Back Top 10 things to see and do in Oviedo
The 10 most interesting things to see and do in Oviedo
Oviedo is a welcoming and friendly city, rich in history and full of life, where everything is easy, stress-free, and always accompanied by a smile.
Oviedo/Uviéu, the capital of the Principality of Asturias, is a welcoming and friendly city in the broadest sense of the word. It seems to have been designed many centuries ago for a warm and simple way of life. In reality, it appears to have been conceived for the human dimension, where the rhythms of daily life and the details are at the service of people and not the other way around. That's why everything in Oviedo is accessible, within reach, without stress, and always with a smile. That's why, in Oviedo, everything is easy...
Top 10 things to see and do in Oviedo
Mount Naranco and the panoramic Asturian Pre-Romanesque
Oviedo/Uviéu, as a real city it once was, preserves traces of the court and the kingdom it hosted within its walls. These traces have survived to this day and have become a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to their significance in European history and culture. We are talking about Asturian Art, also known as Asturian Pre-Romanesque.
Oviedo/Uviéu could be called the city of Pre-Romanesque, as it has the most monuments from this period in all of Asturias, both in the city center and its surroundings. If we are in the heart of the urban area, magnificent examples include some details of the old Church of San Tirso El Real, the Church of San Julián de los Prados – also known as Santullano – or the Foncalada Fountain, whose moss-covered stones and flowing waters exude antiquity. A very special mention is reserved for the Holy Chamber, created by the great Asturian monarch Alfonso II.
Moreover, in the greenest and most panoramic surroundings of Oviedo/Uviéu, at the base of the renowned Monte Naranco, you will find two incredible gems: Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo. In this area, you will also find the Reception and Interpretation Center of Asturian Pre-Romanesque, located in former schools, which serves to provide travelers with information about the importance and historical context of these monuments.
So on Mount Naranco, amidst impressive aerial views of the city and a large part of the central mountainous area of Asturias, you can experience Pre-Romanesque Art in all its plenitude.
The Plaza del Fontán, a historic market landmark in Vetusta
The Plaza del Fontán has always been a special place for Oviedo/Uviéu, serving as a focal point of the city. Centuries ago, there was a natural lagoon fed by springs and sources - hence the name of this square - located just outside the city, which soon became a recreation area for the nobles of Oviedo. This circumstance led the local farmers to come to this place to sell their products - milk, vegetables, cheese, chickens, etc. - and thus, one of the oldest markets in Asturian memory was born.
Since then, the Fontán has undergone many changes. Its past as a comedy theatre or as a centre for social gatherings has been left behind, but its soul remains unscathed. The Fontán is still one of the liveliest and most frequented places in the city, especially during market hours. As if that were not enough, very close by is the Plaza de Abastos and also the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and the church of San Isidoro.
So, the whole area around El Fontán is a coming and going of people watching, shopping, chatting or looking for a place to have a vermouth, to have lunch, a snack or dinner, to have a glass of cider, or to buy the best local products.
The Fontan, for ever and ever, remains faithful to the spirit that created it...
Ancient Oviedo: A "regal seat" with its five towers
El Antiguo, as the historic old town of Oviedo/Uviéu is popularly known, preserves almost intact its aspect as a "regal seat," a city linked to the Asturian monarchy in its robust origins. For this reason, a stroll through the old city is a direct encounter with history. Among the narrow and winding streets of El Antiguo, many centuries of history unfold before us.
Looking towards the sky as if aspiring to reach it, you'll find the Gothic tower of the Cathedral, which majestically presides over the Plaza de Alfonso II the Chaste, perhaps the most famous in the city and one of the meeting points when strolling through the historic old town.
Oviedo's cathedral is a universal and primordial reference point on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago, so the continuous and incessant presence of pilgrims, like an eternal trickle, is not surprising. Nor is the curiosity aroused by the Holy Chamber - a World Heritage Site - which still conserves the essence of a palatine chapel, as conceived by Alfonso II himself, and which today houses the relics and jewels of the ancient Asturian monarchy, a pioneer of western European Christianity.
