The coastal town of Ribadesella can be found in northern Spain. It’s an especially beautiful town due to the nearby river flowing into the sea. Many call it a hidden gem among the beach destinations in Spain. It is true that the beach and sea are especially beautiful here, so we urge you to join us and explore the top things to do in Ribadesella.
With its location on the coast and views of the Cantabrian Sea, the town of Ribadesella provides a broad variety of sports, cultural, and recreational opportunities.
From surfing to sea kayaking everything is available for you. If you haven’t heard about Ribadesella, it’s time you get familiar with the name of this awesome town in Spain.
How to get to Ribadesella?
The town of Ribadesella lies on the northern coast of Spain. It is rather far from most big airports so your best bet is Santander. Use our site to grab a dirt-cheap flight and head for Santander.
Once landed you will be able to take the train line that runs on the coast. It stops at Ribadesella but can make multiple changes and maybe even some buses depending on when you arrive. If you ask us it’s a pretty painful process. Not impossible, but not recommended either.
Instead, you should rent a car. Getting to Ribadesella will feel like a breeze in comparison to public transport. Then we can mention the awesome flexibility to explore around the town with a car. Definitely the best option.
Best Things to do in Ribadesella
Now it’s time to get into the exciting stuff. Let’s take a look at all the top things to do in Ribadesella. This quaint coastal town looks very inviting from the outside, but as you will see the hospitality is there under the surface as well.
With one of the most beautiful beaches, we recommend that you don’t skip a visit to Ribadesella when you are in the area. For a full beach vacation, you might even want to consider a hotel in Ribadesella.
1. Playa de Santa Marina
The definitive beach of the area. You can find Playa de Santa Marina at the spot where the river Sella meets the sea. It creates a truly unique sight and a big stretch of golden sand beach.
Behind the beach, you will see the city with its seafront hotels and apartment buildings. At first glance, this beach looks a little bit like something out of California.
The Cali feeling doesn’t stop there. Due to the special location and awesome winds usually present in the area this beach is a haven for surfers.
The beauty of the beach, the houses in the background, and the surfers in the sea really make Ribadesella a unique place to visit in Spain.
2. Try to learn surfing
Why stop at admiring the local surfing community? It’s time to join in on the fun and get your feet wet (pun intended).
Lucky for you there is even a surfing school in Ribadesella. This makes everything so much more convenient. At an affordable 35 EUR starting price, we can wholeheartedly recommend that you try your hand at this activity.
You can visit the official site of the surf school to learn more about their offer.
3. Monte Corbero
After some exciting days on the beach, it’s time that you continue your exploration of the town. Next up on our list of things to do in Ribadesella is Monte Corbero.
Although the name suggests a mountain it’s more of a huge hill than a full-blown mountain. It’s very easy to scale the top and you’ll get awesome views of the town and the beach.
You will also find Ermita de La Guía on the top of the mountain. It’s a small church with incredible charm. Standing alone on the top of the cape it proves to be a unique sight to behold.
As it’s only around a 20-minute walk from the city center we recommend that you don’t skip this attraction. It’s an awesome view and a cute church.
4. Cuevona De Ardines
When you visit Ribadesella, you will get an opportunity to explore a prehistoric cave. The Cuevona De Ardines is older than our civilization.
You will see amazing rock formations and signs of early humans in these caves. It’s a very intimate feeling, getting so close to our ancestors.
Even better, the site is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site so you can be sure that you are visiting a significant piece of our history.
5. Rock Art Center of Tito Bustillo
Another prehistoric cave that you can visit in Ribadesella is the Rock Art Center of Tito Bustillo. It’s not just a cave but also a museum built around it.
In the museum, there are great exhibitions that help to enhance the experience and tell you the full story of prehistoric humans.
6. Torre de la Atalaya
The tower that everyone knows is the overgrown watchtower. The nickname is no mistake. This neglected relic of the past is way overgrown with vegetation.
It’s green to a point where you can’t even tell the building material itself. The bricks and rocks of the tower simply can’t be seen under the nature takeover.
Regardless this tower is a reminder of Spain’s past. Being an important town on the coast it has served as a defensive structure in old times.
7. Playa de la Atalaya
Do you want to try the sea at a really dramatic beach? If the answer is yes, then the Playa de la Atalaya is for you. Just at the foot of the overgrown tower, there is a small path you can take down to the beach.
It’s wedged between two big rocks and provides a small opening to the sea. On the surface, it might look like a sand beach, but in the water, it’s more of a rocky type of beach.
The dramatic landscape and the rocks in the water make this beach stand out in the area.
8. Reloj de Sol Ribadesella
Another piece of history you can discover is Ribadesella. It’s a sun clock made all the way back in the 1700s.
