If you go to Asturias for the first time, without having read anything about it or without any other frame of reference, you'll immediately have two very rousing sensations: it's a place with a lot of history and traditions, and a people with a singular and good-natured character.
Cuadonga/Covadonga Basilica (Cangas de Onís).
It was a kingdom more than a thousand years ago...
Parque del Príncipe (Cuadonga/Covadonga).
More than a thousand years ago, amid high limestone peaks, green mountains, lush forests, flowing rivers, lakes, fountains, waterfalls, fruit trees, reeds, immense prairie…a kingdom emerged that had twelve kings, the first being Pelayo, who's memory is especially honoured at the Real Sitio de Covadonga in Cangas de Onís. The last was Alfonso III, nicknamed El Magno, and in between, and for almost one hundred and fifty years, much history -including battles- that would shape the social and geographical evolution of the Iberian Peninsula and in what is now Spain. Asturias was the first Christian kingdom of this European peninsula, and we still have many vestiges of that ancient Kingdom today -among the most noteworthy is Asturian Art or Pre-Romanesque Art, declared a World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO- and also many vestiges of the nobility and the lineage that runs through the bowels of this land, which since the 14th century has also been the principality most closely linked to the Spanish Monarchy from those remote times up until the present.
San Salvador de Priesca (Villaviciosa).
Uniqueness in one destination
Gamonéu cheese cave.
Asturias has never lost its essence, its identity, the wealth of its past, its immense historical and prehistoric legacy -it has five prehistoric caves declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO- and its heritage and tradition coexist in harmony with a dynamic present, in a region where one can enjoy, among many other pleasures, a unique gastronomy, the most easily distinguishable in the Spanish context being fabada, cheeses and cider.If you're open to an immersive experience of culture and traditions, Asturias is a mosaic of sensations, emotions and encounters of all kinds, and in an environment marked by a temperate and lush climate with gentle temperatures all year round.
Jurassic footprints (Playa de la Griega).
Fly like an eagle in a paraglider over vast fortifications and necropoli, swim like an otter descending rivers full of gold, cruise like a salmon through the places that gave birth to the Kingdom of Asturias, surf on beaches with Jurassic footprints or sail on a wind like the one that took Christopher Columbus himself to America... everything is possible in Asturias, even dreams.This ancient kingdom, today a principality full of surprises, stories, legends, mythological beings, and traditions, caresses the minds and imaginations of travellers...
The first Princess of Asturias born in Oviedo and the first Asturian Queen of Spain
Campoamor Theatre (Oviedo/Uviéu).
A reality which is of great importance today, was the marriage of the present King Felipe VI, Prince of Asturias and heir to the Spanish throne to an Asturian from Oviedo/Uviéu, Letizia Ortiz. This love story came to reinforce the deep union between the Crown and this ancient principality, which previously, and in the last decades of the 20th century, further bound its name to that of the Spanish Royal Family, and in a universal way, through those who today are the Crown Princess of Asturias and the born Crown Prince of Asturias. Prestigious trophies bearing the name of Asturias throughout the globe.From Catalina de Lancaster -first princess of Asturias- to Dª Letizia - first princess of Asturias born in Oviedo/Uviéu and the first Asturian queen of Spain- more than six centuries of history have passed, and Asturias remains equally pure, natural, fascinating. While gazing upon its unspoiled landscapes and ancient palaces, its noble ‘casas de indianos', the historical quarters of its villages and cities, time seems to stand still. Walking the Camino de Santiago, you can imagine what it would have been like to be the first monarch to do so, an Asturian king with his court in Oviedo/Uviéu, crowned Alfonso II and nicknamed El Casto.
Fundación Archivo de Indianos (Colombres).
A paradise of traditions
Covadonga and Pelayo, the perfect pair
One of their primordial Asturian essences is in the Real Sitio de Cuadonga/Covadonga, deeply linked to the life and incarnations of Pelayo, the first king of Asturias. A visit to Cuadonga/Covadonga and its surroundings is essential for getting to know the past and present of this land, and for getting the most out of such a privileged natural setting.Cuadonga/Covadonga and Pelayo are the harmonic and balanced duo that makes possible a dream trip in time and space possible.
Prehistory is one of the richest and most documented eras in Asturias. The engravings and paintings dating back thousands of years have remarkable references in Asturias particularly in the east and centre of the region. For this reason, Asturias is one of the Spanish regions with the greatest wealth of rock and prehistoric heritage.
The trails, paths, caleyas, channels and routes in Asturias are full of history and traditions. Roman roads built on paths that already existed, caleyas that lead us to unimagined villages, the Camino de Santiago and the Camino de Reliquias, and mountain trails that have seen dozens of human exploits and sporting feats. The routes of Asturias are history and tradition.
Asturias is a land of mainland "stilt houses", and examples of these are the hórreos -which have four legs called pegoyos -, the paneras -which have six or more-, and the cabazos -hórreos typical of the western zone of Asturias, especially Taramundi-. From among this ethnographic richness, we mustn't forget the cabanas de teito, abundant in the Somiedo brañas (mountain pastures for summer grazing), nor the fact that some of the hórreos, especially in the west, have a vegetable-based thatched roof similar to the cabanas de teito.
These circular stone constructions, great examples of Asturian tradition, are located in wooded areas with abundant vegetation, where their function is to protect honeycomb... from bears and other animals. They are also used to dry conkers containing chestnuts, one of the most tasty and nutritious fruits of the forests of Asturias.
The forest is the ideal space for imagining and giving form to Asturian mythology, of pagan origin, with connection to the Astures, Romans or Visigoths, which over time has taken influences from Christianity, from romanticism and today enriches the ethnographic, literary, cultural or aesthetic universe… La xana, el trasgu, el busgosu, el nuberu, el cuélebre and la güestia fill the imaginations of children and adults as characters of tale, fable, legend…and widely known as the magical memory of a green and leafy land.
Asturias is filled with fire during the festival of San Juan, during which it is also tradition to cover the fountains in towns and villages with floral wreaths. There are bonfires of all kinds and in diverse places in the mountains and on beaches. In the east and coinciding with other festivities, jogueras are typical -huge trees planted in the middle of meadows and topped with a cucaña (a decoration to be retrieved)- ready to be climbed by the most courageous...
Asturias is the land of "ferreiros" and metal-workers, but the place where the best and most intact iron tradition has been preserved is in western Asturias, in Taramundi and Oscos, where the art of cutlery and the ferreiros is still intact today, and where these ancient trades continue to be taught. A true place of traditional trades.
Metals are everywhere in Asturias, underground, in the form of rich geological and cultural wealth, and between heaven and earth. A real paradise of industrial archaeology, with elements such as castilletes (winding towers) that are truly enormous "metal metaphors" for all this cultural wealth, which nowadays have huge tourist value, especially in the mining basins of Nalón and Caudal.
Asturias is a land of great writers and their works have gone down in history, in minds and in places, hence signatures and names like Palacio Valdés, Clarín, Campoamor Pérez de Ayala, to name just a few, who are literary memories with sites and locations that allow us to recreate the creative moments of the genius.
The World of the Enlightened
The Age of Enlightenment left many protagonists in the history of Asturias, such as Jovellanos and Flórez Estrada, among others. A review of the life and works of Jovellanos takes us along mining routes throughout much of Asturias, and in the case of Flórez Estrada, to Somiedo, his birthplace.
From the Sargasso Sea he travels for weeks on his journey home for Christmas to L'Arena, where, like a sailor Father Christmas, he disembarks with gifts for the little ones. El Angulero (the eel fisherman) is a character inspired by the fishing tradition of this people, which is one of the world's eel capitals.