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Making the Most of Visiting Oviedo, Spain – A Customizable Guide

by Last updated Nov 14, 2022 | Published on Oct 20, 2022Asturias, Europe, Spain, Travel

There is a special part of Spain, its mystical and romantic history, that can best be experienced by visiting Oviedo. Standing among its lush green parks, picturesque architecture and ancient ruins, one can feel its tantalizing magic in the air. It is the capital city of Spain’s northern region of Asturias, which is steeped in folklore and known as the birthplace of the Reconquista. This area also has deep Gaelic influence going back centuries, complete with celtic crosses, bagpipes being played and kilts being worn by the local cultural groups.

As important as it is to Spanish history, Oviedo still tends to be a less-frequented destination in Spain, especially among Americans. Visiting Oviedo takes a traveler beyond the typical tourist experience of this popular European country.

I love visiting Oviedo and the historical city is dear to my heart, not only because nearby is where my Spanish family roots originated, but also due to its old-world charm, elegance, and natural beauty. It’s no surprise that I’ve visited numerous times over the past decade and have come to know it quite well. So to enrich your travels in Spain, I’ve created this customizable guide that provides curated recommendations from our first-hand experiences of visiting Oviedo.

Table of Contents for Visiting Oviedo

Click on the items below to scroll to that section in the article.

Where to Stay When Visiting Oviedo

Where to Eat & Drink When Visiting Oviedo

Where to Do & See When Visiting Oviedo

Nearby Day Trips When Visiting Oviedo

Where to Get Local Artisan Products & Gifts When Visiting Oviedo

Modes of Transportation for Visiting Oviedo

Map for Visiting Oviedo

Tips for Visiting Oviedo

visiting Oviedo

Above ImageThe bronze statue of filmmaker Woody Allen, one of many statues throughout Oviedo.

I’ve been in Oviedo during summer months, in the fall, and for Christmas and New Year’s. If you really don’t like cold weather, then summer may be the best time for you to visit and is ideal for escaping the scorching heat in the southern parts of Spain. Just keep in mind that it can get quite humid and is warmer in the city of Oviedo than it is on the coast nearby.

The Fall season is beautiful for the fall colors and a cozy environment. Christmas was fantastic with the spectacular lights and manger scenes (belens) that were throughout the old town. It does get cold with temperatures averaging a low of 41 degrees fahrenheit in the winter.

Keep in mind that any time of year it tends to rain pretty frequently, so pack an umbrella, raincoat, and water resistant or waterproof shoes.

The town is an ideal size, not too big and not too small, and ideally located inland from stunning coastline and near majestic mountains.

Where to Stay When Visiting Oviedo

visiting Oviedo

Above ImageThe front facade of the Hotel la Reconquista.

For a luxuriously, historical hotel stay:

Located in the very center of Oviedo is the elegant Hotel de la Reconquista. A historical building and national monument, it originated in the 18th century when it was a hospital for orphans and the homeless. Today, it is a Eurostars five-star hotel and host of the annual Princess of Asturias Awards, when it provides accommodations for the Spanish royal family and winners of the special event.

Only steps away is the Parque San Francisco, a lush, green park that I share more about further below. The Baroque style architecture of the hotel sits against the backdrop of the town’s Monte Naranco.

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The facade features Baroque style architecture and as soon as you step inside, you feel the warm luxury of the richly colored tapestries and traditional carpentry styles of northern Spain. One of my favorite spaces is the enclosed, main patio (or salon) which features a glass ceiling allowing natural light to shine in on the cozy seating arrangements. The rooms are a comfortable blend of modern amenities and old-world style with quality details. Several suites feature private terraces that look onto the open-air Castilian style courtyard with views of the towering dome of the attached chapel.

If you love staying in hotels that have historical charisma and detail to luxury, this is the place for you when visiting Oviedo.

visiting Oviedo

For a sophisticated apartment stay:

At the heart of Oviedo’s old town are the beautifully renovated units at Apartantiguo. Each unit features modern amenities, sophisticated style, and are located in a secure building with an elevator.

We stayed in one of these units for a full week during a New Years trip and the experience was wonderful. It was clean, cozy, and well equipped. The location is ideal for being in the heart of the old town and close to everything.

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The charming building is located in the quaint Plaza de Riego, which features a bust of my 4th great uncle, General Rafael del Riego. He was a Spanish general and liberal politician during the time of Napoleon and defended the first Constitution of Spain. If you like history, you should look more into his story. 