This relic is an important reminder of how people used to keep time. When there were no watches and phones that could tell you the time in an instant, people had to be creative.
9. La Escalera de Colores
The colored steps are a cultural attraction in Ribadesella. You can scale these colored steps that have been painted by the locals.
These steps will take you through some incredible small streets among awesome old buildings. Definitely worth the discovery.
10. Canoeing the Sella River
A popular watersport activity in Ribadesella is canoeing the river. Canoeing the river is also a tradition for the town.
Each year they hold a 20 kilometers race downstream. It’s called the Descenso del Sella and many people will come to the town from the surrounding villages and regions to compete or spectate this fun event.
If this is not your first take of kayaking maybe you can try to come when this event is being held and take part. Otherwise, there are companies in town that provide equipment, canoes, and a safe environment for you to try this watersport.
11. Mirador de la Grúa
The lookout point Mirador de la Grúa is the opposite of Monte Corbero. As such it’s a must-visit to get another perspective of the city and the cute church on the top of the hill.
It’s a lookout point so expect some stairs. With just a few minutes of walking, you can be on the top enjoying the views all around you.
12. Paneles de Mingote
Those who love art will love the Paneles de Mingote. As the name suggests it’s made by a person named Mingote. Mingote is an artist local to the town and he has created 6 big painted murals for you to check out.
The painted panels can be found on the riverwalk and each one of them is accompanied by a small info plaquette.
13. Iglesia Santa Maria Magdalena de Ribadesella
A visit to Ribadesell can’t be complete without seeing the Iglesia Santa Maria Magdalena de Ribadesella. It’s an impressive church that won’t slip your attention as you are exploring the town.
The two belltowers stand tall in the sky making the church visible from many points of the town. If there is no service then you can visit it free of charge to marvel at the decorated inside as well.
14. Parque Natural del Malecón
The natural park of Malecón starts just at the outskirts of town. It’s a very nice area to visit if you are longing for some nature.
It will try to charm you away with its small ponds and marshlands like vegetation. There are a few trails that you can follow to explore this charming little park.
How many days to spend in Ribadesella?
If you are on a trip to explore northern Spain we highly recommend Ribadesella for a longer stay. Due to the awesome beach and surfing opportunity, it can provide tons of entertainment.
Visiting just for one day is fine as well as you can check out the UNESCO World Heritage site and the inviting old town. Just make sure that you hike up to Ermita de La Guía for the ultimate views. This is recommended even if you stop for one day only.
Where to eat in Ribadesella?
There are many awesome restaurants in Ribadesella. From Spain’s local meals to awesome seafood you can get everything. The choices can be a bit overwhelming so let us share with you our favorite restaurants in Ribadesella.
Fresh fish and amazing seafood meals are the main attraction of Xabrón. You can trust this restaurant with confidence if you are looking to eat fish.
We recommend that you get the catch of the day. It’s from the fish market just a few steps from the restaurant! This guarantees that the catch of the day is actually from today and as fresh as it can be.
Rompeolas Sidreria – Grill
Another great place to eat is Rompeolas Sidreria – Grill. As you might be able to guess it’s a grill bar. This one is for meat lovers. From awesome cuts, to freshly grilled local favorites you can find everything here. Definitely, a restaurant that you should visit when you are in Ribadesella.
Where to stay in Ribadesella?
In the last section of our guide let us share the best hotels in Ribadesella. Well, the best according to us. These hotels will be a great pick when you want to spend a few or even more nights in Ribadesella
Hotel Ribadesella Playa
What can be more fitting to an awesome beach town than an awesome beach hotel? Not any beach hotel though, the Hotel Ribadesella Playa is a highly affordable no-shrills experience.
The rooms are simple, but they have everything you would need from a hotel room. Breakfast is available upon request and the hotel is facing the beach.
This means you can be out of bed and in the water within a few minutes of waking up if that is your jazz. Due to the awesome pricing model, this hotel is definitely up at the top for recommended places to stay in Ribadesella.
Hotel Villa Rosario
A bit more expensive than our first pick, but also a bit more luxurious. Hotel Villa Rosario stands proud on the waterfront as an impressive villa.
Great rooms with nice styling. Extremely comfortable beds and a nice sea view from the windows. This is a great pick if you are looking for just a little bit more in your vacation.
Ribadesella is known for its amazing coastline and dramatic views.
No. It’s possible, but not easy. A better option is to rent a car.
2-3 days is optimal, but a full week is a good choice as well.
Yes, there are even summer surfing camps available.
You can explore the town on foot, but it’s best that you rent a car to explore nearby attractions freely.