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issues to do in Asturias’ capital


Cradled within the verdant hills of northern Spain’s Asturias area, Oviedo is a fairly, peaceable and primarily pedestrianised metropolis break. Not solely do the mountain backdrops dazzle, however so do the streets – that is considered Spain’s cleanest metropolis.

If you happen to’re searching for a metropolis in Spain to hurry round and go to numerous sights, this isn’t the one. However, if you would like a laid-back metropolis break with a few museums, a unique tradition to the nation’s south, and glorious food and drinks, you’re on to a winner.

From hearty fabada stews to indulgent cachopo, the regional dishes impress. You may also count on the greater than 40 sorts of cheese and native sidra to function closely throughout your weekend, too – that is the Spanish capital of cider, in any case.

Right here’s the right way to spend a protracted weekend in Oviedo, Spain.

A group play the Gaita Asturiana
A gaggle play the Gaita Asturiana

Arrival: Friday evening

My ideas for this weekend in Oviedo are primarily based on a Friday evening arrival, and both a Sunday departure, or with an additional day for a aspect journey, extending your go to in Oviedo into to a protracted weekend. All ideas ought to work with the numerous opening hours; nevertheless, it’s at all times greatest to test closing occasions (and keep in mind Spain’s afternoon siestas) prematurely.

If after test in at your resort – see my suggestion right here – you’re searching for one thing low-energy to do that first night, then it’s value testing the Campoamor Theatre’s programme. This beautiful house is house to Spain’s second-oldest opera and positively makes for a cultured begin to your weekend in Oviedo.

Day one: issues to do in Oviedo

After grabbing a lazy breakfast – Carbayones, a neighborhood egg and almond pasty, make for a candy begin to the day – dive into Spain’s artwork scene.

Morning: See High quality Artwork on the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias

Free | Closed Monday | Accessibility: tailored entry to components of the museum | Web site

Encompassing three totally different buildings – two of that are heritage – this High quality Arts museum holds an array of some 15,000 items. For a regional museum, it’s mighty spectacular and brags one among Spain’s greatest collections.

Works from well-known masters resembling Goya, Picasso and Dalí are on show, together with regional artists who you will not be acquainted with. If you wish to tour all three buildings, it will seemingly fill your entire morning. The museum closes for lunch at 2 pm.

Get your fill of cheese in Oviedo
Get your fill of cheese in Oviedo

Lunch: El Fontán, Cheese and Moscovitas

A brief stroll from the High quality Arts Museum is Plaza de El Fontán, an ideal place to take pleasure in lunch.

Earlier than sitting all the way down to take pleasure in some native delicacies, it’s effectively value taking a little bit stroll round Mercado El Fontán. The market closes at 3 pm on Saturdays, and it’s shut all day Sunday, so align your timings.

Whereas it’s not the most important market, you’ll see the complete vary of Asturias cheeses and native specialities. It’s a very good place to select up gadgets to take house, such because the beloved native white runner beans. If you wish to take some cheese away, it’s higher to ask for a wedge of the bigger wheels or blocks and have this vacuum packed. They’re normally of higher high quality than the small, particular person wheels.

Subsequent door to the market is El Fontán sq.. Each contained in the courtyard and across the 18th-century constructing, the place bushes and a bright-yellow facade create a postcard-perfect view, you’ll discover locations to take pleasure in a typical lunch. For a dear candy deal with afterwards, head to Rialto and choose up a field of moscovitas, a neighborhood biscuit.

Plaza del Fontán

Afternoon: Self-guided statue-focused strolling tour

Oviedo is a metropolis of statues. There are round 100 exterior figures dotted across the metropolis. From busts and bums to notable figures, the sculptures present one thing of a strolling tour. So, hold your eyes peeled as you discover town.

You’ll additionally wish to hold an ear out for the Gaita asturiana. On the weekends, strolling bands typically play this native bagpipe-style instrument, including a typical soundtrack to town.

From El Fontán, head to Plaza de la Constitución. Flanked by the spectacular City Corridor, it’s one among many fairly squares within the metropolis. If you wish to analysis some day journey concepts, you’ll additionally discover the Asturias vacationer workplace (which closes at 5 pm). From right here, proceed to Plaza del Paraguas, and simply behind, you may spot the stays of Oviedo’s medieval partitions.

