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Villaviciosa Estuary
Villaviciosa (Eastern Asturias)
Open to the public

Preferably at low tide

10 km2
Contact Address

Tourist Office
Casa de los Hevia
Calle Agua, 29
33300. Villaviciosa

Phone: +34 985 891 759

Villaviciosa Estuary
Interpretation Centre

Ctra. Villaviciosa-El Puntal
33300. Villaviciosa
Phone: +34 684 625 900

  • Villaviciosa Estuary is located on the central-eastern coast of Asturias, about 30 kilometres east of Gijón/Xixón. It lies entirely within the borough of Villaviciosa.

  • Plant life

    The general features of the vegetation of this estuary are common to the other estuaries of the eastern sector of the Cantabrian Sea. It is, however, the only Asturian estuary of its kind.

    A diversity of plant communities grow in the mud flooded daily by the tides. In the lower lying areas can be found meadows of Zostera noltii, which, at some slightly higher points, are accompanied by stands of Spartina maritime, a species which is only found here within the Principality.

    Above these single species meadows grow halophytic shrubs, which are highly diversified in this estuary. The most noteworthy, unparalleled on the Cantabrian coastline, are formed by a halophytic dwarf shrub: Suaeda vera.


    The amateur naturalist and especially the birdwatcher will find a wide range of marsh species here. Some sedentary, others wintering and other species that are abundant during autumn migration stopovers. After the Eo, Villaviciosa Estuary is considered the second most important wintering and migratory stopover area in the Principality for European populations of waterfowl. Nearly a hundred of these species belonging to a total of 16 families have been identified, making the estuary worthy of the category of Wetland of National Importance, according to the Spanish Ornithological Society. An officially protected area, the Villaviciosa Estuary Waterfowl Sanctuary is considered a Hunting-free Zone with an extension of ​​1,500 hectares.

    The spatial distribution of the birds varies depending on the tides. During low tide, waders can be found in the mudflats, as well as in shallow water areas and channels. The surrounding apple orchards and meadows also host large numbers of waterfowl, especially during cold fronts.

Villaviciosa Estuary Partial Nature Reserve is a beautiful natural setting where river and sea elements converge.

An estuary considered of high ecological value with outstanding halophytic and sub-halophytic vegetation, significant wildlife populations, especially birdlife, and the broad variety of species found in its waters.

The estuary widens considerably near Tazones, between El Puntal and Rodiles Beaches, gradually tapering until reaching the centre of the town of Villaviciosa and the so-called "porreos", the name given to the area of land reclaimed from the sea, where you can find sub-halophytic meadows with channels and ponds of major interest.

The territory it occupies can be divided into four zones; the system of the mouth of the estuary, where Rodiles Beach is located; the sandy bay, most of which is located in Misiego Cove; the marshy plains, a place of transit for countless seabird species of major ecological interest; and the upper channel, where the river's influence is more predominant.

The gentle woods surrounding the valleys of this borough constitute unique spots for hiking. What's more, ideal spots for paragliding and hang gliding can be found on its hilltops, which offer breath-taking views.

You can practice many kinds of nautical activities along the coast and the banks of the estuary: surfing, windsurfing, canoeing and sailing for the more adventurous, and relaxing boat trips on the estuary for lovers of scenic views.

As for the climate, the area in which the Villaviciosa Estuary lies boasts ​​mild temperatures, rarely falling below freezing point, especially near the sea.

Villaviciosa Estuary