This attractive villa in the eastern part of Asturias, the capital of the homonymous council, is famous for two essential and unique landmarks: being the location of the prehistoric Tito Bustillo Cave, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the significance of its paintings, engravings, and other manifestations of cave art.

Additionally, just 250 meters from the entrance of this cave, you’ll find the Tito Bustillo Cave Art Center, featuring a permanent exhibition about this invaluable artistic ensemble.

And if that weren’t enough, Ribadesella/Ribeseya is the destination for one of the most renowned canoe races in the world, the International Descent of the Sella, held every year on the first Saturday of August. It’s the only Asturian festival declared of International Tourist Interest.

The Sella River, which becomes an estuary as it flows through the heart of the town, shapes the life and landscape of this emblematic fishing village, which has traditionally relied on fishing, both maritime and riverine. Whale hunting, deep-sea fishing, inshore fishing, and salmon fishing, along with its salt industry and maritime trade, imbue a charming historic center.

Furthermore, its connection to the Cantabrian Sea is reflected in six ceramic panels by the renowned cartoonist and graphic humorist Antonio Mingote on the Paseo de la Grúa.

Paseo de la Grua in Ribadesella
View of the Ribadesella Beach

During a maritime tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore other landmarks of this town, such as the riverside promenade named after Princess Letizia. The current Queen of Spain spent much of her childhood and youth summers in this town, hence the delicious cookies called “Letizias” are produced there.

There’s also the “Paseo de los Vencedores” (Victors’ Promenade) near the finish line of the famous International Descent of the Sella, as well as the Dinosaur Route at Punta’l Pozu. Additionally, this sunny town offers splendid places to enjoy terrace dining, fine cuisine, drinks, or unforgettable walks such as the Paseo de la Grúa, the Santa Marina Beach promenade with its spectacular Indian-style buildings, the Guía viewpoint and chapel, and Atalaya Beach.

One advantage: Ribadesella/Ribeseya is always lively, especially in spring and summer, as it hosts a constant stream of concerts, cultural activities, gastronomic events, and more.

In conclusion, it’s a town with a rich historical, cultural, maritime, sporting, gastronomic, and social offering.

Panoramic view of the port of Ribadesella

One of the most important Paleolithic rock art sites in Europe, the cave of "Tito Bustillo'"

In the town of Ribadesella/Ribeseya lies the Cave of Tito Bustillo. Situated in the Ardines massif, it is part of a karstic complex located near the mouth of the Sella River, which includes other cavities such as La Lloseta or the Biesca cave.

Discovered in 1968, it consists of a single gallery about 700 meters long, with adjoining chambers.

Its repertoire is organized into 11 sets (some comprising several panels), which gather more than a hundred engraved and painted representations corresponding to two phases: a pre-Magdalenian phase (with red signs and scarce animal figures) and a Magdalenian phase, featuring various zoomorphic figures and different techniques.

In the Cave of Tito Bustillo, the rock art representations vary according to the periods and are superimposed on each other, depending on the preferences of those who inhabited the cave between 22,000 and 10,000 BCE.

"Bison paintings in the Cave of Tito Bustillo"
"Horse painting in the Cave of Tito Bustillo"

Prominent among the rock art found in the Cave of Tito Bustillo are the horses and reindeer, which, thanks to the use of various pigments and contour scraping, achieve an extraordinary and vivid sense of polychrome. It is worth mentioning the Gallery of Horses, the Chamber of Vulvas, and the recently discovered Gallery of Anthropomorphs. Complementarily, visitors can explore the adjacent Cuevona de Ardines (which was inhabited after Tito Bustillo). It features a spacious central chamber and is open for visits year-round.

Additionally, nearby is the Tito Bustillo Rock Art Center, a cutting-edge building offering an insight into the entirety of Asturian prehistory. It provides information and displays archaeological pieces of interest, particularly from the cave itself, including unique recreations.

Canoe Party of Asturias

The Canoe Festival of Asturias, also known as the International Descent of the Sella, is one of the most emblematic and popular events in the region. It is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of August and attracts thousands of participants and spectators from around the world.

During this festival, competitors paddle along a course of approximately 20 kilometers along the Sella River, from the town of Arriondas to Ribadesella. The competition is open to both amateur and professional athletes, and is contested in various categories, from individual to team events.

In addition to the race itself, the Canoe Festival is a lively and festive celebration, featuring live music, food and drink stalls, cultural and recreational activities, and a spirit of camaraderie and fun. It is an opportunity to enjoy the sporting spirit and natural beauty of Asturias, as well as to experience the rich culture and traditions of the region.

Pódium vencedores del Sella
Salida descenso Internacional del Sella

This canoe race is one of the oldest in the world, and its inception marks the origin of competitive Spanish canoeing in calm waters. It is therefore a major sporting event that includes all the “rituals” of typical Asturian festivities: music, parades of brass bands, cider, and the “Asturias Patria Querida” song marking the start of the race, just a few kilometers from the imposing peaks of the Picos de Europa.