat.


During the summer months, Cudillero comes alive with the Festival of the Bonfires of San Juan. Held on the night of June 23rd, this event marks the arrival of the summer season. Locals gather on the beach and light bonfires as they enjoy music, fireworks, and traditional dances. It is believed that by jumping over the bonfires, one can cleanse and renew their spirits for the year ahead.


Another popular festival in Cudillero is the Gastronomic Sea Festival, held in August. This culinary celebration showcases the town’s seafood heritage, with various stalls offering a wide array of delectable seafood dishes. Visitors can indulge in freshly cooked seafood, enjoy live music performances, and participate in cooking workshops and tastings.


Cudillero also hosts the Festival of the Virgin of the Rosary in October. This religious festival pays homage to the town’s patron saint and involves processions, church services, and traditional dances. The community comes together to celebrate their faith and express gratitude for the town’s blessings.


Throughout the year, Cudillero embraces its musical heritage with concerts and performances held in various venues. From traditional folk music to contemporary jazz, these events offer a glimpse into the thriving music scene of the town and showcase the talents of local musicians.


Attending these festivals and celebrations in Cudillero allows visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture and traditions of the town. The lively atmosphere, traditional dances, and gastronomic delights create an unforgettable experience that highlights the sense of community and pride that the residents of Cudillero hold for their town.


Accommodation and Tourism

As tourism in Cudillero continues to flourish, the town offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets. From cozy guesthouses and traditional hotels to charming holiday rentals, visitors can find a comfortable place to unwind and enjoy their stay.


The town center is dotted with small family-run hotels and guesthouses that exude a warm and welcoming atmosphere. These accommodations often feature traditional Asturian architecture, with stone facades and wooden balconies that blend seamlessly with the town’s unique charm. Staying in one of these establishments allows visitors to experience the hospitality and authenticity that Cudillero is known for.


For those seeking a more independent and self-catering experience, there are numerous holiday rentals available throughout the town. From renovated fishermen’s cottages to modern apartments with stunning sea views, these rentals provide a comfortable and private base for exploring Cudillero and its surroundings.


As Cudillero is a popular tourist destination, it is advisable to book accommodations in advance, especially during the peak summer months. This ensures that visitors can secure their preferred type of accommodation and have a hassle-free stay in this charming town.


When it comes to tourism in Cudillero, the town offers a wealth of activities and attractions to keep visitors engaged. Exploring the narrow streets lined with colorful houses is an experience in itself, allowing for leisurely walks and photo opportunities at every corner.


Visitors can also visit the local museums to learn more about the town’s history and immerse themselves in the fishing traditions and way of life that define Cudillero. The Ethnographic Museum provides insight into the town’s cultural heritage, while the Church of San Pedro showcases the architectural brilliance and religious significance of the area.


Cudillero’s location along the coast enables visitors to access stunning beaches and enjoy a variety of water sports and outdoor activities. From relaxing on the sandy shores to embarking on coastal hikes and boat trips, there is no shortage of opportunities to connect with nature and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.


The town’s vibrant food scene is another aspect of tourism that attracts visitors. With its abundance of seafood, Cudillero offers a gastronomic adventure that showcases the flavors of the sea. Local restaurants and cider houses provide an authentic culinary experience, allowing visitors to indulge in mouthwatering dishes and traditional Asturian cider.


As a popular destination, Cudillero maintains a warm and welcoming atmosphere that invites tourists to become a part of the local community. The friendly locals, combined with the town’s picturesque streets and rich cultural heritage, create an inviting environment that makes visitors feel right at home.


Overall, the accommodation options and tourism offerings in Cudillero cater to a wide range of interests and preferences. The town’s natural beauty, cultural attractions, and delicious cuisine make it a destination worth exploring for both local and international travelers.


Local Traditions and Customs

Cudillero is a town steeped in traditions and customs that have been passed down through generations. These local practices showcase the rich cultural heritage and the strong sense of community that is cherished by the residents.


