It’s in between the Cantabrian Cordillera and the Biscay’s bay that
Oviedo stands. This medieval city is the capital of Asturias, one of the
most popular regions in the north of Spain. With a unique landscape,
surrounded by Gothic monuments and some of the highest mountains, Oviedo
is a must-visit.
King Alfonso II founded this city as the
Asturias’ capital back in the 9th century. The narrow pedestrian streets
remain to this day, creating a magical atmosphere and the architecture
reflects Oviedo’s ancient heritage.
Beyond its cultural
landmarks, the city is renowned for its refreshing cider. It’s worth
exploring the old town and visiting Campo San Francisco, one of Oviedo’s
largest green spaces. Stroll around this vibrant city and prepare for
some delicious local delicacies and the famous tapas. Plan your visit in
advance with our list of things to do in Oviedo.
Campo San Francisco is a green oasis in Oviedo. The park, built on
an old vegetable plot, belonged to the San Francisco Convent and was
converted into a public space in the 1800s. Today, visitors are welcome
to stroll around its romantic pathways.
From the park, make your way to the Mercado El Fontán. The striking
19th-century façade stands out with its greenish iron structure and
stunning glass windows. Once you step inside, it’s hard not to notice
the colourful food stands. Don’t be surprised by the vendors' bellowing,
it’s all part of the experience. The market is the best place to buy
Asturian specialities, such as cider and cheese. But you can also find
meat, fruit, vegetables, herbs and spices. There’s also a famous flea
market every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Our tour continues with a visit to
Oviedo’s Museum of Fine Arts. It’s divided into two buildings which are
among the city’s finest palaces. The museum was inaugurated in 1980 and
houses one of the best art collections in Spain. You can find anything
from Dalí, Ribera, Miró, Picasso, El Greco and Goya.
The Oviedo Cathedral is the starting point of the Camino Primitivo, one
of the oldest paths of the Camino de Santiago. It was built between the
14th and 16th century, which is when the central tower was added. The
result is a mix of two very different architectural styles, the Gothic
and Baroque. Make sure to visit the UNESCO-protected chapel, which
houses a piece of cloth said to have been placed around Jesus’s head
after his death. Other highlights include two jewel-encrusted crosses.
You can learn more about the city’s history at the Archaeological
Museum. Housed in a 16th-century monastery, the building stands out with
its striking stone façade. The collection includes skeletons,
prehistoric (Roman and Gothic) artefacts, and even rhinoceros teeth.
Some of the artefacts on display come with informative videos—but bear
in mind that most of the explanations are in Spanish only. You can ask
for English booklets at the entrance.
After visiting the church, take a walk back to the city centre, passing
through La Foncalada. This historic fountain was built by King Alfonso
III in the 9th century. Located outside the city walls of Oviedo, the
fountain is so important that it’s considered a UNESCO World Heritage
site. Keep an eye out for the Victory cross sculpture at the front.
You can’t leave Oviedo without sampling its delicious cider (sidra).
It’s at Calle Gascona, also known as “Cider Boulevard” that you’ll find
more than ten sidrerías where you can try this local drink. Waiters
will pour the cider on your glass from (very) high above. This method
allows the drink to oxygenate, giving it a sweeter taste. If you want to
pair your cider with delicious tapas, head down to Tierra Astur
Gascona, where you can try local hams and cheeses.
End the day with a visit to the Teatro Campoamor. This beautiful
19th-century theatre hosts many of Asturias cultural events, including
the awards ceremony of the Prince of Asturias. Located between the
Cathedral and Campo San Francisco, it’s the perfect place to catch an
opera or classic plays.
Ticket prices depend on the seat you
choose, but usually vary between €16 and €25. Make sure to check the
schedules before you go.
Stone Churches: At Monte Naranco, about 3.5km northwest of
Oviedo, you’ll find hidden stone churches that deserve a visit. Iglesia
de Santa María del Naranco, Iglesia San Miguel de Lillo and Iglesia de
Santa María de Bendones are all fine examples of the Asturian
Gijón: Located by the coast,
Gijón is the largest city in Asturias (32km away from Oviedo). It
features modern seafront promenades, lively restaurants and cultural
landmarks. Among the main attractions is the Cerro de Santa Catarina, a
clifftop park with an ancient fort and a sculpture by Spanish Basque
artist Eduardo Chilida.
Covadonga: Covadonga is about 80km away
from Oviedo. From high mountains to broad lakes, the town is surrounded
by immense nature. Its 19th-century basilica is a must-visit, and it’s
hard not to notice it emerging amid the hills.