Returning to Plaza de la Catedral (the place the High quality Arts museum was), take a peek contained in the Cathedral of San Salvador of Oviedo. Personally, I discover the ornate particulars on the skin the prettiest.

From the sq., it’s a straight street to San Francisco Park. This inexperienced lung within the centre of town is value a stroll, and also you’ll discover one of many metropolis’s most beloved statues right here, Mafalda, an Argentinian cartoon character. Being one of many first metropolis’s on the earth to be almost totally pedestrianised in its core, strolling Oviedo’s streets is an actual pleasure.

Night: Sidrería Tierra Astur, adopted by extra cider!

Even when you aren’t a fan of cider (sidra domestically), it could be felony to not attempt it in Oviedo. Chigre (cider homes in Asturian) are dotted across the metropolis, starting from the everyday to the funkier. One of many latter is Sidrería Tierra, a neighborhood chain with a number of spots. I’d recommend the El Vasco department for essentially the most surreal expertise.

I didn’t assume Oviedo’s love for cider had any surprises left for me till getting into this bar-cum-restaurant constructed from literal cider. With round 100 workers dashing round, cider being poured from a excessive with droplets touchdown on the sawdust-covered ground, and a few 18,000 bottles adorning the place – with much more chilling within the streams working by means of the dim-lit venue, there’s a LOT occurring!

Cheese is a outstanding function on the menu, and there are many different native and hearty dishes. However, let’s be trustworthy, this can be a place you come for the sidra and spectacle moderately than first-class grub.

In these bars, the pure cider is uncarbonated, then expertly poured from excessive by an escanciador. This type of pour helps add air to the beverage because it hits the glass. Solely a small quantity is poured at a time and must be drunk immediately whereas the bubbles are nonetheless forming. It’s enjoyable, conventional and really entertaining – but it surely takes some getting use to ready for a brand new pour each time you desire a sip

To proceed the celebration into the early hours, head to Calle Gascona. Generally known as the “Cider Boulevard” you received’t miss it – partly as a result of large picket keg, but additionally the loud ambiance.

Day two: issues to do in Oviedo

Sunday’s focus is all about stepping again in time. Uncover a few of Oviedo’s oldest UNESCO treasures, and get past town limits and into the inexperienced exterior.

Morning: Go to the Archaeological Museum of Asturias

Free | Closed Monday and Tuesday | Accessibility: on foot solely | Web site

Begin your day on the interactive archaeological museum (it’s closed Sunday afternoons) and study Oviedo’s UNESCO World Heritage Website earlier than visiting them later within the day.

Centered solely on Asturian archaeology, the museum isn’t the most important, however there’s greater than sufficient to see throughout the three flooring. The gathering of archaeological discoveries is effectively introduced, and the setting, inside a former Sixteenth-century monastery, provides a pleasant contact to the shows.

Spanning from pre-history till newer occasions, the interactive parts add a pleasant contact to submerge you in historical past. The areas targeted on the World Heritage Websites are significantly attention-grabbing, particularly as a reference level when you go to the pre-Romanesque church buildings throughout your go to.

Tuck into Cachopo
Tuck into Cachopo at La Corte de Pelayo

Lunch: Typical dishes at La Corte de Pelayo

One in every of my favorite eating places within the metropolis; I at all times be certain to take pleasure in a meal at La Corte de Pelayo each time I return. Whereas it’s an enormous eating house, it’s well-established and widespread, so you might wish to e-book a desk prematurely.

Listed here are a number of dishes you’ll wish to order to get a style of Asturia.

Begin with the Fabada asturiana, a typical stew from the area. This hearty dish relies on the famed native beans, which, as you could have seen on the market, command a premium price ticket. They’re then topped with meat, resembling morcilla and pancetta.

I discover this dish tootoo heavy as a foremost course, and I like that it’s provided as a smaller starter model right here. The meat additionally comes on a separate plate so that you can add, so when you’re vegetarian, I’d assume it’s not exhausting to ask for the dish sin carne.

