What to see in Asturias: cities and attractions not to be missed

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Dubbed "Green Spain", the Principality of Asturias is a region in the north of Spain famous for its unspoiled nature but also for its artistic heritage and gastronomy. I'm a autonomous community which represents "the Spain you don't expect". Natural parks, turquoise lakes, superb mountains, rugged coasts and long sandy beaches ... In fact, the landscape is more reminiscent of Ireland and Scotland than hot Spain! An oasis of relaxation, peace, silence and nature. One more region little known where the activities you can do are really numerous.

Let's find out together what to see in Asturias: cities and attractions not to be missed!


  1. Oviedo
  2. Gijòn
  3. Avilès
  4. Cudillero
  5. Picos de Europa Park
  6. Holy cave of Covadonga
  7. Beach of Silence
  8. Somiedo Natural Park
  9. Enol lakes
  10. San Lorenzo beach
  11. User questions and comments

1 - Oviedo

La capital of Asturias, as well as the second most populated city in the Principality, it also stands out for being one of the most beautiful and is famous for being named one of the cleanest Spanish cities. City with a long history, Oviedo mixes the charm of the past with modernity made up of clubs, crowded streets and a fun evening life.

In its historic center, almost totally in medieval style, you will find curious and bizarre sculptures at every corner. Also in the center are the most important monuments of the city such as the Cathedral of San Salvador, an imposing Gothic cathedral with a high bell tower among the famous of Spain and the Campoamor Theater, where the famous Prince of Asturias is celebrated. Also not to be missed is the Iglesia de Santa Maria del Naranco, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and the baroque palace of the Count of Toreno.

To immerse yourself in the lively daily atmosphere, you need starting from Plaza del Fontan, in the heart of the historic center. Here it is in fact possible to witness the city life and taste the local delicacies in the restaurants and market stalls.

2 - Gijòn

The most populated city in Asturias and with the most beautiful beaches in northern Spain, is a combination of sea, nature and a very large monumental whole. Surrounded by green landscapes, rugged cliffs and wild beaches, it is a place that has taken on its importance thanks to Catholic Kings.

The historic center is formed by the hill of Santa Catalina and the fishing district of Cimadevilla. Among the various places, in the first place, the Roman baths of Campo Valdes, built by the Romans around 100 AD. The visit is suggestive: thanks to a path on footbridges you can in fact observe the ruins below discovering the ingenious system used to create hot and cold areas. To deepen the culture of the place a lot, the Museu del Pueblu d'Asturies which contains traces of local traditions explaining what life was like in this region in past centuries.

3 - Avilès

Located in the central area of ​​the Asturian coast, west of the Peñas promontory, Avilés is la third most important city of the Principality of Asturias.

Its historic center has been declared Historic-Artistic-Monumental Complex and hosts authentic jewels of civil and religious architecture. Among its attractions are the pedestrian streets of Galiana and Rivero, the Plaza de España with the Town Hall, the ancient th century church of Sabugo and the modern one dedicated to Santo Tomás de Canterbury. Equally worthy are the palaces of Valdecarzana and Camposagrado, and the Palacio Valdés theater.

Avilés is also the most important fishing port of Asturias. In 1980 the new fishing pier and the Virgen de las Mareas fishermen's association were inaugurated where the auction takes place during which almost 70% of the fish products caught are sold.

4 - Cudillero

Small and picturesque fishing village perched on a mountainside, it is one of the most fascinating destinations in Asturias.

Its peculiarity is the brightly colored houses, clinging firmly to the towering cliffs that fall sheer to the harbor. The city, with a long maritime tradition, is one of the best gastronomic destinations of the region: to try, among the many specialties, the dishes based on seafood. It is worth watching the arrival of the boats with the catch of the day to fully immerse yourself in the seafaring atmosphere of this pretty town.

Recommended an excursion to reach numerous lookout points: the lighthouse, La Garita, La Atalaya and El Pico. The two most important buildings in the town are the Gothic-style parish church which houses majestic Baroque statues and the Humilladero chapel, the oldest building in the village.

5 - Park of the Picos de Europa

First Spanish national park established in 1995. Developed in an area divided between Asturias, Cantabria and the Province of León, the Picos de Europa Park is one of the most fascinating territories in Spain.

For the variety of its flora and fauna, in 2002 it was included by Unesco in the List of Biosphere Reserves. Here it is in fact possible to admire the most beautiful Atlantic woods of Spain, thanks to the massive presence of trees such as maples, oaks, chestnuts, walnuts and an equally varied fauna which includes, among the various species, the wolf, the bear, the roe deer, the capercaillie and various other types of birds.

Entering the territory of the picos there are numerous viewpoints from whichadmire magical views. One of the best is that of Punta 'I Pozu, near Ribadesella, known because it belongs to the ancient Path of the Dinosaurs. From this point you can in fact see the footprints of the mammoth animals of Prehistory. There are also various sports activities to practice. A canoe descent along the Sella river, a trek that leads to Pico Pienzu and another path that leads to the Mirador de Entrelagos, located between the lakes of Enol and Ercina.