Just across the street are some of the older buildings of the University of Oviedo and nearby are popular sites that I share more about below, such as the Park San Francisco, the main Cathedral, museum of fine art, and more. 

If you’re a couple and desire a central location with quality, modern style, you’ll enjoy these accommodations when visiting Oviedo.

visiting Oviedo

Above ImageThe ‘casa rural’ Palacete Peñanora.

For a stay in an authentic, “casa rural” (country house):

If you’re seeking more space, and the best of both countryside and town, the Palacete Peñanora is the perfect accommodation for you when visiting Oviedo. It is conveniently located an easy 15-minute drive from the center of Oviedo in the afueras, or outskirts west of town.

Ideal for families and groups, it comfortably sleeps up to 14 people with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, library, and even an outdoor kitchen with a traditional “barbecoa de leña” (wood-fired barbeque).

The home is just what it sounds like, a little palace that is over a century old and exquisitely modernized and maintained. Made in the traditional style of Asturian homes, it features impressive stone work and detailed carpentry throughout the estate.

Contact me to book this property at the best price and with an exclusive discount.

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There is a splendid, window enclosed second floor verandah, which is very traditional of the older Asturian houses. The property sits on a landscaped property with brick paths and local foliage, affording views of the hilly countryside from inside and outside the home.

visiting Oviedo

We stayed for four nights during Christmas weekend of 2021 with eleven family members and friends, and had the most amazing time. Features we especially loved were the wood burning fireplace, artisan tiles, tall french style windows, the gorgeous staircase, spacious rooms and kitchen, large wood dining table and outdoor kitchen. The location is still serviceable for local taxis as well, providing a convenient alternative for getting into Oviedo center without worrying about traffic and parking.

visiting Oviedo

For families and groups who want the tranquility of the countryside and nearness of the town, this property is ideal for visiting Oviedo.

Where to Eat & Drink When Visiting Oviedo

lunch in Oviedo

Above ImageEnjoying one of my favorite drinks in Oviedo, ‘Solera’, at La Paloma.

Gastronomy is a major aspect of visiting Oviedo and the Asturians are known for eating very well. The region in general is especially known for their cheeses and it’s said that it is home to around 42 varieties of cheese.

One of their most renowned cheeses is “Cabrales“, a cave-aged cheese similar to blue cheese and quite strong. With all this cheese, it makes sense that the region is known for raising cattle and this also means very good beef. Thanks to its beautiful coastline, good quality seafood is also easy to enjoy and very popular.

All of the recommendations listed here have been experienced by us, most more than once.

Get Your Drink On When Visiting Oviedo

For a quality cocktail, enjoy the classy bar in the Hotel la Reconquista. They also serve a bar menu of snacks and tapas. It’s a great place to relax in a more quiet and cozy atmosphere.

When visiting Oviedo, you must try the local drink of “Sidra”, which is Spanish cider, on the Gascona Boulevard of Cider (Bulevar de la Sidra). This pedestrian street in the center of Oviedo is lined with nine “sidrerías” (cider houses) that serve up the refreshing, locally made cider and delicious, local food.

visiting Oviedo

Are you a big craft beer fan? Then make sure to stop in at Cervecería Lord Vader. It’s has true pub style and they usually have at least eight craft beers on tap that rotate regularly from artisan brewers throughout Spain and Europe. There is also an impressive collection of bottled artisan beers from around the world. Located just outside the historical center, it’s in a neighborhood close to the newer university campus and the “fútbol” (soccer) stadium. It will also provide a great time experiencing the truly local vibe when visiting Oviedo.

Eat it Up, Yum! When Visiting Oviedo

visiting Oviedo

Above Image – The award winning Cachopo at La Corte de Pelayo.

To enjoy the traditional dishes of Asturias, make sure to have lunch or dinner in the sophisticated restaurant that is one of Oviedo’s most traditional places to eat, La Corte de Pelayo. From either of the restaurant’s two floors, enjoy delightful views of the Parque San Francisco and Campoamor Opera house. The first floor is ideal for a stylishly casual ambiance with a beautiful bar and the second floor has a more fine-dining environment. Try their award-winning Cachopo and traditional, house-made Solera drink.

For a chic, modern twist on local dishes and tapas, stop in at El Mono Que Lee. Located in the Plaza de Riego, it has a great ambiance both inside and outside on the terrace. Everything I’ve eaten there has been delicious, yet I especially recommend the house special, Ensaladilla Rusa del Mono (Russian salad), which features sashimi smoked salmon and white truffle oil. They also have house made vermouth and make their own whiskey.

visiting Oviedo

Above ImageThe delicious Ensaladilla Rusa at El Mono Que Lee.