Costa Verde: This
stunning coastal stretch faces the Cantabrian sea and covers Asturias
and part of the Basque country. Its endless beaches hide a true
paradise. Besides the green mountains surrounding the coast, you can
also pass by some picturesque towns, like Llanes, Ribadesella, Cudillero
Villaviciosa: Located 27km east of Gijón, this
tiny town is famous for its cider, rivalling for the status of Asturias’
cider capital. Here, you can visit the Iglesia de Santa María and
wander around the town’s 18th-century streets.
There are many things to do as a family in Oviedo. Kids will love
playing around the Campo de San Francisco and sit down next to the
Mafalda statue. A bit further out there’s the Parque de Invierno which
offers a playground. You can spend the day touring the old town and take
them to the lively local market for a taste of the local cuisine.
the outskirts of Oviedo, there are other fun attractions including the
Zoo el Bosque or the Senda Verde, a cycling and hiking trail that begins
at Parque de Invierno and continues along the river through wooded
Beyond tapas, Oviedo’s cuisine features delicious cheeses and grilled
meats. Of course, you can’t leave the city without drinking a proper
cider. At Calle Gascona, also known as “The Cider Boulevard”, you’ll
find more than a dozen sidrerías (cider houses) to choose from. Some of
the most popular Asturian dishes include fabada (bean stew), cachopo
(fried beef with cheese and ham), bollos preñaos (small chorizo bread)
and Cabrales cheese. For dessert, order the frixuelos (sweet crepes).
Below are some of the best places to eat in Oviedo where you can sample
some of these dishes and more:
La Finca Sidrería Agrobar: La
Finca is so much more than a bar. Here you can try cider, tapas and
classic Asturian cuisine all in one go. The products are 100% Asturian,
and there are options for vegetarians, plus others without gluten or
lactose. The aubergine with pesto and cheese and the Asturian sausage
board are to die for.
Tierra Astur: Another sidrería where
you can grab a bite to eat, Tierra Astur has many branches across
Asturias. Sit on one of the wooden benches and admire the hanging glass
bottles on the ceiling while you wait for the menu. When the waiter
comes ask for the house specialities: fabada, tortillas and grilled
El Fondín de Trascorrales: Located at Plaza Trascorrales,
this restaurant prepares all its dishes with fresh seasonal products.
The menu varies, but you can always count on meat and fish dishes, such
as the sautéed rock octopus with clams and prawns. Other delicacies
include grilled cheeses and also vegetarian options.
Fermín: This is not your typical Spanish restaurant. If you’re looking
for a whole new gastronomic experience, Casa Fermín is the place to go.
Here you can expect molecular gastronomy and plates with artistic
presentations. The most popular dishes include mussels with green garlic
and apple foam, wild mushrooms with pumpkin and oysters with passion
Eurostars Hotel de La Reconquista
(5 stars): A historic building turned into a luxury hotel. Expect
nothing but the most opulent decoration, big rooms and chandeliers
hanging from the ceiling. Guests can work out at the hotel’s gym and
enjoy the buffet breakfast. There is also a gourmet restaurant and a bar
serving free sidra to customers.
Barceló Oviedo Cervantes
(5 stars): Barceló is located in the heart of Oviedo near the Cathedral.
It’s impossible not to notice this five-star hotel and its historic
burgundy façade. Inside, the rooms are spacious with oversized beds and a
modern decor. There’s also a restaurant and a bar on-site.
Hotel & Spa Princesa Munia (4 stars): If you’re looking for a hotel
with a spa in the centre of Oviedo, this is your best bet. The rooms are
very spacious and decorated in natural tones. Guests can enjoy a
hydromassage pool and rain showers at the spa. There are also rooms for
massages and other treatments.
The best time to visit Oviedo is when there’s little to no rainfall. The
perfect time would be between May and September when the weather is
warm enough to wander around the city. Oviedo is not as warm as other
cities in Spain, and the highest average temperature in August is around
22ºC. If you visit during the Fiestas de San Mateo in September, you’ll
be able to enjoy a lively atmosphere with concerts and theatre shows.
Feria de la Ascensión de Oviedo: This local festival celebrates
the Ascensión, which happens 40 days after Easter Sunday, in May or
June. It includes plenty of activities such as street markets, crafts,
folklore, music and dance.
Fiestas de San Mateo: San Mateo is one of the most important
festivals in Oviedo, marking the end of summer. It happens every
September, and it’s been like that since the 15th century when Pope
Eugene IV inaugurated the event. You can count on open-air bars, free
concerts, barbecues and fireworks.