After a quick stop in Paris, our journey to Spain began! Our first stop was to Oviedo, the capital city of Asturias in Northern Spain. I had actually never heard of Oviedo before, but it was a place that Tyler wanted to visit primarily for its history of cider (sidra) production. More on that later! From Paris, Oviedo is about 1.5 hour flight so it was an easy trip on Vueling.
I didn’t know what to expect in Oviedo. When you think of Spain, places like Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia come to mind. However, Oviedo did not disappoint. The city of just over 200,000, reminded me a lot of Nice, France. A pedestrian friendly, walkable city, with beautiful parks and an incredibly rich architectural history.
We arrived in the evening and checked into our hotel, Room Mate Marcos. It was a great little hotel and we would certainly stay there again. Located in the city centre of Oviedo – the commercial and financial district – it is about a 5 minute walk from the old town and very near to the bus station – perfect, as we were planning a day trip to Nava as well. The hotel is in an older building with unique architecture and right across from a beautiful church. They had a nice hot breakfast too, which is always a bonus.
The first thing we noticed about Oviedo was how clean the entire city was. We soon realized that in the middle of the night, the streets are rinsed off and cleaned. The colourful and ornate buildings throughout Oviedo are residential homes, commercial businesses and shops. So, if you enjoy shopping as I do, there are local and brand name shops (ie. Zara, H&M, etc.) that line the shopping streets for several blocks.
One of the many beautiful buildings Oviedo, Iglesia de San Juan el Real Cathedral.
The Cathedral of San Salvador, located in the centre of Oviedo, was built by order of King Alfonso II of Asturias around 781 AD. Gorgeous with its various architectural styles from Pre-Romanesque to Baroque, including Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance parts.
In downtown Oviedo, you’ll find Campo de San Francisco, a large park filled with statues, sculptures, flowers, paved walkways, enormous trees, and fountains. Tyler, being the horticulture-lover, enjoyed exploring the park. Although it was raining that day, it was relaxing to walk around, take in its natural beauty and beautiful design elements.
Turns out that Oviedo is famous for featuring a lot of curious statues, sculptures and artistic compositions. Each of them has a story, certainly worth knowing. This tour will show you the most famous and beautiful of Oviedo hidden jewels. There are some helpful self guided walking tours you can use to find your way.
On Calle de Pelayo, you’ll come across a statue of Woody Allen . In 2005, the statue was inaugurated after he dedicated compliments to the city of Oviedo, where parts of “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” were filmed here. We each had to grab a pic with him.
Another place we enjoyed was Plaza de Daoíz y Velarde. It’s a beautiful and quiet place in the center of the city. The plaza is flanked by these interesting trees, and is home to a library, palace, fountain and statues.
Duffin Dagels. The Spanish equivalent to Dunkin’ Donuts? The branding is pretty much identical plus they serve coffee and donuts! Not sure how legal this place is in terms of copyright infringement but hey we tried an Oreo donut and it was delicious.
If you’re looking to visit Spain, I would definitely recommend a couple nights in Oviedo. The pace is certainly slower than that of Barcelona. Consider it a relaxing getaway in Northern Spain.