One of the most local places you can eat and drink at when visiting Oviedo is La Paloma. I remember first going there over ten years ago and even then it was great. Since then, they’ve only become more popular as they updated their brand and continued their specialities that they’re well known for. Make sure to enjoy the Fabada or Pote here, each one is a traditional stew-like Asturian dish. They are usually only served for lunch on certain days of the week so check in on their schedule of the daily “menu del día” (menu of the day). Wash it all down with their homemade Solera, the local barrel-aged vermouth drink that is a great aperitif and digestivo (digestive liquor). Make sure to book a table in advance.

For savoring good tapas and house made vermouth with a splendid view of the Cathedral, enjoy the outdoor seating at Pagos Viejos. Even though it attracts a lot of tourists because of its great location, it consistently maintains a good quality of food and drink. And the outdoor seating can’t be beat. Even the inside is charming and cozy, with a relaxed old world decor.

visiting Oviedo

Above ImageThe amazing spread at Restaurante Asador de Aranda.

For fine dining in an enchanting, romantic setting that feels like going back in time, enjoy dining at the Restaurante Asador de Aranda. They are well known for their specialty meat dishes done in a wood-fired oven, such as “cochinito” (roasted suckling pig) and lamb. The space is in a historical, renovated mansion in the center of town, just around the corner from the street of cider. It features a winsome, covered patio area hidden behind large intricately carved wooden doors. Inside is just as charming with various seating areas against a backdrop of tiled floors, stone walls, dark wooden beams, and brightly colored stained glass windows and ceilings. There is a small bar area delightful for a drink and tapa.

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We had a New Year’s Day lunch here with family and were very impressed. Everything was delicious and we loved the details of the antique style plates and table settings. The manager himself came over to introduce himself and checked on us several times throughout our meal. Even though it is a chain and has restaurants in other major cities of Spain, it has wonderful food, service, and gorgeous ambiance. I would happily eat at their other restaurant locations in the future and look forward to returning to this location when visiting Oviedo again.

Another wonderful place for lunch or dinner is the El Fondín de Trascorrales, located in the Plaza Trascorrales. The outdoor and indoor seating is lovely and their Fabada is very good. My family and I had lunch here just before Christmas and everyone enjoyed their dishes.

Right next door is Restaurante El Raitán which also has wonderful Asturian food and a historically set ambiance inside. The outdoor terrace seating in the plaza is also nice. We had dinner there with my parents when they visited from the US and it was fresh and delicious.

At Aguaducho, enjoy some light tapas and drinks outdoors in the enchanting setting of the San Francisco Park. Relaxing here with a drink is always a must for me when visiting Oviedo. The small cafe consists of only outdoor seating under the canopy of towering trees. It affords lovely views of the park, nestled in between the duck pond and the ancient porticó ruins of the Convento de San Francisco that stood here long ago.

Day of Asturias

Above ImageFreshly made goodies at Confitería Rialto.

For the sweet finish of dessert, or a local breakfast with great coffee, stop in at one of the charming bakeries. Our favorites are the Confitería Rialto and Camilo de Blas, which also has a small deli and local goodies perfect for gifts.

What to Do & See When Visiting Oviedo

visiting Oviedo

Above ImageLocal Asturian folk performers in the University of Oviedo (old town campus).

Park San Francisco

Allow enough time to stroll through the Oviedo’s Parque San Francisco (San Francisco Park) because there is a lot to see in just this small city park. Admire the duck pond, romantic porticó ruins of the Convento de San Francisco, and the beautiful trees from around the world. There are even majestic peacocks strutting about in the park. Make sure to also enjoy the small cafe Aguaducho (mentioned above).

As you tour the grounds, keep your eyes open for the various statues throughout the park and the two large fountains at either end of the Paseo de los Curas where a library and the Kiosco de Música del Bombé (an old-fashioned gazebo for outdoor concerts) are located. This is also a splendid place for a picnic when the weather is nice.

Monte Naranco

To change things up from the center of town and enjoy beautiful views of Oviedo and the surrounding mountain ranges, spend at least half a day exploring the neighboring mountain of Monte Naranco.

You can walk the Pista Finlandesa along the bottom half of the mountain, visit the 9th century churches of Iglesia Santa María de Naranco and Iglesia de San Miguel de Lillo, and stand at the feet of the giant Sacred Heart of Jesus monument on the summit. These sites can also be driven to with a car.

