Asturias, cultural landscape
Santa María del Naranco (Oviedo)
Pre-Romanesque church of San Julián de Prados - interior
Historic centre of Avilés
This is the Region that conquered the heart of film director Woody Allen and birthplace of Formula 1 champion, Fernando Alonso. You too will be pleasantly surprised when you discover the cultural wealth of Asturias. There is loads to enjoy in this area of northern Spain. Would you like to see it for yourself?
Between the mountains and the sea, Asturias awaits you, a destination whose countryside and varied landscapes will leave you speechless. Nevertheless, this is not the only reason for coming to visit. In this part of Spain you will also find a rich and important array of cultural heritage. Take note - there is much to see.
Grandeur in simplicity
No one doubts it: one of the things not to be missed in Asturias is its Pre-Romanesque art. It is a unique style in the world, stunning for its aesthetic simplicity, innovative in is time. Proof of this is that the buildings constructed under its influence between the 8th and 10th centuries have received the UNESCO World Heritage designation. In the city of Oviedo and the surrounding area you will have the chance to see the most representative monuments, such as the churches of San Julián de Prados, Santa María del Naranco, San Miguel de Lillo and Santa Cristina de Lena. Besides Pre-Romanesque art, also not to be missed are places like the Cathedral, the University and the route through the historic centre.
Cities to be admired
Another vital stop is to be found in inland Asturias: the Covadonga Sanctuary, located within the Picos de Europa National Park. Once on the coast, you will love the beautiful old part of Avilés; also the city of Gijón, where you can discover interesting sites including the Roman baths, its Cimadevilla neighbourhood, the Atlantic Botanical Garden and the Laboral Centre, a Classical-style complex, now converted into a major cultural centre. You should also reserve time to discover the unique charm of some of the local fishing towns and villages such as Luarca, Cudillero and Llanes.
Following in the footsteps of the past
And there is even more. Did you know that the cultural heritage of Asturias reaches back to prehistory? The Region is famous for its many prehistoric caves and paintings. In fact, the Palaeolithic remains discovered in the caves of Tito Bustillo, Peña de Candamo, Llonín, El Pindal and Covaciella all have the World Heritage designation. You can enjoy their artistic wealth first hand by visiting them or looking at reproductions at the Teverga Prehistory Park. Celtic culture was also very important in this area, as you can see from the many “castros” (Iron-age settlements) that remain to this day. The Coaña settlement, located within the Navia History Park, is one of the most outstanding.
If you are travelling with children, they will love the next idea: seeing for themselves the tracks left by dinosaurs in Asturias millions of years ago. You just have to follow the coastal route taking in the palaeontological sites between the towns of Villaviciosa and Ribadesella. The Colunga Jurassic Museum (MUJA) would be the perfect finish to this trip back in time. Not to be forgotten either is the mining tradition of Asturias: there are different tourist itineraries as well as the El Entrego Mining Museum, that will show you what was one of the main activities in the Region for centuries.
Fiestas are another facet of Asturias you won’t want to miss. From the world famous International Canoe Descent of the Sella River, an event that combines sport and fun in equal doses, to popular gastronomic events such as the Natural Cider Festival and the Cabrales Fair, where you can sample typical local produce in a wonderful atmosphere. Why not come and see for yourself?