One of the most attractive options for getting to know the cathedral is the visit to the gothic tower of the Sancta Ovetensis, which lasts approximately one hour and will be a unique experience. The groups that climb the tower will make two stops before reaching the end of the route. The first will be at the body of the clock's counterweights: visitors will climb 56 steps up the tower's spiral staircase to this point, where they will be able to contemplate Menéndez Pidal's moulds. The second stop will be at the bell tower, presided over by the Wamba, which they will reach after climbing another 67 steps. From there, and after 61 more steps, visitors will reach the great attraction of these ascents: the Renaissance body, which allows a 360-degree view and offers a privileged view of Oviedo, given that at this point, the elevation is 43 and a half metres above the ground. Moreover, in this Renaissance body, it will be possible to take photographs and contemplate, from inside, the spectacular openwork arrow that crowns the tower;
With so many sensations, you will realise that a walk through this "regia sedes" is almost like walking through the clouds, because in very few square metres you will discover five towers, which are the testimony of how the city and Asturias arose and evolved over centuries and centuries. The five towers of this "regia sedes", which can be discovered with a careful look around the old quarter, are Santa María La Real de la Corte, adjacent to the convent of Las Pelayas, which also has its tower; the Romanesque tower of the cathedral, as well as its Gothic tower, and the tower of San Tirso el Real, a church founded by Alfonso II el Casto and which still conserves the oldest alfiz - moulding that supports a pre-Romanesque arch - in western European Christianity .
Five towers in a short circular route give the city a historical, medieval, Renaissance and eighteenth-century air; an eclectic air that is unique in Europe.
While we follow the royal trail, some artistic remains in the form of sculptures show us the literary soul of an Oviedo/Uviéu that has inspired novelists such as Leopoldo Alas "Clarín", Ramón Pérez de Ayala or Armando Palacio Valdés...
The "regia sedes" has not lost any of its essence, and today it continues to be an inescapable muse for many creators...
The Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias: art in content and continent
Proof that Oviedo/Uviedo is a city of art and with art is its Museum of Fine Arts, Recently refurbished and enlarged, it exhibits, in completely new exhibition spaces, a more than interesting collection of art from different historical periods up to the contemporary avant-garde.
The Museum of Fine Arts, located in the heart of the historic quarter, with part of its façade overlooking the Cathedral Square, is art in itself. In its case, one can safely say that the art is not only in its exhibition contents but also in the container.
A mixture of classical and contemporary architecture, in a framework of thoughtful design for important works of Spanish art, in a visit that is deeply enjoyable and surprising.
The Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias currently exhibits 782 works, which constitute a journey through the history of art from the 14th to the 21st century, and where we find works by such renowned geniuses as El Greco - with a specific room for his Apostolate -, Goya, Zurbarán, Murillo, Sorolla, Picasso, Dalí, Barceló and an endless number of artists who have written the most glorious pages of Spanish art.
The Archaeological Museum, or the most complete memory of the history of Asturias and Humanity
The historic Oviedo/Uviéu also houses within its rich heritage the Archaeological Museum. Located in a part of what was the historic convent of San Vicente - a convent closely associated with the figure of Fray Benito Jerónimo Feijoo - the Archaeological Museum offers a comprehensive and engaging journey through the prehistoric and historical memory of the Asturian region and, consequently, the continental evolution.
Recently renovated, it follows the same trend as the Museum of Fine Arts regarding its commendable and innovative architectural intervention, which turns it into a functional exhibition space suitable for its contents, all while maintaining a balanced harmony between the new and old architecture.
The Archaeological Museum is another one of those must-visit places during a stay in the Asturian capital. It is both impressive and unforgettable, with its references to prehistoric caves with rock art and the monuments of the Kingdom of Asturias.
A sweet moment in its cafés and patisseries
Oviedo/Uviéu is a city that is sweet in every sense, including its gastronomy. Its tradition of excellent pastry shops is widely known, with unique creations like "carbayones" or "moscovitas."
