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Flag of Ribadesella
Coat of arms of Ribadesella
Coat of arms
Location of Ribadesella
Location of Ribadesella
Ribadesella is located in Spain
Location in Spain
Coordinates: 43°27′45″N 5°3′30″W / 43.46250°N 5.05833°W / 43.46250; -5.05833Coordinates: 43°27′45″N 5°3′30″W / 43.46250°N 5.05833°W / 43.46250; -5.05833
Country  Spain
Autonomous community  Asturias
Province Asturias
Comarca Oriente
Capital Ribadesella
 • Alcalde Ramón Manuel Canal Tirador (PSOE)
 • Total 84.37 km2 (32.58 sq mi)
Elevation 897 m (2,943 ft)
 • Total 6,296
 • Density 75/km2 (190/sq mi)
Demonym(s) riosellano
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postal code 33560
Official language(s) Asturian
Website Official website

Ribadesella (Asturian: Ribesella) is a small (84 km2) municipality in the Autonomous Community of the Principality of Asturias, Spain. Known for its location on the Cantabrian Sea, as well as for the outlet of the River Sella, Ribadesella is a town that forms part of the Picos de Europa (Peaks of Europe). It is bordered on the east by Llanes, on the south by Cangas de Onís and Parres, and on the west by Caravia. Ribadesella is hometown to Queen Letizia of Spain.

The first weekend of August, the famous Descenso Internacional del Sella (International Descent of the Sella) takes place, where oarsmen from all over the world gather to attempt the final 20 km of the Sella River in record time. This town is also known for its prehistoric caves, known as the caves of Tito Bustillo, which are open to visitors year round. Ribadesella also offers its visitors history, sport activities, beautiful scenery, nature, and impeccable food, which mostly surround the outlet of the most famous river of Asturias.


The municipality includes the Tito Bustillo Cave (Cueva de Tito Bustillo), known for prehistoric wall paintings of animals and figures, probably dating from the Magdalenian age (29,000 years ago).

The first written references to the settlement are more recent, and date from the first century BC. These come from the Greek geographer Strabo, who speaks of the River "Noega" separating "the Astures of Cantabrians". The people of Ribadesella at this time were called the Salaenos: they dominated Colunga, Arriondas and Llanes.

The Town[edit]

Ribadesella has two main streets, the Gran Vía de Agustin Argüelles, and CalleComercio. In this part of Ribadesella, there are a few banks, pharmacies, restaurants/bars, stores, and newspaper stands. Here also lies the Casco Antiguo, where the old plaza is located, as well as Ribadesella's church: Iglesia Parroquial de Sta. María Magdalena. In this part of town lie small stores of homemade products, as well as the homes of Ribadesella's inhabitants. The third part of Ribadesella consists of the Paseo Marítimo del Puerto, or the coast of the town that lies near the water. Today, this paseo is dedicated to the princess of Asturias, Dª Letizia Ortiz.


Cultural events[edit]

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 folklore clothing. 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 the fisherman. 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 are carried out daily, and great celebration, including a horse race/spectacular on the Santa Marina beach is held each year.