Things to do and where to go in Oviedo, Spain
Oviedo is located between the Cantabrian Cordillera and the Bay of Biscay. This medieval city is the capital of Asturias, one of the most popular regions in northern Spain. Oviedo, thanks to its unique landscape, is a must-see because the city is surrounded by both Gothic monuments and some of the highest mountains in the world.
King Alfonso II founded the city as the capital of Asturias back in the 9th century. The narrow pedestrian streets of the city, still preserved today, create a magical atmosphere, and the architecture reflects the ancient heritage of Oviedo.
In addition to its cultural attractions, the city is famous for its refreshing cider. A tour of the old town and then a visit to Campo San Francisco, one of Oviedo’s largest green spaces, is a must. Stroll around this lively part of the city and get ready for some of the tastiest local delicacies and famous tapas bars. Plan your trip in advance with our list of things to do and see in Oviedo.
A day in Oviedo
Morning: Campo San Francisco
Campo San Francisco is a green oasis in Oviedo. The park, built on an old vegetable plot, belonged to the convent of San Francisco and was not turned into a public place until the 1800s. Today, visitors can stroll along its romantic paths.
There is a large pond, fountains, and old ruins that include a 13th-century arch left over from the San Isidro Church, which survived demolition in the 1920s.
Many famous statues can also be found here, such as Mafalda, the star of a famous Argentine comic satire.
El Fountain Market
From the park, make your way to the Mercado El Fontán. The striking 19th century facade stands out for its greenish iron structure and stunning glass windows. Once inside, it’s hard not to notice the colorful food stalls. Don’t be surprised by the shouting of the vendors, they work that way, it’s normal. The market is the best place to buy Asturian delicacies like cider and cheese. Meats, fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices can also be found here. In addition, every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings you can stroll through the famous flea market here.
Museum of Fine Arts
Our tour of Oviedo continues with a visit to Oviedo’s Museum of Fine Arts. It is divided into two parts, each of which is considered one of the best palaces of the city. The museum was opened in 1980 and contains one of the best collections of art in Spain. You can find works by all the great masters from Dali, Ribera, Miró to Picasso, El Greco and Goya.
Oviedo Cathedral is the starting point of the Camino Primitivo, one of the oldest routes of the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage route to the supposed tomb of the Apostle James in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. The cathedral was built sometime between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, at which time the central tower was added. The result was a mix of two very different architectural styles, Gothic and Baroque. Be sure to visit the UNESCO-protected chapel, which houses a piece of cloth that is said to have been placed on Jesus’ head after his death. Other attractions include two jewel-encrusted crosses.
Afternoon: Archaeological Museum
You can learn more about the history of the city at the Archaeological Museum. It is located in a 16th century monastery building and stands out for its striking stone facade. The collection includes skeletons, prehistoric (Roman and Gothic) artifacts and even rhinoceros teeth. Some of the exhibits come with informative videos, but keep in mind that most are in Spanish only. But you can ask for booklets in English at the entrance as well.
Church of San Julián de los Prados
This church (Iglesia de San Julián de los Prados), also known as Santullano, was built in the pre-Romanesque style during the reign of Alfonso II (7991-842 AD). The interior is very spacious and decorated in a minimalist style with geometric and floral frescoes.
After visiting the church, walk back to the city center by walking through La Foncalada. This historic fountain was built by King Alfonso III in the 9th century. Located outside the city walls of Oviedo, the fountain is so important that it is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Note the sculpture of the Victory Cross on the front.
You can’t leave Oviedo without tasting its delicious cider (sidra). On Calle Gascona, also known as the Cider Boulevard, you’ll find more than a dozen sidrerías where you can sample this local drink. Waiters usually only pour cider into your glass from a (very) great height. This method allows the drink to be oxygenated, which gives it a sweeter taste. If you want to try cider along with tasty appetizers, then head to Tierra Astur Gascona, where you can sample local hams and cheeses.
End the day with a visit to the Teatro Campoamor. This beautiful 19th-century theater hosts many Asturian cultural events, including the Prince of Asturias award ceremony. Located between the Cathedral and Campo San Francisco Square, it is an ideal place to watch opera or classical plays.
Ticket prices depend on the seat chosen, but usually range from 16 to 25 euros. Be sure to check the schedule before visiting the theater.
