The capital of the Asturias, Oviedo is a small city and one of the most attractive in northern Spain. We take a quick look at some of Oviedo’s highlights.
Asturias is probably not that well-known outside of Spain, but it’s a gem and definitely somewhere to visit if you love cider. The Celtic influence is clear to see, hear and taste. Who thought you’d hear bagpipes played so enthusiastically in Spain?
Located between the Cantabrian Mountains and the Bay of Biscay, Oviedo’s medieval old town and Gothic Cathedral with its 9th-century Holy Chamber are highlights. It is also renowned in Spain for its literature and theatre.
The old quarter
The old quarter of Oviedo is a network of old cobbled streets. They’re lined with buildings of architectural splendour, some of which date back to the 16th century. There are plenty of bars and restaurants dotted around for refreshment, including the traditional ‘chigres’ or sidrerias (cider bars).
The 80-metre-tall Gothic spire of Oviedo Cathedral serves as the beacon of the medieval town, with the spacious plaza in front of it. Admire the choir and chapels under 3 large naves lit by large arched windows.
Museum of Fine Arts
On the southern border of Oviedo Cathedral’s plaza is the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias (Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias). A haven for art-lovers, it spans across three buildings and has works by Dali and Picasso, along with local Asturian artworks and centuries-old works.
Pre-Romanesque stone churches
UNESCO lists Oviedo’s 9th-century pre-Romanesque stone churches as World Heritage Sites. Scattered throughout the city, within the old town and the adjacent foothills, they have some incredible architecture and artwork. One is the San Julián de los Prados, 15 minutes’ walk north from the old town’s centre.
La Foncalada Fountain
Oviedo’s citizens have been drinking from this fountain since medieval times. La Foncalada Fountain is a short stroll north of the Oviedo Cathedral and is another of the city’s UNESCO World Heritage sites. You can make out the true foundations of the city around the fountain. The underground water source flows into a stone-gabled pool.
If you’ve built up a thirst, then head to one of the sidrerias for a refreshing cider. Oviedo is famous as Spain’s cider capital. Head to Calle Gascona, Calle Carpio and Calle Llaviada, each lined with plenty of traditional Asturian sidreria (cider bars).
Doubling as Barcelona
Woody Allen fans may recognise Oviedo from the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Filmed in Barcelona, Oviedo and Aviles, Oviedo doubled as a district of Barcelona. Apparently, Woody Allen considers Oviedo to be his second home.