A Snapshot of Oviedo, Spain

Arriving in Oviedo, Spain, I found myself zipping through clean streets in a tidy cab to the sounds of classical music. I passed boxy, ornate buildings – the kind you’re more likely to see in northern Europe. Exiting the cab, I stepped past jovial patrons, over streets stained with cider and entered my hotel. A terse lady then directed me towards a tiny elevator that felt like something out of a James Bond film.

Oviedo, Spain
One of the many sculptures about town

Oviedo, Spain

My first 15 minutes in Oviedo – which is the capital of the little known Spanish region of Asturias – was so interesting I liked it from the first. It’s a city with unique architectural charm, where well-dressed citizens walk along streets awarded the cleanest in Spain. There’s also plenty of trees, nice parks and rolling green hills that hide churches over a thousand years old. And as I got to spend just over a month in town, I came to know it quite well.

Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo, Spain
Plaza de Escandalera
Oviedo, Spain
The Oviedo Cathedral, built in the 16th century
Oviedo, Spain
The suburb of Naranco – Oviedo, Spain
Oviedo, Spain
View over town from the hills

OV10

A few favourite things

Oviedo has a number of sculptures that make for an intriguing visit. Probably the most famous is the life-sized replica of Woody Allen, who loves the city so much he filmed part of Vicky Cristina Barcelona here and had the statue awarded in his honour. I often saw people getting a photo next to it, which was something I never really understood.

Oviedo, Spain
The famous Woody Allen sculpture was hardly ever alone

However, there’s much more interesting sculptures about town, such as the lady sitting idly on a bench, the curiously shaped tree held up by concrete slabs, the figure surfing a snail, people with small heads and the man with a cane and his dogs. There’s a map you can get from the tourist information office that leads you to each one.

Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo, Spain
Sellers of El Fontán

Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo, Spain

Campo de San Francisco

Oviedo, Spain

Campo de San Francisco is a large green park that’s arguably the centrepiece of Oviedo, and I found myself here often. It’s a great place to rest beneath the apple-green leaves that droop, fall and rustle from the many chestnuts, oaks and English elms that reside here. The park also contains ruins of a Romanesque façade which once belonged to the San Isidoro Church, along with a pleasant lake and fountain which turtles and ducks call home.

Oviedo, Spain
The ruins of San Isidoro Church

The park also hosts regular events such as exhibitions, bands, theatre, children’s festivals and there’s plenty of sporting and playground facilities on offer. Rarely would a day go by without me paying at least a quick visit to the place.

Oviedo, Spain
Quirky contraptions at the park’s San Mateo Festival

Asturian culture

Cider culture in Oviedo was a sight (and smell) that intrigued me immediately. At first I thought the idea of drinking cider sounded awful, but then I investigated and became a keen participant. Waiters pour the cider from great heights to give it fizz and about a third of each pour is sacrificed to the town’s floors and streets. It’s really quite exciting. I’ve written a more detailed post on Asturian cider here if you’re interested.

Oviedo, Spain
Cider pour ‘sin mirar’ (without looking)
Spanish cider
Calle Gascona, Oviedo, allegedly has more cider houses than any street in the world
Oviedo, Spain
Enjoying one of the town’s many festivals

The food in Oviedo, Spain is distinct, delicious and I found it much more to my liking than the food in the south. A good place to introduce your palate to Asturian cuisine is at a local chain restaurant called Tierra Astur. I loved the stews here with beans and seafood. However, El Gato Negro (The Black Cat) was my favourite place in town to eat fresh seafood and drink cider. The local markets are also a superb place to sample local delicacies and watch the world go by.

Oviedo, Spain
Sidreria (cider house) El Gato Negro

Oviedo, Spain

Oviedo, Spain
Dining at Plaza del Fontán

Curiously, the Celts played a big part in the foundation of Oviedo and their influence is felt in all aspects of town life. 

Oviedo, Spain
One of the many Celtic-style parades in Oviedo, Spain

Plaza de Trascorrales

The maze-like network of Oviedo’s old quarter contains some hidden gems. One of these is Plaza de Trascorrales, which used to be a thriving fish market. Now it’s a quaint little place where patrons wine and dine near an appealing sculpture of a donkey. One night I stumbled across the plaza by chance and found it filled with couples waltzing beneath the stars. It was wonderfully surreal and I felt like I’d stepped back in time.

Couples dancing at Plaza de Trascorrales

However, of all the things I did in Oviedo, Spain, exploring the surrounding hills was my favourite. Oh the hills of Oviedo, I miss you so! You can read about that adventure here.

How about you? Have you been to Oviedo or Asturias? What did you like about it the most?

4 thoughts on “A Snapshot of Oviedo, Spain”

  1. Sabina Crawley

    Great post. I’m heading back to Spain later in the year and Oviedo is now definately on the list – thanks!

  2. Chris Sutton

    Hey Andy,

    Some great shots there, we’ve never been to Spain, but your photos make me want to go 😉

    BTW, have you abandoned G+?

    Anyway, good to catch up here.

    Cheers
    Chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      You’d love this part of Spain. It’s hard not to, especially if you’re interested in seeing a different side to the country.

      Yeah, I’ve pretty much abandoned G+ as I found my time was better spent elsewhere.

      Great to hear from you again! I hope the highlands are treating you well!

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