issues to do in Asturias’ capital

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

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

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

Right here’s tips on how to spend an extended weekend in Oviedo, Spain.

A gaggle play the Gaita Asturiana

Arrival: Friday evening

My ideas for this weekend in Oviedo are based mostly 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 an extended weekend. All ideas ought to work with the various opening hours; nonetheless, it’s all the time greatest to test closing instances (and keep in mind Spain’s afternoon siestas) upfront.

If after test in at your lodge – 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 gorgeous area is dwelling 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, an area egg and almond pasty, make for a candy begin to the day – dive into Spain’s artwork scene.

Morning: See Positive Artwork on the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias

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

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

Works from well-known masters reminiscent of 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, this can doubtless fill your complete 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 Positive 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 bit of 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 biggest market, you’ll see the complete vary of Asturias cheeses and native specialities. It’s a superb place to choose up gadgets to take dwelling, 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 an expensive candy deal with afterwards, head to Rialto and choose up a field of moscovitas, an area biscuit.

Oviedo, the capital of Asturias
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, maintain your eyes peeled as you discover the town.

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

From El Fontán, head to Plaza de la Constitución. Flanked by the spectacular City Corridor, it’s one in every of 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’ll be able to spot the stays of Oviedo’s medieval partitions.

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

From the sq., it’s a straight street to San Francisco Park. This inexperienced lung within the centre of the 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 planet to be practically totally pedestrianised in its core, strolling Oviedo’s streets is an actual pleasure.

Night: Sidrería Tierra Astur, adopted by extra cider!

Even for those who aren’t a fan of cider (sidra regionally), it will be legal to not attempt it in Oviedo. Chigre (cider homes in Asturian) are dotted across the metropolis, starting from the standard to the funkier. One of many latter is Sidrería Tierra, an area chain with a number of spots. I’d counsel the El Vasco department for probably the most surreal expertise.

I didn’t assume Oviedo’s love for cider had any surprises left for me till coming into this bar-cum-restaurant constructed from literal cider. With round 100 employees speeding 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 operating by way of the dim-lit venue, there’s a LOT occurring!

Cheese is a distinguished characteristic on the menu, and there are many different native and hearty dishes. However, let’s be trustworthy, it is a place you come for the sidra and spectacle quite 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 – however it takes some getting use to ready for a brand new pour each time you need a sip

To proceed the social gathering into the early hours, head to Calle Gascona. Often known as the “Cider Boulevard” you received’t miss it – partly as a result of large wood 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 the 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 Web site earlier than visiting them later within the day.

Centered completely on Asturian archaeology, the museum isn’t the largest, 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 instances, the interactive parts add a pleasant contact to submerge you in historical past. The areas targeted on the World Heritage Websites are notably attention-grabbing, particularly as a reference level for those who 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

Considered one of my favorite eating places within the metropolis; I all the time be certain that to take pleasure in a meal at La Corte de Pelayo each time I return. Whereas it’s a giant eating area, it’s well-established and standard, so you could need to guide a desk upfront.

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

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

I discover this dish tootoo heavy as a predominant course, and I like that it’s supplied as a smaller starter model right here. The meat additionally comes on a separate plate so that you can add, so for those who’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, however it certain tastes good. Go for an Asturian wine if you wish to pair the meal with an area drink that isn’t cider. The reds from Cangas are notably 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 accessible sure days | Web site

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

These pre-Romanesque church buildings are nonetheless standing proud, telling an over 1000-year-old story. When you can’t enter with no information, you’ll be able to research 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 previous however barely smaller San Miguel de Lillo. On tip-toes, you’ll be able to peer within the window and see a few of the inner wall decorations within the area that was as soon as King Ramiro I’s chapel. Above, the standard triple-arched home windows are seen, so treasured they now kind one of many modern-day logos of the Asturias area.

Day three: day journeys from Oviedo

When you’ve explored the town, soaked up the sidra, and noticed all of the statues, profit 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 simple day journey if you wish to get to the seashore. Whereas lounging on the sands is nice, there are additionally a number of sights you might absorb throughout your go to.

Admire the town’s Artwork Nouveau structure, enterprise underground to the previous 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 simple coastal day journey

Choice two: the cider and cheese – Cabrales

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

A great day journey from Oviedo is to go and uncover them each within the verdant countryside in case you have a automotive. Whereas it’s attainable to do that by bus (with a change in Villanueva), it may be complicated and prolonged as a day journey.

First, head to the caves of the Cabrales cheese – it’s round 90 minutes every method. This is among the area’s costliest 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 way of the manufacturing technique and be taken contained in the caves for a tasting of this award-winning blue cheese, nonetheless produced by rural farmers till today. Make sure to test instances and guide forward.

On the return, name in at a small cider-producing home – sorry, designated driver. Sidrería El Pareón is an efficient 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 completed.

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

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

Inside the character park, anticipate jagged peaks, unbelievable panoramas, and blissful mountain climbing trails. Dwelling to some specific species – reminiscent of 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 counsel avoiding the winter when showers could be extra widespread, particularly as a lot of Oviedo’s attraction is exterior. That stated, for those who simply need to eat and drink effectively, it’s a superb metropolis break any time of yr.

Summer time in Oviedo can also be rather more nice than within the south of Spain, the place temperatures soar from June to August, and with many locals flocking to the coast, the 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 below are a few my ideas.

Finances(ish) – Duerming Longoria Plaza Resort Oviedo doesn’t have an excessive amount of price range lodging, however this spot is fairly inexpensive for a non-public room in a good location. I stayed right here on my first go to to Oviedo, and the honest costs, clear rooms, and respectable costs make it a dependable choose.

Mid-range – Gran Resort España This lodge far exceeds the value. Nice worth, particularly if you will get one of many prime ground rooms with a bit of balcony – very best for a sunny day. Trendy and effectively embellished rooms with espresso machines, a good lodge breakfast, and a small lounge-bar. I used to be very joyful right here on my most up-to-date go to.

Luxurious – Barceló Oviedo Cervantes I haven’t stayed at this Barceló, however their accommodations have all the time delivered nice service, clear and well-designed rooms, and a chilled ambiance in different cities, so I’m certain it is a nice choose if you’d like a extra premium keep.

Welcome to Oviedo, Spain
Welcome to Oviedo, Spain

Tips on how to get to and round Oviedo, Spain

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

Travelling to Oviedo by practice and public transport

Should you’re coming from elsewhere in Spain, then the practice service is probably going the perfect connection on your weekend in Oviedo. Buses are additionally a good various. 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

Prepare tickets, particularly for long-distance journeys, which it’s best to guide upfront, could be made instantly on the Renfe web site (normally cheaper) or utilizing standard 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 supplies another.

BlaBlaCar, a car-share service (the place you guide a spare seat within the automotive of somebody already making a journey), can also be highly regarded in Spain and value testing for those who battle to discover a direct connection out of your start line.

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 the town. Presently, there are restricted flights from this airport, together with from London, nonetheless the schedules have been rising quickly annually.

Travelling to Oviedo flight free from the UK

If you wish to go to Northern Spain from the UK with out flying, you’ve gotten 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’ll be able to go for a two bus connection through Bilbao (doubtless barely cheaper). You’ll be able to anticipate 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’ll be able to proceed by automotive if driving, choose up a rental automotive, or take an ALSA bus, which can take between two and 4 hours.

If returning the identical method, you may need to take into account 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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