Day Trips, or Where to Go for a Day from Oviedo
- Stone Churches: In Monte Naranco, about 3.5 km northwest of Oviedo, you will find hidden stone churches that are worth visiting. The Iglesia de Santa María del Naranco, the Iglesia San Miguel de Lillo and the Iglesia de Santa María de Bendones are beautiful examples of Asturian Dromanian architecture.
- Gijón: Located on the coast itself, Gijón is the largest city in Asturias (32 km from Oviedo). It has modern promenades, lively restaurants and cultural attractions. Among the major must-see sights is the Cerro de Santa Catarina, a cliff-top park with an ancient fort and sculpture by Spanish Basque artist Eduardo Chillida.
- Covadonga: Covadonga is about 80 km from Oviedo. From high mountains to wide lakes the city is surrounded by nature. Be sure to visit its 19th century basilica, which is hard to miss among the hills.
- Costa Verde: This stunning stretch of coast overlooks the Cantabrian Sea and covers Asturias and part of the Basque Country. Its endless beaches hide a true paradise. In addition to the green mountains surrounding the coast, you can drive past picturesque towns like Llanes, Ribadesella, Cudillero and Llastres.
- Villaviciosa: Located 27 km east of Gijon, this tiny town is famous for its cider, competing for the status of the cider capital of Asturias. Here you can visit the Iglesia de Santa María (Church of Santa Maria) and wander through the city’s eighteenth-century streets.
Best things to do for kids in Oviedo
There are so many things to do in Oviedo for the whole family. Children will definitely not get bored in the Campo de San Francisco area, and the idea of sitting next to the Mafalda statue will please your children so much that there’s no way you can get past it. A little further away is Parque de Invierno, which has a playground. You can spend the day wandering around the old town and then take the kids to the lively market to sample the local cuisine.
There are other places of interest on the outskirts of Oviedo, including both the Zoo el Bosque and Senda Verde, a biking and hiking trail that begins in the Invierno Park and continues along the river along forest paths.
Where to eat in Oviedo
In addition to tapas bars, Oviedo’s cuisine offers delicious cheeses and grilled meats. And definitely don’t even try to leave the city without drinking the local cider. On Calle Gascona, also known as “Cider Boulevard,” you can discover more than a dozen cidereries (cider houses) to choose from. Among the most popular Asturian dishes are fabada, cachopo, bollos preñaos (small bread with chorizo) and cabrales cheese. For dessert order frixuelos (sweet pancakes/frixuelos). Below are the best places in Oviedo where you can try some of these and other dishes:
- La Finca Sidrería Agrobar: La Finca is much more than just a bar. Here you can taste cider, tapas and classic Asturian dishes. The food is 100% Asturian, with options for vegetarians as well as gluten-free and lactose-free. And the eggplant pesto and cheese and Asturian sausage are something to die for.
- Tierra Astur: Another cidereria where you can grab a bite to eat. Tierra Astur has many branches throughout Asturias. Take a seat on one of the wooden benches and admire the glass bottles hanging from the ceiling while you wait for the menu. When the waiter arrives, ask for the specialties: fabada, tortillas, and grilled meat.
- El Fondín de Trascorrales: This restaurant, located in Plaza Trascorrales, prepares all of its dishes with only fresh, seasonal produce. The menu varies, but most are meat and fish dishes, such as sautéed stone octopus with clams and shrimp. Other delicacies include grilled cheeses and vegetarian options.
- Casa Fermín: This is not your typical Spanish restaurant. If you are looking for a completely new gastronomic experience, Casa Fermín is the place for you. Molecular gastronomy and artistically served dishes await you here. The most popular dishes include mussels with green garlic and apple foam, wild mushrooms with pumpkin and oysters with passion fruit.
Where to stay in Oviedo
A historic building has been transformed into a chic hotel. Only the most luxurious decor awaits you, large rooms and chandeliers hanging beautifully from the ceiling. Guests can work out in the on-site gym and enjoy a buffet-style breakfast. The hotel also has a gourmet restaurant and a bar that serves free cider to customers.
The Barceló is located in the heart of Oviedo next to the Cathedral. It’s impossible not to notice this five-star hotel and its historic burgundy facade. Inside, the rooms are spacious with large beds and modern decor. There is also a restaurant and bar on site.
