Exemplary Town of Asturias 1997 Prince of Asturias Awards
Once a completely walled town, a stroll around the centre of Castropol leaves no doubt that it was home to the wealthy “señoritos”, as they are still called in Spain.The narrow streets and plazas, some with spectacular views over the ría, display a mixture of huge majestic old mansions, “palacios” and “casonas” as they are called here, many dating from the 16th to 18th centuries, many with big walled gardens.
The central square is home to the beautiful little Santa Maria del Campo chapel, built in the 15th century, and the early 20th century Casino, now a cultural centre.
A sleepy little town, a lot of the buildings are in the process of being refurbished and many hope the town will be restored to its former splendour.
The Corpus Christi fiesta (May / June) is a very pretty event, with all the streets decorated with elaborate tapestries made from flowers. Actually I like coming here the night before, watching the master carpet makers putting the finishing touches to these astounding creations, with all the locals keeping their fingers crossed for good weather the next day!
The seaside promenade is the main hub of activity in Castropol, where the restaurants and bars are often packed with people spilling out in all directions to sit on the harbour wall with a glass of Albariño and a plate of oysters,
admiring the sight of the elegant botes –the elegant locally-made lateen-rigged boats – or watching the local rowing races or summer regattas, and maybe ships from all over the world being loaded with timber across the ría in neighbouring Galicia.