For the second course, take the cachopo. For this dish, two veal steaks are filled with cheese and ham after which coated in breadcrumbs earlier than frying. Is it wholesome? Probably not, but it surely certain tastes good. Go for an Asturian wine if you wish to pair the meal with a neighborhood drink that isn’t cider. The reds from Cangas are significantly good, and for an fragrant digestive, attempt the native Licor de Hierbas.

Iglesia de Santa María del Naranco
Church of Santa María del Naranco

Afternoon: See the pre-Romanesque monuments

Free | Entry requires a paid tour, solely obtainable sure days | Web site

On town limits – heading in the direction of greener pastures and the slopes of Mount Naranco – well-preserved Catholic temples present an in situ growth on the archaeological museum. It would take round 45 minutes to stroll right here, or you might hop a taxi or use town A-C bus a lot of the manner.

These pre-Romanesque church buildings are nonetheless standing proud, telling an over 1000-year-old story. Whilst you can’t enter with out a information, you may examine the facades and exterior. Heavy restoration work and reconstruction have taken place, and these are simply two of the websites which make up the World Heritage-listed places of what was as soon as the Kingdom of Asturias.

The bigger of the 2, and the primary you’ll arrive at, is Santa María la Actual del Naranco. Spectacular – for the design and distant Cantabrian Mountains background – the constructing was accomplished in 842, initially to function a palace.

A brief stroll past, and also you’ll come to the equally as outdated however barely smaller San Miguel de Lillo. On tip-toes, you may peer within the window and see a few of the inside wall decorations within the house that was as soon as King Ramiro I’s chapel. Above, the everyday triple-arched home windows are seen, so treasured they now type one of many modern-day logos of the Asturias area.

Day three: day journeys from Oviedo

When you’ve explored town, soaked up the sidra, and noticed all of the statues, benefit from your third day by exploring one other a part of Asturias to wrap up your lengthy weekend in Oviedo.

Choice one: the coast – Gijón

Gijón, round 30-minutes from Oviedo, is a straightforward day journey if you wish to get to the seaside. Whereas lounging on the sands is nice, there are additionally a number of sights you might soak up throughout your go to.

Admire town’s Artwork Nouveau structure, enterprise underground to the outdated Roman Baths, and even go to the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura, Spain’s largest constructing with a tough previous.

Discover some ideas of what to do in Gijón right here.

Boats in Gijón Spain
Gijón, a straightforward coastal day journey

Choice two: the cider and cheese – Cabrales

Asturias’s gastronomy is especially famed for 2 issues – cheese and sidra.

A super day journey from Oviedo is to go and uncover them each within the verdant countryside you probably have a automobile. Whereas it’s doable to do that by bus (with a change in Villanueva), it is likely to be advanced and prolonged as a day journey.

First, head to the caves of the Cabrales cheese – it’s round 90 minutes every manner. This is among the area’s most costly and typical blue cheeses, although the robust flavour received’t be for everybody. In Las Arenas, you’ll discover the Cueva del Queso de Cabrales museum. Right here, you’ll stroll by means of the manufacturing methodology and be taken contained in the caves for a tasting of this award-winning blue cheese, nonetheless produced by rural farmers till at the present time. You should definitely test occasions and e-book forward.

On the return, name in at a small cider-producing home – sorry, designated driver. Sidrería El Pareón is an effective cease and solely a slight detour off the AS-114.

Choice three: the countryside – Las Ubiñas

The luxurious and verdant Asturian countryside is a delight to discover, and if you wish to reconnect with nature, it’s simply finished.

My favorite getaway is the Picos de Europa nationwide park. This rugged and distant mountain vary is among the most spectacular in Europe, nevertheless, it could be tough as a day journey. There are a number of guided excursions to the park – resembling Covadonga Lakes – however be ready for a protracted day.

For one thing a little bit nearer, enterprise to Las Ubiñas. Automobile is best, however there are some entry factors by bus from Oviedo, resembling Las Ventas.

Inside the character park, count on jagged peaks, unimaginable panoramas, and blissful climbing trails. Residence to some specific species – resembling brown bears – the habitat is pristine and guarded.

