Spaniards do not usually agree on many things. However, one of them seems to be that they love Asturias.
This small region in Northern Spain is located between the sea and the mountains of Picos de Europa. In this Asturias travel guide, we will share with you what makes Asturias such a pleasant tourist destination.
The local tourism authorities in Asturias have used for many years the slogan: “Asturias, natural paradise”. And we would need to agree that rarely does a slogan describe the character of a region so well. Asturias is very green, rocky, and with the intense blue of a sea that runs along its coast of beautiful and small sandy beaches. The coast in Asturias is wild and offers fantastic scenery. In such a small territory you will find almost 600 beaches! Many cannot be accessed and are hidden behind rolling green hills.
Asturias Travel Guide - Contents
Why Visit Asturias?
Asturian people are known for their good character and sense of humor. This probably has to do with its Celtic history. Like in the case of its western neighbor, Galicia, Asturias is also a Celtic region and was the first part of Spain to initiate the reconquering process during the VIIth century. Asturias was actually never conquered by the Muslims, so do not expect to find any Mudejar art in this part of Spain!
But if local people share a good reputation amongst Spaniards, the food of Asturias has an even better reputation: succulent, delicious, and with very famous dishes such as fabada (an earthy bean stew), pixin or monkfish or the delicious Asturian cheeses (Asturias is the region of Spain with the most variety of cheeses). The most famous of these cheeses is Cabrales, a delicious blue cheese that is the perfect match for the local Asturian drink: cider.
With no doubt, food is one of the top tourist attractions of Asturias. If we add to the equation the fantastic value for money offered by most bars and restaurants, you will easily understand why Spaniards consider Asturias as one of its top gastronomy destinations.
Two cities with a lot of interest
The two most important cities in Asturias are also great rivals. Oviedo is the capital of the region and one of the most elegant cities in Spain. Its streets and buildings, its people. everything is elegant in Oviedo´s compact city center.
Gijon is bigger than Oviedo, it was poorer, more industrial, and next to the sea. The city has evolved today into a fantastic beach town, with parks, lots of street art, and fun. The industrial, dusty face of the city has been lifted and Gijon has now emerged as a tourist destination with a fantastic city beach and a very loaded cultural and entertainment program.
The isolation of Asturias during the Muslim invasion had deep repercussions that today can be easily felt in local art. The surroundings of Oviedo offer as many as 14 examples of a unique style, called pre-Romanesque. These religious buildings have gained Unesco heritage status and are a must-see for culture and art lovers visiting the area.
Top City In Asturias
Oviedo is the beautiful and historic capital of the Principality of Asturias in lush Northern Spain. The city is filled with emblematic and historic sites all of which are worth discovering and experiencing. The city features a beautiful and imposing cathedral, a charming and well-kept old quarter, impressive statues peppered across the city, traces of the city’s pre-Romanesque past, amazing cuisine, etc.
With so many things to do and see, it is hard to plan the perfect visit to this lesser-known Spanish gem. Our expert local guides have created the ultimate guide to the magical city of Oviedo.
Top 5 Reasons to visit Oviedo
- The Cathedral of Oviedo: The Cathedral is perhaps the most emblematic site in Oviedo. The Santa Iglesia Basilica Catedral Metropolitana de San Salvador de Oviedo has been a pilgrimage Mecca for centuries, thanks to the fact that it houses the most important collection of relics of Christianity in all of Spain. These precious artifacts are kept securely in the Holy Chamber, along with other icons of the Asturian past such as the Don Pelayo cross. The importance of the cathedral was such during the Middle ages that there was an expression that went: “Whoever goes to Santiago and not to the Savior (Cathedral of Oviedo), visits the servant and not the Lord.” The architecture of the cathedral, the works of art it hoards and its secluded cloister will delight anyone, no matter how religious they may be. In the square that the cathedral overlooks you will find one of the many statues that decorate the streets of the city: La Regenta.
- The Historic City Center: Strolling through the historic center of Oviedo, the large houses and palaces are demonstrate the economic power and opulence that the city once enjoyed. That rich past is still alive in places like Plaza del Fontán. On one of the sides of the square you will find “La bella Lola”, the statue donated by the Torrevieja town hall, twinned with Oviedo. Next to the Plaza del Fontán there is an open-air market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. In that same square are the bars and restaurants where the people of Oviedo gather to have a drink before eating and to greet the vendors from Fontán, the sculpture located in the middle of the square. The word “fontán” in Asturian means “puddle”. The Plaza del Fontán is located in the space occupied by an old lagoon next to which a market was held in the Middle Ages. The lack of sanitation led to the decision to dry it in the 16th century, but with little success. When “the miracle worked”, a laundry was built. In addition to the Fontán another square you have to visit the Constitution Square that surrounds the town hall building.
- Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel del Lillo and San Julián de los Prados: The Holy Chamber of the cathedral, despite being a pre-Romanesque construction, preserves few traces of that past. The centuries and the restoration-reconstructions have almost completely erased them. But other examples of this style are not lacking in the capital of Asturias. Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo and San Julián de los Prados are the best known but not the only ones.
- Mount Naranco: The pre-Romanesque period is one of the great symbols of Asturias and one main things to see in Oviedo. It is no coincidence that in the Asturias tourism logo, the green meadows of the region are framed by the Santa María del Naranco trifora window. There are six pre-Romanesque period monuments in Asturias have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Of these, five no less are in the capital of the Principality. You will have to climb the Naranco mountain a bit. Make sure you get all the way to the top to see the Christ the Redeemer statue, and enjoy fabulous panoramic view of the Asturian forest.
- Plaza Trascorrales: Trascorrales Square is another essential point of the city. The bright colors of the buildings and the tranquility that is breathed are more than enough reasons to pay a visit. There is also a statue here. One so characteristic that it has given the square a second name: plaza de la burra. In the center of the square is the statue of the milkmaid accompanied by a donkey, recalling that milk, cheese and vegetables were sold in this square
Best Time To Visit Oviedo: The best months for good weather in Oviedo are May, June, July, August, September and October. On average, the warmest months are July, August and September. The coldest months are January and February. The rainiest months are January, February and November.
Weather In Oviedo: Average temperatures in Oviedo oscillate greatly along the year. Considering humidity, temperatures feel cold for about half of the year and otherwise nice with a chance of rain or snow throughout most of the year. Northern Spain is much damper than the rest of the country.
If you’re looking for the warmest time to visit Oviedo, the hottest months are August, July, and then September. The warmest time of year is generally late July where highs are regularly around 75.2°F (24°C) with temperatures rarely dropping below 59°F (15°C) at night.