Asturias has many different facets, each with its own charm. This region is often known as Spain’s Natural Paradise and, as this name would suggest, of the multitude of attractions that it has to offer, there are some that are simply unmissable.
Asturias is a curious, but perfectly balanced, blend of urban and rural. While it is famous for its natural surroundings, it’s also well known for its beautiful cities, towns and villages. That’s why this list of must-sees includes a variety of landmarks, both on the coast and inland.
Make sure you pay a visit to its cities: Oviedo (Uviéu in the Asturian language), Gijón (Xixón) and Avilés. Each has its own character and unique charm as well as a beautiful old town. Oviedo (Uviéu) still retains the hallmarks of its past as the capital of the Kingdom of Asturias, making it the epicentre of pre-romanesque art. Gijón (Xixón) has been unmistakably shaped by its Roman, medieval and maritime past. Avilés sits on the banks of a breathtakingly beautiful estuary. It has one of the best preserved old towns in northern Spain, in addition to a dash of avant-garde style.
You’ll love the region’s fishing villages, each with its own, unique allure. Prepare to be captivated by Tapia, Ḷḷuarca, Puerto de Vega, El Porto (Viavélez), Cudillero, Lluanco (Luanco), Candás, Tazones, Llastres, Ribadesella and Llanes; just some of the gems along the Cantabrian coast. Inland, you’ll find historic, picturesque villages such as Cangas del Narcea, Tinéu, Pola de Allande, Grau (Grado), La Pola Siero, Villaviciosa and Nava.
There is so much more to discover: dozens of picture book villages with traditional granaries known as “hórreos” and “paneras” and panoramic views; more than two hundred beaches and seven biosphere reserves scattered across the Autonomous Community.
Some of these reserves have an iconic status in Spain, such as Picos de Europa, the country’s first national park. The Park is home to Cuadonga (Covadonga), a site of religious and cultural significance, and the birthplace of the ancient Kingdom of Asturias.
If you’re visiting Cuadonga (Covadonga), make sure you also stop off at the picturesque town of Cangues D’Onís (Cangas de Onís), the original capital of the Kingdom of Asturias. It boasts the region’s best food, including exceptional cheeses such as Cabrales and Gamonéu.
On the other side of Asturias, on its westernmost point and located within the Oscos-Eo Biosphere Reserve, are Taramundi and Los Oscos, which has been awarded the status of Best Asturian Village. These places were pioneers in the field of rural tourism and visitors will be enchanted by their traditions and landscapes.
And to round off this comprehensive, appealing list of must-sees, we really should add the Somiedo biosphere reserve and Natural Park; the first of its kind in Asturias. Its landscape of mountains, lakes, cattle pastures and cattle huts make it a hiker’s paradise, while providing a glimpse into the region’s ethnography.
For more information on organising your trip to Asturias, visit https://www.turismoasturias.es/en/