If you are visiting the Asturia region of Spain be sure to hop inland to the capital of Asturia – Oviedo. Located in northwest Spain, you can find Oviedo 17 miles inland from Gijon. Although this town does not have a beach, it has bags of charm and character. This fantastic town has a fantastic feel to it, especially at the weekends when the streets are positively bustling.
Dating back to the 8th century you will marvel at the gorgeous ancient buildings. Most of the sights are in the historical old part of the city, when wandering through the pedestrianised streets be sure to look up at the grand architecture – you won’t regret it.
Due to its location, Oviedo has fairly good weather all year round. We visited in late october and were treated to fabulous sunshine where shorts and t-shirt were the ideal outfit. Oviedo never gets unbearably hot or cold.
The whole region of Asturia is absolutely stunning with so much history and unique traditions. We would recommend visiting as much of the area as possible. If you are choosing between visiting Oviedo or nearby Gijon, we would definitely recommend Oviedo. Although we did enjoy Gijon, it did not have nearly the amount of charm as this city. The joyful atmosphere and stunning sights in our opinion makes Oviedo a better place visit than Gijon. Due to the cities being so close together they are only a short train ride away from each other so if you want to cram both cities into your itinerary it is very possible. If you want to find out the best things to see in Gijon check out our post below.
1 – Plaza del Fontan
There are many different squares in Oviedo but this one was a personal favourite. You can find it right in the heart of the historic center. The square is very recognisable with it distinctive yellow and blue buildings. Enjoy some traditional Asturian cider at one of the cidre houses surrounding the square. Oviedo and the wider area of Asturia are famous for their cloudy apple cider known as ‘sidre’. The Asturian way to pour cider is our from a bottle raised high above your head to your glass way below at knee height – the larger the distance, the more impressive. This method is to create air bubbles in you drink for the best possible taste.
If you get the chace, visit Plaza del Fontan on a weekend. Every weekend the square is home to a market which runs from friday through to sunday. There are a huge number of stalls selling everything you could possibly imagine. You can find fine art, clothing and just about everything else you would find at a carboot sale. Although most of what was on offer wasn’t particularly our taste, being nosy and seeing all the bits and bobs makes for a great day out!
Cathedral of San Salvador
The stunning Cathedral in the heart of the old town is arguably the main attraction in Oviedo. Many people travel from far and wide to walk the Camino de Santiago route (Oviedo – Santiago) which passes through the centre of Oviedo and the Cathedral of San Salvador .This is thought to be the original primitive way, pilgrimage walk, so this cathedral has a lot of significance.
Built in the 14th and 15th century, this gothic style cathedral is seriously impressive. It is even possible to climb up the tallest tower to get fantastic 360 degree of the city.
If you are lucky enough to be in Oviedo on a Saturday, you may be treated to the sound of bagpipes in Cathedral Square. As girls from Scotland, this is a sound of home that we love to hear! Believe it or not but bagpipes are actually quite popular in the Asturia region.
Oviedo is a city like no other, it can be known as the city of statues and sculptures. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled throughout your visit when wandering the streets. New sculptures, old sculptures, realistic sculptures and completely wacky sculptures. There truly is something for everyone here. There are definitely some weird and wonderful sculptures, you never know what you’ll run into next.
For example, bang in the centre of Oviedo you will find amassic pair of buttocks. You could its provocative or even pointless, but it definitely makes you smile.
Another interesting sculpture is Fernando Botero’s ‘Motherhood’ sculpture; it certainly grabs your attention. it is a unique style, fun style playing with different proportions. The columbian artist definitely brings some fun to the city with this fabulous bronze sculpture.
There is even a statue of Woody Allen here for no apparent reason whatsoever.
The most popular sculpture is ‘Estatua de Mafalda’. This is a sweet little sculpture of an Argentine cartoon character, Mafalda, which is really popular in spain. You can find this sculpture in San Francisco park, you may find people crowding around and forming a little queue to take pictures with the iconic spanish character.
San Francisco Park
Nestled in the heart of the historic centre you will find ‘Campo de San Francisco’. This delightful park is very green and peaceful. It is the spot for a picnic under the shade of the trees. There is a myriad of thing to see as your stroll through this beautiful park. You will find little bridges and fountains and much more.
One of our favourite features in the park was the changing date made from grass and stones. Every day the turf is changed to represent the new date. We have no idea when or how this is done but it is pretty impressive. You can find this floral callander at the eastern edge of the park.
Mercado El Fontán
In the historic centre of Oviedo you can find ‘Mercado El Fontán’. This is a traditional covered food market in an incredibly ornate looking building made of glass and iron. The authentic spanish market has lots on offer inside, if you are a foodie, this is the place for you.
like most spanish markets you’ll find lots of meat hung up all around the building at different stalls. There are also fruit and vegetable stalls. Wandering around the market makes you feel like a real spaniard doing their shopping. The fruit in this market is so shiny and fresh looking – absolutely delicious.
For more information on the attractions in this stunning city, or to find out more about the areas rich history, check out the Oviedo tourism website here.
Oviedo, and the Asturia region in general is absolutely gorgeous with lots to see and do. You could simply pass time by strolling around the city soaking in the sights. We recommend spending around one full day here to see all of the sights, or more time if you want to indulge in all the museums or try all the local cuisine. If you are planning a road trip around Spain we would 100% add Oviedo to the list!
We hope this list helped inspire you to visit this city and Northern Spain in general. If you are planning a road trip be sure to check out our guides for other areas in Spain.
Check out the nearby Basque Country in the north of Spain
If you have any questions about Oviedo or Spain travel in General don’t hesitate to ask.