Sightseeing Where You Live

Here’s a truism for you: emigrate and they will come.

One of the things about being an expat is the number of visitors you receive in your new home. Be it family or friends or some vague acquaintance who quite fancies a cheap holiday abroad, emigrate and the visitors will come.

Now most of the time this is lovely and can be a fine excuse to pretend to be on holiday yourself. But after a time you realise that you can no longer uphold the pretense of being on an extended holiday and you have to acknowledge that you are in fact living in the place and have a life there and all the inescapable daily drudgery that that entails. You cannot always be at the beck and call of every visitor.

Los Lagos, Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Lago Enol, Covadonga. Perhaps the most famous spot for sightseeing in Asturias. Image courtesy of Pelayo Alonso Huerta

The most useful tool we have found to defuse this situation and bridge the possible mismatch of expectations between holiday- and home- maker is our annotated map. We are currently on our fifth (and already increasingly tattered) copy of the Michelin road map of Asturias, on which we have labelled up an array of attractions across the region, complete with driving times from home and other useful information. Visitors with children? Why not check out the dinosaur museum, 30 minutes drive, free on Wednesdays, with a great playpark, cafe and a lovely beach alongside. Culture vulture? The Niemeyer Centre in Avilés is a must visit – the building alone is spectacular and their arts programming is vibrant and internationally relevant.

All our favourite beaches are marked, from tiny coves to exposed surf breaks. For walkers, bikers and climbers we highlight some great itineraries. For anyone on their first visit to the region we recommend a trip to Covadonga and the Lakes  to take in the magnificent, quintessentially Asturian views from the mountains to the sea.

Thus our visitors can pick and choose what most appeals to them and can self-direct their own sightseeing. But that´s not to say that we leave them entirely to their own devices. Depending on schedules (and quality of relationship!) we, of course, do our fair share of hanging out together. With some guests in fact it´s all about the hanging out and very little about the sightseeing. When grandparents come, for example, all they really want is some time with their darling boy. In which instance we consult the annotated map ourselves to remind us of where some good local restaurants are and we dash out the door to leave them to their bonding.


The view from the top of our hill, to the Picos at sunset on a winter’s evening. Every day I walk to the top of the hill with the dog and every day the view that awaits me is different, depending on season, time of day and quality of light. I love it.

In all honesty, the most telling sightseeing we share with visitors is often the simplest and the closest to home. The views from our garden as we share a meal and a glass of wine. Sharing a dog walk up the lane is a lovely opportunity for a chin-wag as well as to spy the profusion of wild flowers that fill the hedgerows and to gasp at the views from the top of  the hill, with the jagged, snow-capped Picos mountains in one direction and the wide Atlantic ocean in the other.

Sunset from home

Sunset from home

These are the views that mark my everyday. They are the views that still cause me to catch my breath despite having lived with them for over seven years. Changing light and weather can always throw up a new vision that has me running back inside for my camera. They are the sights that tell, in a large part, the story of why I live where I do and why I love where I live.

This post was written in response to the prompt ‘sightseeing where you live,’ courtesy of The American Resident and her ‘Love Where You Live’ Linky. Click the badge below to read more posts on the same theme.
The American Resident


  1. This is so true, our first three years here we were tour guides and playing at bed, breakfast and evening meal. It became a drain and we decided it was not our responsibility to take everyone everywhere. We limited visitors to on set per month (apart from family) and it works so much better now and the strain doesn’t show…as much. I love having visitors but always breath a sigh of relief when our home is ours once more.

    • That’s exactly it. At first you’re so excited to show off your new home and desperate to make sure that everyone has the best holiday ever – it’s just not sustainable. Coping strategies are vital!

  2. Very true. You cannot be the tour guide forever. Like you we have several maps for people who come to “see us”. We only take family on small trips.

  3. Love reading this. No wonder everyone wants to visit you, the views are just breathtaking.

  4. Yes, lots of time spent on entertainments is hard, you just stop feeling it’s fun… And earning something for a living is also necessary. Planning guests and visits is usually helpful.

  5. I love that you have everything marked out for your visitors on your maps – must get pretty tiring at times having family and friends come to stay! And those views! Can I come? Can I come? Please??!! I am going to join in this linky too next week, since I have just moved. X.

  6. Your first sentence made me smile :) Soooo true. Not that it’s a bad thing–saves on our airfares back home to see them, right?! I LOVE your idea of an annotated map. I have a folder where I’ve shoved a load of (probably out of date) brochures. I wonder if there’s a market for those annotated maps…? You could start a business!

    Thank you for joining in the linky!! I especially love how you’ve given me a tip for my own visitors with the maps!

    • Ah yes, how true – the flip side is saving on the airfare home. One way to soften the blow of refusing an invitation to a birthday party/communion/wedding is always the hastily proffered offer of a holiday!

  7. The scenery in particular is amazing.

  8. Goodness, what a stunning post – those photos really are breathtaking, no wonder you love it there so much, and no wonder you get so many visitors too! The annotated maps are a great idea! xx

  9. Oohh, the sunset from your home is absolutely beautiful and seems very peaceful. It looks like a dream!

    I lived in Andalusia for 4.5 years, and my work sent me throughout all of Spain last summer, so I left Andalusia to live/visit Castilla y León, Santander, Burgos before eventually making my way northwest to Galicia and Asturias. Of all those places, Asturias captured my heart from the very first moment I peeked out the bus window and saw the green countryside speckled with stone houses and sloping roofs. It was a strange feeling, and it may even be impulsive of me to say it, but I truly felt like I had finally found home there.

    My husband and I have now moved to the U.K. (hubs decided to escape la crisis alongside other Spaniards), but we’re set on someday making our way back to Spain, and carving out a little niche for ourselves in Asturias.

    • Oh what a lovely tale Michelle. I’m always delighted to meet others who have lost their heart to Asturias and I do hope you and your husband manage to return to Spain, and in particular to this northern corner, where I’m sure your niche awaits you!

  10. Oh my gosh you are so right. Used to drive me mad when we first left the UK. Some of the people were just obviously visiting for a cheap holiday, but do you know what, I wised up to it… We love having visitors, but sometimes you just need to say “no”…. Lovely pics, and some great tips! :)

  11. No one comes visit us (but that is probably down to my weird family and friends in Spain)! Lovely photos as always.

    • Aw, really? No-one? I guess Brits and Irish always associate Spain with holidays whereas the reverse is not true so much (or at all!) Thanks for your kind words Maria

  12. oh you clever thing!

  13. Visitors? Oh no. Not any more. Apart from the very favoured few. The ‘friends’ who ponced a two week holiday in peak season in August, prices back then for a flat would have been at least a grand plus air fares. The guy with a motorhome who decided to camp in our back house for a week as it saved him camp site charges. My mum for a few days was ok, as was a Land Rover mate. My mate from university obviously thought our slum didn’t cut it. You have more patience than us.

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