San Francisco Park, an oasis in Oviedo
Parque de San Francisco
Oviedo Cathedral Square
Santa María del Naranco Church
Right in the heart of Oviedo we find San Francisco Park. A garden with wide avenues, peaceful paths and beautiful monuments where you can enjoy the scent of plants, the sound of fountains and the pleasant company of peacocks which freely guide visitors during their walks.
This old kitchen garden belonged to the San Francisco Convent and in the 19th century it became a large public garden of 90,000 square metres in the very centre of Oviedo. To explore this park is to discover another world, a paradise of leaves, flowers, branches and trees with a wide variety of flora.
To get the feel of this park, you should take a gentle stroll over its many trails, while contemplating all that surrounds you on the way. This is the only way to discover the magical spots hidden by the thick vegetation, its winding paths and broad avenues, illuminated by lampposts as the sun sets. Amidst banana, oak, elm and chestnut trees, there are numerous monuments, statues and arches, including the Romanesque main facade of the old San Isidro church, an 18th century Neoclassical couch called the Silla del Rey and a piece dedicated to the splendid writer Leopoldo Alas Clarín, who lived in Oviedo.
Stop time with a visit to the rose garden (an explosion of colour in spring), listening to the water running from the Angelín Fountain, or breathing deeply at Covadonga Lake. Visitors will imagine they have travelled back in time to an era of horse-drawn carriages, duels at dawn and people dressed in cloaks and hats.
Peacocks walk freely through the park and accompany visitors during their strolls. Watching their wings spread out, an array of colour and hue, is a spectacular sight. These are not the only animals living in this urban natural space. Ducks and swans rest in the pond, whilst birds fly through the treetops and even an owl, elusive and mysterious, acts as improvised night-watchman.
We suggest a stroll along the Curas or Bombé walks, where you will find the Las Ranas and La Fuentona Fountains, breathe in the peace of the Herradura avenue or enjoy the Álamos walk where the popular Book Fair is celebrated in spring. However, it is in autumn when the San Francisco Park acquires its maximum splendour, rich with incredible colours, beautiful ochre and golden tones filling the air with nostalgia and the scent of moisture.
At the end of the wood Oviedo awaits, capital of Asturias, a beautiful city with an historic pedestrian centre where the cathedral stands out with its impressive Gothic tower. A stroll through its busy, narrow streets, contemplating pre-Romanesque churches, such as Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo, designated World Heritage Sites, and admiring noble buildings like the Town Hall, Camposagrado Palace, Conde de Toreno Palace or the beautiful University is not to be missed. And, of course, we suggest you stop to relish the Asturian cuisine, with specialties such as Cabrales cheese, fabada (sausage and bean casserole) pote asturiano (regional stew with beans, potatoes, greens and meat) or the delicious cider, to mention but a few examples.
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