6 - Holy cave of Covadonga

The Holy Cave of Covadonga is a Catholic sanctuary built in one cave of Mount Auseva in the village of Cangas de Onís.

Numerous, in this area, are the places of worship and tradition. The characteristic Santa Cueva is the site of the alleged apparition, still preserved with one of the last European black madonnas. It is a small church carved into the rock and, at the foot, there is a waterfall. In the pond below, the Fountain of the Seven Dogs which is said to bring good luck to girls. Those who drink the water should in fact get married within the year.

The neighbour Covadonga village it takes its name from the Latin Cova dominica, which means "Grotto of the Madonna". In the village there is the imposing and more modern Basilica de Santa María la Real de Covadonga. Completed in the twentieth century, it is in neo-Romanesque style and is noted for its pink color.

7 - Playa del Silencio

One of the most beautiful beaches in the North of Spain and among the most beautiful in Europe. Located just outside the small village of Castañeras, along the Asturian coast, 15km west of Cudillero. It is a strip of silver sand bathed by the Cantabrian Sea and protected by an impervious cliff in the shape of a half moon. As the name suggests, in Playa del Silencio, the silence is guaranteed, as well as the wild landscape and unspoiled nature.

From the village the beach yes easily reached on foot or by parking at the entrance to the dirt road. From here proceed towards the enclosure until you see the beach. Here starts the long one flight of steps which descends to this silent wonder; a bumpy path along the rock face. A bit tiring but, in the end, the show makes up for the effort.

8 - Parque Natural de Somiedo

Declared natural Park in 1988, it is the first of the areas of the Principality of Asturias to have received this distinction. Somiedo Natural Park extends over five valleys and is one of the most rugged landscapes of Asturias, with slopes ranging from 400 to 2.200 meters.

The territory boasts exceptional geological features, which give rise to spectacular shapes, but the outstanding element in its landscape is the beauty of the lakes, designated "natural monuments". THE traditional cultivation methods of the area are considered an example of sustainable living and were a factor in the designation of the UNESCO park as Biosphere Reserve in 2000. Of particular interest is the ubiquitous braña, or mountain meadows, a traditional livestock farming system based on transhumance. The typical buildings of the brañas are used not only for agricultural purposes but also as a tourist attraction.

The park is also a stronghold ofCantabrian brown bear and in 1989 the European Union designated the park as a special protection area for birds.

9 - Lakes of Enol

The Enol Lakes are i two lakes Enol and Ercina, located in the Asturian part of the Picos de Europa. They are also known as "Covadonga lakes", although Covadonga is actually 10km away. The two lakes have very similar characteristics due to the same glacial origin and of the same geographical position. Both lakes are in fact separated from each other by a distance of less than 40 meters.

Lake Enol is located at an altitude of 1.000 meters, in the central Cornión massif. It has a maximum depth of 25 meters, a maximum length of 750 meters and a width of about 400 meters. It constitutes one of the main attractions in the area, since you can swim and dive there. One is submerged in Lake Enol reproduction of the Virgin of Covadonga which, every September 8, is taken out to be carried in procession. The Ercina lake on the other hand, it is smaller in size, just as its capacity is also smaller.

The road leading to the lakes is one climb well known by the cycling world for its toughness and for having been included in many editions of the Vuelta a España since 1983.

10 - Playa de San Lorenzo

The largest urban beach of Asturias. This shell-shaped beach is the largest, most historic and emblematic of Gijón. It is located within the urban core, very close to the center; the neighborhood of Cimadevilla separates it from the Poniente beach, and it is bordered by a promenade very popular. The latter, almost 3 kilometers long, is known as El Muro and develops from the Church of San Pedro to the Mayán de Tierra.

Due to its "small town" location the Playa de San Lorenzo is well equipped. Sports enthusiasts can go surfing, kayaking or windsurfing here. There are also areas set up for playing beach volleyball and beach soccer.

Travel informed: useful information and necessary documents

  • Inhabitants: 1.022 million
  • Capital: Oviedo
  • Languages: Spanish and Asturian (asturianu)
  • Local currency: euro (€)
  • Weather: cool and humid influenced by the Atlantic ocean. Mild and rainy winters, cool summers and quite sunny. Wind and fog are frequent. Rather abundant rainfall (around 1.000 mm per year) especially from October to May - find out more
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where it is

    The Principality of Asturias is an autonomous community of northern Spain, made up of a single province, of which the heir to the Spanish throne is traditionally "prince". It borders to the west with Galicia, to the east with Cantabria, to the south with Castile and León and to the north it is bathed by the Cantabrian Sea. With an area of ​​approximately 10.000 sq km, Asturias has a great variety and diversity of places: from high and steep mountains to jagged coasts, alternated by long and appreciated oceanic beaches.

    Tours and excursions in Asturias

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