Looking for your next feel like a local travel experience? Look no further than Asturias in Northern Spain! There are many well known throughout the world and even more unknown places, it’s up to you to explore these places and find out what’s so special about them. In this post I will be telling you about the special things to see, try and do in Asturias.
This is one of the few places in Europe that did not come under Muslim rule and maintained it’s own kingdom during the Middle Ages. There is a simple reason for this … it’s not easy to get to, right next to the water and with mountains that make you think you’re in Switzerland. In modern day Asturias you will find plenty of historical and religious sites all over the place just waiting for you to explore.
Where to go?
I’m a very big advocate of hiring a car to truly explore a new place, not only will you have more interaction with the locals you also have more freedom to change your schedule and follow up on the insider tips from the locals. Asturias seems like the perfect place for this, once you pick up the car you are free to make your way through the mountains or to check out the fishing villages and everything in between.
Check out the villages.
Every country near the water will have a fishing village and Asturias is no exception. Make your way to these villages to see the spectacular colours of the homes, boats and everything you’d expect from small Spanish fishing villages.
Described as a city taken from a fairytale by Woody Allen, the capital of Asturias holds plenty of history such as museums, buildings and it’s streets in general. While visiting you can’t miss the Gothic Cathedral which was build in the 15th century and the Monte Naranco which lays just outside the city with spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and possibly the Cantabrian Sea as well as the coast of Gijón. Located throughout the city and nearby are numerous UNESCO sites.
Make sure you take a leisurely stroll through the old quarter of Oviedo, located between the Cathedral and the Holy Chamber to the Museum of Fine Arts, Archeological Museum of Asturias and the Fontán market. Afterwards, make your way over to the San Francisco Park to wander through the Asturian greenery. Make sure you stop for plenty of snacks on the way as you’re sure to work up a hunger for the Asturian delicacies.
You will be able to find everything I’ve mentioned in this post in Avilés, start your journey at the Plaza España then make your way towards Calle Galiana to walk in the original stone streets, explore nature in Ferrera Park, stop for dinner in Carbeyedo and end your night around Sabugo where you will find an abundance of cider bars.
One of the more modern cities in the region yet still holds it’s historical value and maintains a large active port. Taking it’s place along the coast line there is a great aquarium to check out when the rains come, otherwise you should spend your time exploring Cimavilla, the sculpture of The Mother of the Emigrant which was renamed The Crazy Lady of Rinconín and the Atlantic Botanic Gardens before heading to the town centre around the City Hall Square. Time your visit well and you may end up catching the International Film Festival which is held in the last two weeks of November.
What to do?
Drink cider! Asturias cider has quite the reputation and, honestly, I can see why. Cider bars are all over the region and they even have a special way to pour the delicious beverage, one you’ll have to see to believe. Try to learn their way of pouring the cider to impress your friends at home or as a cool party trip … try not to make a mess though.
Eat seafood. Where can you find the freshest seafood? Anywhere near the water, as a general rule, the closer the better. As an Australian who grew up in Sydney, I’ve had fresh seafood most of my life and when I started travelling I really came to appreciate fresh seafood even more. Asturian seafood is something I would recommend to everyone.
St James’s Way. Follow this trail through time, choose one (or more) of the five different route and if you’re someone who can’t live without a proper bed to sleep in then no worries because there are hostels along the way. The main routes along the coast, from Irún along the Cantabrian Sea, and the Primitive Route, as taken by Alfonso II according to the legend takes you through the southwestern parts of the region to Galicia.
Along the coastal route you will pass plenty of amazing places such as the Santa del Conceyu Church, San Salvador Monastery, the Temples of San Salvador de Priesca and San Juan de Amandi all located in the picturesque village of Villaviciosa. The further along the trail you go the more you will see, more elegant churches, town squares and quaint little villages are waiting for you to stumble through, or struggle after such a long walk.
When to go?
The best time to visit Europe is in autumn to avoid crowds, as it’s likely to have the summer weather and less crowds due to the possibility of higher rainfall. The best thing about travelling in the off season (i.e. not school holidays) is that you will find less crowds and prices in touristy places to be a little cheaper. Make sure to catch the Gijón’s Fiesta de la Sidra Natural, the Natural Cider Festival, in late August if you’re a cider person.
Getting to Asturias
Fly — Asturias airport, Aeropuerto de Asturias, serves domestic and international flights from many different airlines catering to the majority of Europe.
Train — Catching the train to Asturias? You should check out RENFE which has rail links throughout Spain and to other European cities.
Bus — For every budget traveller in Europe, check out Flixbus and Eurolines. Asturias boasts a large coach network to help travellers get around with well equipped bus stations in the cities.
Have you ever been to Asturias? Are you planning to go? Tell me about your experiences and what you plan to do while visiting in the comment section below.