Oviedo city is the capital of the Principality of Asturias. It is a very elegant and enchanting city that invites you to wander through the medieval streets, enjoy amazing gastronomy, have a coffee in the charming cake shops and cafes, go shopping in their exquisite shops & boutiques, enjoy the art galleries and museums or have a drink in the busy bars and night clubs.
When describing Oviedo the words “Charming” and “Historic” always come to mind. You feel the sense of history in every step as you experience the impressive Old District and stroll among the Palaces, Churches, Convents and ancient buildings. It is recommended that visitors should see the 13th century Cathedral of San Saviour which is mainly gothic in design but it has also signs of Pre-Romanesque architecture. The Holy Chamber in the Cathedral is home to many religious relics such as the Cross of the Angels, an important symbol for the people of Oviedo. The Cross of Victory, which is the symbol used on the official flag of Asturias. Is also where the Sudarium of Oviedo can be found which is said to be the cloth that was wrapped around the head of Jesus Christ after his death.
In Oviedo you can find also very fine examples of Pre-Romanic art and architecture such as The Church of San Julian de los Prados, The Church of Santa Maria del Naranco or the church San Miguel de Lillo which have all been declared sites of World Heritage.
Oviedo is a very cultural city boasting streets full of beautiful fountains and sculptures and has plenty of Museums and Art Galleries to visit from archaeology to modern art.
The city has a tradition of distinguishing itself by hosting many cultural events including the yearly culture agenda packed with seasons of opera, classical music, ballet, theatre and exhibitions. These events are held in the different theatres and venues throughout the capital such as The Philharmonic Theatre, The Principe Felipe Auditorium or the Campoamor Theatre.
The Campoamor Theatre hosts the prestigious and globally recognised “Princess of Asturias Awards” ceremony every year. Prizes are awarded by the Princess of Asturias Foundation to individuals or organisations from around the world that contribute to notable achievements in the fields of sciences, humanities, and public affairs.
The cinema director Woody Allen, who was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award in 2002, said of the city «Oviedo is a delicious, exotic, beautiful, clean, pleasant, peaceful, pedestrianised city. It’s out of this world, like it’s too good to be true…Oviedo is like something out of a fairy tale«. He visited the city several times and choose it as one of the sets of «Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona». The city has devoted an statue to the filmmaker that you can visit at Milicias Nacionales street.
Oviedo is also home to many old and modern universities which offer a wide variety of different studies and programs in both Degrees and Masters.
The parks and public spaces of Oviedo tend to be of excellent quality and very well maintained offering visitors shade on a hot day and act as good meeting points. The main parks in the city are The Park of San Francisco, The Campillin and the Winter Park. There are also many different routes that stem from the city like the Oviedo green-belt or the Finnish Trail. Some of them are a little more difficult such as the San Melchor Trail or the Fuso de la Reina-L’Angliru Trail which ends at the highest point in Asturias. You can also take a car or bus and explore the surrounding towns of the County such as Las Caldas or Naranco.
Las Caldas is a very elegant small town near Oviedo that preserves the charm of the XVIII and XIX century when it was the playground of the nobility and bourgeoisie mainly because of the extraordinary beauty of their balneary resort called Royal Balneary of Las Caldas, built in 1776 ,with enormous richness of natural therapeutic factors. This spa was rehabilitated and revamped into a luxury hotel called Las Caldas Villa Termal keeping the spa, the spirit, and the magnificent building with a modern twist. Las Caldas also have one of the most popular public golf courses of Asturias.
In the council you can also find representations of industrial architecture in the area of Trubia with plenty of examples of the metallurgy and military heritage of Asturias.
Oviedo is also the beginning of one of the most important stages of the Camino of St. James (Route of Santiago). This part of the route is called “The Primitive Way” that starts from Oviedo and leads you towards Santiago de Compostela in Galicia. Oviedo is an essential stopping point for pilgrims who wish to visit the Cathedral of San Salvador (The Saviour) before leaving for Santiago……. as it is said in an old French song that “Those who visit Santiago before The Saviour, visit the servant but leave the Lord”
Oviedo is renowned in Spain for been a fantastic city to go shopping. The people of Oviedo take great pride in their public appearance and the high street is awash with the latest fashions and classic cuts. The city has several commercial centers dedicated to offering a wide range of fashion and style. At the centre of the city you can find several large streets with all the most important international and national brands while the little side streets are full of small and exclusive fashion boutiques.
Deciding where to eat in Oviedo is never too difficult as the gastronomy of the city is an excellent example of the finest Asturian traditional and modern cuisine. Oviedo is full of classic and modern restaurants, tapas bar, gastro bars, cake & coffee shops, and for those who love to go out and have fun, the city offers an amazing night life.
Oviedo is famous for its fine handmade biscuits and chocolates and it is a sin not to sample The Carbayones, The Moscovitas and stunning array of different types of chocolates.
The traditional parties of Oviedo are The Ascension fair, The Disarmament, Tuesday Field Festival.
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Images supplied by Tomás Fano