While strolling through the center of Oviedo/Uviéu, it's very easy to come across renowned and traditional pastry shops where you can buy a sweet treat to continue your walk or enjoy it right there in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Some of these pastry shops are so old and well-preserved that they provide the perfect backdrop for unforgettable photographs, as is the case with Camilo de Blas and their famous "carbayones," or with Rialto and their "moscovitas."
The Campoamor Theatre, one of the cultural hearts of the city
Since the late 19th century, as the city has grown and urban life has expanded its horizons, the Campoamor Theater was established, spanning three centuries - the 19th, 20th, and 21st. It has been and continues to be the eternal cultural epicenter of the city, hosting a wide range of high-level performances and an opera festival that brings and attracts leading opera figures from the international scene.
Visiting Oviedo/Uviéu and attending its Opera Festival has become a classic event for art enthusiasts, as well as for those looking to experience it for the first time. Similarly, another classic event is the Princess of Asturias Awards, which have been held annually in this theater since their establishment during the restoration of the monarchy in the second half of the 20th century. The theater, for one day, becomes the central stage for an awards ceremony of great global significance.
The Campoamor Theater and its grand square, surrounded by early 20th-century civil architecture, are essential landmarks in the city.
An afternoon of shopping in Uría Street
Uría Street is the quintessential commercial thoroughfare in the city of Oviedo/Uviéu. Designed and built in the late 19th century with the purpose of connecting the city center to the railway station, this street is one of the iconic places in Oviedo, both for its commercial atmosphere and its architecture.
It takes its name from a politician of the time, and over its extensive history, it has witnessed many vicissitudes and social and urban changes. However, like El Fontán, it retains its foundational spirit, which gives the city a truly distinguished commercial stature.
To mention Uría Street in Oviedo/Uviéu is to provide an ideal reference for the most entertaining and diverse shopping experience, where you can find everything from the most exclusive brands to low-cost products, all in strict fashion and up-to-date style.
Uría Street is perfect for a day of shopping!
Campo de San Francisco, a historic green lung designed for relaxation
The history of Campo de San Francisco is quite intriguing and dates back many centuries. What is now one of the most classic and well-known parks in Spain originated from a Franciscan monastery, with this field serving as the convent's garden. Gradually, it transformed into a leisure and relaxation space for the city's residents and solidified its status as such when the layout of Uría Street was finalized, to which its history and evolution are intimately linked.
The Campo or Park of San Francisco is a space with a life of its own, filled with wide streets and avenues, lush trees, and green areas where squirrels find their refuge, and swans and peacocks roam freely around ponds and fountains, providing enjoyment for both children and adults.
Every tree, every statue, every corner, and every scene in the Campo de San Francisco hides an evocative story. From the sweet vendor who delights the little ones to the most recent addition of its symbols, such as Mafalda by Quino, not forgetting illustrious figures from the city and other real or mythological characters.
In conclusion, the Park - which even has its annual celebration known as Martes de Campo - is a historic green lung in the heart of Oviedo/Uviéu, which has been designed for relaxation since time immemorial...
A cider in Gascona Street or a good wine in the Wine Route
And when it comes to socializing, Oviedo/Uviéu is the ideal city. It has everything: lively cafes, traditional taverns ('chigres'), traditional restaurants, designer venues, bar-shops, gourmet stores, cider bars, wine cellars, and more. So much so that if any area epitomizes the cider tradition of the capital and its savoir-faire in this matter, it's the famous Gascona Street, also known as the Cider Boulevard, bustling at all hours of the day and night, frequented by both locals and visitors alike.
Oviedo/Uviéu also has its area, its route, for those looking to enjoy some wine, in the vicinity of Campoamor and Manuel Pedregal streets. Here, you'll find well-themed establishments with careful designs.
Another gourmet area is Avenida de Galicia and the surrounding area.
However, any corner of the city, as well as its neighbourhoods, are pleasant places to indulge in the good gastronomic life, including the Asturian "espicha".
In Oviedo/Uviéu you will never lack a place to drink and eat well, and nice people to socialise with or to serve you.
And one of those occasions to enjoy the city to the fullest is during Holy Week, where you'll encounter not only lively festivities but also interesting cultural and gastronomic activities.
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