University of Oviedo (Old Town)

See some of Oviedo’s most historical buildings by visiting the University of Oviedo in the old town and pass through its open-air inner courtyard.

Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador of Oviedo

One of the most important historical sites to see when visiting Oviedo is the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Salvador of Oviedo. Here, you can also see the monument of Alfonso II el Casto (7th King of Asturias), the Jardín de los Reyes (Garden of the Kings), and enjoy touring the Church Museum.

Visiting Asturias

Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias

Located in the plaza of the cathedral, is the enriching art experience of the Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias. The interior of the historical building itself is beautiful to see and showcases Spanish, Italian, and Flemish fine art going back as far as the middle ages and extending to the 20th century.

Various Bronze Statues

As you explore Oviedo, you’ll hopefully notice the various bronze statues, further evidence that art is very important to Oviedo. One of the more popular statues is even of the filmmaker Woody Allen, who the town obviously loved. There are at least twenty statues throughout the town. Our favorites are the statue of Woody Allen, La Regenta in the Cathedral Plaza, the Return of Williams B. Arrensberg (also fondly known as the traveler), and Rufo the Dog of Oviedo. To see all the statues, click here.

Other popular, historic sites to see when visiting Oviedo

Nearby Day Trips When Visiting Oviedo

visiting Oviedo

Above ImageThe coastal city of Gijon is only 30 minutes away by car or 35 minutes away by train.

Coastal City of Gijon

For a day trip outside of Oviedo, take the local train to Gijon on the coast, only a 35-minute trip away. In Gijon, you can enjoy the beautiful coastline and charming architecture of the largest city and major port in Asturias.

Sacred Mountain Site of Covadonga

Spend a day or two in the mountains visiting the sacred, national site of Covadonga. It is home to the impressive Basilica de Santa Maria la Real de Covadonga and the Sanctuary of Covadonga, which is a shrine built into a mountain cave with a pond and spring underneath. Then drive up the mountain road, or hike the trails, to the spectacular alpine Lakes of Covadonga at the edge of the majestic Picos de Europa. The lower part of Covadonga is about a 1.5-hour drive from Oviedo.

visiting Covadonga

Where to Get Local Artisan Products & Gifts When Visiting Oviedo

Of course, once you start experiencing Oviedo, you’re going to want to take home some mementos of your trip.

The Camilo de Blas bakery and deli has a great variety of gourmet gastronomy gifts, such as local liquors, cheeses, and even some local craft beers.

For more gastronomy gifts and trinkets and ceramics, visit the shops and sidrerías on the Gascona Bulevar de Sidra (Boulevard of Cider).

For souvenirs, enjoy the shop Alcordances, just across from the top of the Gascona Boulevard.

Modes of Transportation for Visiting Oviedo

visiting Asturias

Above ImageA view traveling by train to Oviedo.

By Car

The highway is in good condition from Madrid to Oviedo, although it is a toll road and can average up to 20€ total from the various tolls. They can be paid with credit card. When coming from Madrid you also pass through the city of Leon. It is about a 4.5-hour drive. The highways and roads from the other cities along the northern regions are also pleasant to drive.

By Plane

Fly into the Asturias Airport with plenty of direct flights from Valencia, Alicante, Madrid and Barcelona airports. These flights usually take around one hour.

  • For a transfer/taxi to and from Oviedo, we highly recommend Asturias Airport Taxi.
  • For taking a bus into Oviedo center, they leave at the top of each hour and take about 45 minutes. Tickets can be booked at Alsa.es

By Train

Take a train from Madrid or other major destinations in Spain. The latest news is that as of May 2023, a new AVE high-speed train will provide routes from Madrid to Oviedo and Gijon, improving the current train travel time from approximately five hours to just under three hours.

For an especially unique experience, journey on the luxury train El Transcantabrico Gran Lujo or Costa Verde, which pass through Oviedo. Get 2.5% off when you have me book it for you.

Map for Visiting Oviedo

Get Trip Planning Help!

Do you want to enjoy Oviedo without the stress of planning? Let me assist you with my specialized services of travel booking and custom trip planning.

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Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego

Written by Amalia Maloney Del Riego

Certified Travel Consultant & Writer

I love living in Denia, Spain and traveling worldwide. My idea of a great time is ‘eating and drinking’ my way around a new place and meeting the people. As a certified Travel Consultant, I specialize in custom travel planning for trips throughout Spain and Europe, as well as scouting trips for moving to the Costa Blanca area of Spain.

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