Discovering Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés

It’s a true nature’s paradise, framed by the Picos de Europa mountain range, painted in vibrant blue and green colours. Asturias has more than 200 beaches, lovely villages of brave fishermen, a handful of nature reserves and a priceless heritage recognized by UNESCO.
This is the context in which Oviedo (the region's capital), Avilés and Gijón form a poetic trinity, quite essential in any tourist itinerary through the north of Spain. To go with this perfect set, we suggest the excellence of a cider, a delicious Cabrales cheese and the typical Asturian fabada — a very tasteful dish similar to the Portuguese feijoada. You can taste all these flavours in the quiet rural life or in the bustle of urban beat.

Let’s start this wonderful journey!

Those who love nature will fall in love with the charms of Covadonga. Located near the great mountain range, Covadonga is a natural shrine (beyond a catholic sanctuary) for those who profess the faith of wildlife. And the Lakes of Covadonga obey to that kind of beauty, rich in dreams and legends, in one of the most charming places in Asturias: the heart of the National Park of Picos de Europa, the oldest in Spain.

The daring towering peaks of the mountains, reflected in the calm waters, peep through the colours of each season, offering several breathtaking images and a soothing feeling to those who pass by.

Oviedo ... a history storyteller

In the heart of Asturias, we get in touch with the priceless value of history and art, both witnesses of time slowly passing by. In Oviedo, the ancient capital of the Kingdom, nowadays with a population of 183,000 people, we can find numerous cultural references of northern Spain.

While exploring Oviedo, we realize its epic past. It’s full with that kind of symbolism that still whispers. Fine secrets are told during the journey. You may search for them in several monuments of pre-Romanesque Asturian art, recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage, dating from the first Christian reign in the Iberian Peninsula.

In Oviedo, we can also find a special road, built by king Alfonso II as the first pilgrim trail to Santiago de Compostela.

For those who love time traveling, we suggest a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Asturias and the San Salvador de Oviedo Cathedral, some of the most distinctive and impressive monuments of Asturias.

Walking is a must when Oviedo is under your feet, because there’s always a corner that can truly surprise you. Here you can choose between lovely pedestrian lanes, beautiful gardens and typical neighbourhoods with a medieval personality. You can actually sense the life that once was lived in ancient times.  

Oviedo is a place where you are welcomed with kindness. Every day, the commerce and cultural dynamic offers diverse and intense experiences to remember forever, in your photos, in your heart or in your words — just like the well renowned writer and city’s son Ramón Pérez de Ayala once did.

The Princess of Asturias Awards are delivered annually in a ceremony held at the Teatro Campoamor. People and institutions around the world are distinguished in many areas:  Pedro Almodávar, Umberto Eco, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Leonard Cohen, Nelson Mandela, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, to name just a few.
Stories and cider go along very well

In Asturias, you drink cider! Not even a fine wine or a fresh beer can live up to the tradition that is enjoying this typical drink, while absorbing the power of landscapes or sensing the joyfull dynamics of the Asturian people.

In the Asturian cities you can also find siderarias that brought cider into modern life.  So just relax and have fun with circuit through bars and restaurants, one of the best ways to experience dining and drinking in Northern Spain.

Oh! Maybe you don't know how to serve cider the Asturian style, but we’ll share a secret. The cider is poured in the glass of the bottle, right above your head. You have to do it this way, so that it comes in contact with the air to release impurities and improve the flavour. Cheers!

Avilés, a Woody Allen favourite

Exploring Asturias is discovering also Avilés, the small town of merchants, drawn in medieval times, located 36 km north of Oviedo. They say the local seaport, with its boats, is one of the most beautiful of the region. Its traditions and sailors stories challenge the creativity and inspiration of artists and dreamers.

Gardens, fountains, churches, narrow streets, sassy corners, typical houses with their arcades, create a unique atmosphere capable of keeping secrets of centuries and lovers. Yes, lovers. Ask Woody Allen! A self-confessed fan of Asturias, the well-known film director chose Avilés to shoot the most romantic scene in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). After all, and as he once said, Asturias are the perfect place "to escape the ugly in the world".

In every corner of the city, there's a cheeky invitation to wander in the middle of the extremely well preserved medieval neighbourhoods and through some genuine examples of civil and religious architecture of the time. And there’s also the opportunity to travel to a time much closer to ours. At this enchanted town located by the sea stands the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre. The famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who designed it, once described it as "a square opened to everyone, a place for education, culture and peace”.

Gijón, land of fishermen and one of the most beautiful landscapes of Costa Verde

Also about 30 km north from the capital of Asturias, Gijón could easily be a lovely setting for a movie. Oh, and it has! Gijón inspired the well-known Spanish film director Jose Luis Garci in Volver a Empezar, about a literature professor who returns to Spain and finds again the love of his life. It won 1983’s Oscar for Best Foreign Language.

Gijón also welcomes an International Film Festival, an event with world wide recognition which distinguishes different forms of artistic expression. During the days and nights of the city, the green of the gardens and the blue of Cantabrian Sea are painted among the typical neighbourhoods alleys. With the sea, the daring fishermen villages are something you should visit in this part of the world.

Cimadevilla is an excellent example. Considered the most emblematic district of Gijón, it has been the stage of the city's most important historical event, located at the feet of Santa Catalina hill.  If you climb to the top,  you will find a piece of art named Elogio del Horizonte, signed by the Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida . Apart from that, you will be able to find and enjoy one of the most beautiful landscapes of the Costa Verde.

Gijón is halfway between the East and West of Asturias. Therefore, it’s a perfect starting point for an exciting tour through the East Coast. We suggest a lovely trip through traditional villages such as Lastres or Tazones and other historic cities like Ribadesella and Llanes. And if you're a fan of the remote past, you can't miss another time travel: a visit to Tito Bustillo caves, one of the most important treasures keepers of rock art.

As we all know, time travelling is one of the privileges for those who choose to explore Asturias. Fascinating jumps through the humankind time line, along with natural landscapes that can truly touch our hearts.

No wonder the well-known Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset once wrote about the Asturian people: "A race of men able to intervene in contemporary life, without losing the solidarity spirit with the native field".