One of the central traditions in Cudillero is the annual Blessing of the Sea, known as “La Bendición del Mar.” This ceremony, held on the Feast of San Pedro, involves the procession of the statue of San Pedro to the harbor, where local fishermen and sailors gather with their boats. Prayers are offered for the safety and prosperity of those who earn their livelihood from the sea, and the boats are blessed by the local priest. This tradition highlights the significant role that the sea plays in the lives of the townspeople and the deep-rooted connection they have with the ocean.


Another prominent custom in Cudillero is the “Día de los Calderos,” or the Day of the Cauldrons. This event, held in August, brings the community together for a day of cooking and sharing. Local residents gather in the streets, setting up large cauldrons and preparing traditional Asturian dishes. Friends and neighbors come together to contribute ingredients and help with the preparations. The aromas of hearty stews and the sounds of laughter and conversation fill the air, creating a joyful and festive atmosphere.


Cudillero also upholds its musical traditions through the “Ronda de Cudillero.” This musical custom involves local musicians gathering in the streets to serenade residents and visitors. Equipped with traditional instruments such as the bagpipe, guitar, and tambourine, they perform traditional folk songs that tell stories of the town’s past and celebrate its cultural heritage. The Ronda de Cudillero provides a unique and enchanting experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant local music scene.


The town’s strong fishing heritage is celebrated through customs such as the “Subasta de Pescado,” or fish auction. This lively event takes place in the mornings, where freshly caught fish and seafood are auctioned off to local buyers. It is an opportunity to witness the vibrant atmosphere of the fishing industry and to experience the excitement and fast-paced nature of the auction.


Cudillero also takes pride in its agricultural traditions, with farming and the cultivation of local produce playing a significant role in the town’s economy. During the harvest season, festivals and celebrations are held to commemorate the hard work of farmers and to showcase the abundance of local produce. These events feature traditional dances, music, and culinary delights made from freshly harvested fruits and vegetables.


Throughout the year, Cudillero maintains a strong sense of community through various cultural and social gatherings. From the local football matches that bring people together to the gatherings at traditional cider houses, the town fosters a spirit of camaraderie and togetherness that is cherished by its residents.


Immersing yourself in the local traditions and customs of Cudillero offers a unique insight into the town’s cultural identity and the values held dear by its inhabitants. It is an opportunity to connect with the rich history, heritage, and sense of community that make Cudillero a truly special place.



Cudillero, with its vibrant colors, rich history, stunning landscapes, and warm hospitality, is a destination that captivates the hearts of visitors. This hidden gem along the northern coast of Spain offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and authentic experiences.


From its unique architecture, with its colorful stacked houses cascading down the hillside, to its picturesque harbor filled with fishing boats, Cudillero presents a postcard-worthy backdrop at every turn. Exploring the narrow streets, visiting the historical landmarks like the Church of San Pedro, and immersing oneself in the local traditions and customs offers an insight into the town’s rich past and vibrant culture.


The gastronomy of Cudillero is a feast for the senses, with its abundance of fresh seafood dishes, traditional Asturian flavors, and the refreshing Asturian cider. The town’s culinary offerings perfectly complement its coastal setting, offering a true taste of the sea and celebrating the bounty of the region.


Cudillero is not only a town of visual splendor but also a place of lively celebrations and festivals. Whether it is the Feast of San Pedro, the Gastronomic Sea Festival, or the Festival of the Bonfires of San Juan, these events bring the community together, allowing visitors to experience the infectious joy and warmth of the locals.


Accommodation options in Cudillero cater to various preferences, ranging from cozy guesthouses to holiday rentals, providing a comfortable base for exploration and relaxation. The town’s proximity to stunning beaches, rugged cliffs, and natural parks offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, and exploring the beautiful coastal trails.


What truly sets Cudillero apart is its sense of community and the genuine hospitality of its residents. As visitors step into the town, they are made to feel like part of the family, embraced by the warm smiles and friendly conversations that abound. The locals take great pride in their town and are eager to share their stories, traditions, and local knowledge with visitors.


Whether you are seeking a peaceful retreat, a cultural immersion, or a gastronomic adventure, Cudillero is a destination that promises to deliver. Its natural beauty, rich heritage, and warm-hearted community make it a captivating and unforgettable place to visit. So, pack your bags, explore the colorful streets, indulge in the local cuisine, and discover the hidden treasures of Cudillero – Northern Spain’s most colorful town.