When to go to Oviedo, Spain

Having visited Oviedo in spring, summer season and autumn and had surprisingly respectable climate and good visits every time, I’d say it’s an almost year-round vacation spot. Nevertheless, that is northern Spain, so I recommend avoiding the winter when showers might be extra frequent, particularly as a lot of Oviedo’s attraction is exterior. That stated, when you simply wish to eat and drink effectively, it’s a very good metropolis break any time of 12 months.

Summer season in Oviedo can be far more nice than within the south of Spain, the place temperatures soar from June to August, and with many locals flocking to the coast, town isn’t too overrun or scorching to take pleasure in.

The place to remain in Oviedo, Spain

Having stayed in each mid-range and extra upmarket accomodation over time, listed here are a few my ideas.

Price range(ish) – Duerming Longoria Plaza Resort Oviedo doesn’t have an excessive amount of finances lodging, however this spot is fairly reasonably priced for a personal room in an honest location. I stayed right here on my first go to to Oviedo, and the truthful costs, clear rooms, and respectable costs make it a dependable choose.

Mid-range – Gran Resort España This resort far exceeds the value. Nice worth, particularly if you may get one of many high ground rooms with a little bit balcony – superb for a sunny day. Fashionable and effectively adorned rooms with espresso machines, an honest resort breakfast, and a small lounge-bar. I used to be very pleased right here on my most up-to-date go to.

Luxurious – Barceló Oviedo Cervantes I haven’t stayed at this Barceló, however their lodges have at all times delivered nice service, clear and well-designed rooms, and a chilled ambiance in different cities, so I’m certain this can be a nice choose if you would like a extra premium keep.

Welcome to Oviedo, Spain
Welcome to Oviedo, Spain

Methods to get to and round Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo’s centre is fairly compact and flat, so exploring on foot is the way in which to go. You may also stroll out to the out of metropolis church buildings, though that is fairly the stroll – town’s bus community can cut back that strolling time considerably.

Travelling to Oviedo by practice and public transport

If you happen to’re coming from elsewhere in Spain, then the practice service is probably going one of the best connection on your weekend in Oviedo. Buses are additionally an honest different. From Madrid, the journey by practice takes round 4-5 hours on Renfe’s high-speed rail service, with direct connections, though typically a change in

Practice tickets, particularly for long-distance journeys, which it’s best to e-book prematurely, might be made immediately on the Renfe web site (normally cheaper) or utilizing widespread apps like Omio. ALSA is the main bus firm for intercity journey in Spain, and the journey from Madrid takes across the identical time and gives an alternate.

BlaBlaCar, a car-share service (the place you e-book a spare seat within the automobile of somebody already making a journey), can be very talked-about in Spain and value testing when you wrestle to discover a direct connection out of your place to begin.

Learn extra: A information to travelling in Spain by practice

Travel across Spain by train
Journey throughout Spain by practice

Travelling to Oviedo by aircraft

The closest airport to Oviedo is Asturias Airport, a 40 minute journey by bus from town. Presently, there are restricted flights from this airport, together with from London, nevertheless the schedules have been rising quickly every year.

Travelling to Oviedo flight free from the UK

If you wish to go to Northern Spain from the UK with out flying, you’ve two choices.

The primary is to take the Eurostar to London, and from there, the practice to Bayonne. To cross from France to Spain, you may go for a two bus connection through Bilbao (seemingly barely cheaper). You’ll be able to count on this path to take round 16-hours if timed effectively.

An alternate is to take the ferry from the UK, operated by Brittany Ferries, both departing Portsmouth or Plymouth (although some sailings are solely in summer season), and arriving in Santander or Bilbao. Each journeys contain two nights aboard the ship. From both arrival level, you may proceed by automobile if driving, choose up a rental automobile, or take an ALSA bus, which is able to take between two and 4 hours.

If returning the identical manner, you may wish to contemplate spending an evening in San Sebastian earlier than crusing again, one other enchanting coastal vacation spot with among the best culinary scenes within the county.

The place to journey after Oviedo

After your weekend in Oviedo, it’s straightforward to proceed your journey to Gijon on the Asturian coast, head south to the architecture-studded metropolis of León, or take the practice to one of many many different greatest locations to go to in Spain.

Learn extra: Northern Spain itineraries by practice

This text was written following my #SpainByTrain journey in autumn 2022 in partnership with Spain Tourism and Asturias Tourism.

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