A truly wonderful province in sunny Spain, Asturias is home to the most picturesque corners of the country and offers a unique gourmet experience, in addition to a suite of fascinating scenery, vibrant cities, and diverse historic legacy. As many other parts of Spain, the province exquisitely combines the old and new, yet the former is palpably prevalent; Asturias maintains a genuine spirit of the past. A variety of hotels and paradores on the coast, in the bustling cities, or within the charming countryside are sure to satisfy in terms of quality and service, and to set you up for a dream vacation in Green Spain.
In general, Asturias can be divided into two main regions: the coast and the mountainous hinterland. The largest cities in the region are the coastal city of Gijón and the regional capital Oviedo. Both cities act as good starting points for a tour through the diverse province and also boast the largest variety of hotels in the region. Oviedo is known nationwide for its Gothic cathedral and sacred chamber from the 9th century. Between Unquera in the east and Ribadeo in the west, a coastal main road runs through the entire province, making a road trip an excellent way to discover the coast of Asturias. On the way, pass countless beaches, such as the Play del Silencio, located on a particularly idyllic bay. For lovers of hiking and mountain exploration, a trip to the south is recommended. The National Park Los Picos de Europa is one of the natural highlights of Spain and promises to impress in uniquely-shaped mountains, some up to 2,500 meters high, like the Naranjo de Bulnes, remarkable for its nearly 600-meter-high wall. Asturias’ southern, inland region entices with a well-developed network of hiking trails, which host extensive tours through rugged mountains.
The humid and mild climate of the region is ideal for cow pastures; nowhere in Spain are there more cows. Accordingly, the quality of dairy and beef is understood as first rate the world over. Thanks also to the cows, Asturias is known for its excellent cheese. With more than 30 cheeses and even a special “cheese route, ” cheese heads are sure to get their money’s worth. If you ask a local about the most important fruit in the region, expect to hear about the apples, which are used in pastries and in the preparation of a cider called sidra. This cider has earned its place as one of the most popular drink with locals, and you’ll quickly get used to seeing it on the table with every meal. Due to the proximity to the sea and the many rivers flowing through the region, Asturias is also known for its fish dishes. River trout are considered a delicacy, as well as sea urchins. Various sausages are another regional favorite, best enjoyed in tasty stews prepared with vegetables. Those with a sweet tooth will be in good company in any of the charming pastry shops, in which you’ll find some seriously delicious almond cakes and the local-favorite rice pudding.
Getting there: Visitors to Asturias can as easily travel by land as by air. The region’s only international airport is located in Castrillón. However, you can also fly into Bilbao and connect from there. Alternatively, Asturias is connected to the rest of Spain by way of a network of busses and trains. Combine a trip to Asturias with a connection from, for example, Barcelona or Madrid.
Best time to go: Asturias is particularly warm between July and October. A favored time for visitors of the region, the average temperature usually doesn’t climb above 30°C, thanks to the cool Atlantic breeze, and the water maintains a pleasant 25°C. It generally remains pleasantly mild through the off season, between March and May, and during this time, you’ll be in the company of fewer visitors.