If you are looking for a hotel with a spa in the center of Oviedo, this is the best choice. The rooms are very spacious and decorated in natural colors. In the Spa, guests can enjoy the whirlpool and the tropical shower. There are also rooms for massages and other treatments.
When is the best time to go to Oviedo
The best time to visit Oviedo is when there is almost no rainfall. Namely from May to September, when the weather is warm enough to wander around the city. Oviedo is not as warm as other Spanish cities, and the highest average temperature in August is around 22ºC. If you decide to visit the city during the San Mateo Festival in September, you can enjoy a lively atmosphere of concerts and theater performances.
10 best things to see and do in Oviedo, Asturias
10 best things to see and do in Oviedo, Asturias
Video: Museo Fernando Alonso 2022, September
The city of Oviedo is the capital of the Asturias region of Spain, in the north of the country. It’s a relatively small city, but elegant and sophisticated, with a charming historic quarter and many stores and restaurants. Here are our top ten things to do in the city, from visiting fine art museums to dining at Michelin-starred restaurants and striking old palaces.
Admire the works at the Asturian Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts of Asturias is located in Palacio de Velarde, which is near the cathedral. It displays more than 15,000 works from the 14th to the 21st century and includes paintings by artists such as El Greco, Goya, Sorolla, Picasso, Dali and Miró.
Calle Sta. Ana, 1-3, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 985 21 30 61
Posted by jose luis (@ jose_luis_004) on September 25, 2017 at 1:43 am PDT
Discover the past at the Archaeological Museum of Asturias
Located in the former Benedictine monastery of San Vicente, which was built in the 16th century, the Archaeological Museum of Asturias is a fascinating place. The collection features showcases artifacts from archaeological discoveries in the region, dating from prehistory to the dawn of the modern era. In addition to artifacts, there are also drawings, 3D models, maps and audio-visual projections.
Calle San Vicente, 3, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 985 20 89 77
Museo Arqueológico de Asturias, Oviedo | © AdelosRM / Wikimedia Commons | © AdelosRM / WikiCommons
Visit the beautiful Palacio de Santa Maria del Naranco
Located just 3 km from the city, Santa Maria del Naranco was originally a palace built by King Ramiro I in 848. It was later converted into a church, and today it is a magnificent site designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Monte Naranco, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 638 26 01 63
Santa Maria del Naranco, Oviedo, Asturias | © Marianoog / Wikimedia Commons | © Marianoog / WikiCommons
Explore Campo de San Francisco
The city’s main park is the Campo de San Francisco. Originally a garden and garden of San Francisco, it was created in the 19th century and later turned into a public park. Measuring 90,000 square meters, it is filled with wide paths, ponds, fountains, green meadows and wooded areas. As you walk, look out over the ruins of the many monuments located here.
Campo San Francisco, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 984 08 38 00
Campo de San Francisco, Oviedo, Asturias | © yo / Wikimedia Commons
Check out the Catedral de San Salvador
The Gothic Cathedral of San Salvador is along the Camino del Norte and is a major stop for pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Built in the late 13th century, it includes a tower, a monastery, and a chapter house. Also in the Cathedral complex is the Sacred House, pre-Romanesque and built in the 9th century, and now has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Plaza Alfonso II el Casto, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 985 21 96 42
Catedral de San Salvador, Oviedo, Asturias | © javier.losa / Wikimedia Commons | © javier.losa / WikiCommons
Dining at Gloria.
Two Michelin-starred restaurants, Gloria, is Oviedo’s top spot for fine dining, and it’s a definite must-visit for foodies. Led by chef Nacho Manzano, it’s elegant and romantic, and offers tapas dishes, big rasios and mains. Some of the highlights include beautifully soft tortilla de patatas (potato omelet) and delicious Asturian cheese plates.
Calle Cervantes, 24, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 984 83 42 43
Posted by Esther and Nacho Manzano () on May 26, 2017 at 3:10 am PDT
Have a beer for a beer and listen to live music at Ca Beleño
Pub and craft beer bar Ca Beleño is the place to go in Oviedo for live music. Specializing in Celtic music, they host Celtic bands from Asturias and Galicia as well as from Ireland and Scotland. You can always guarantee a live night here.
Calle Martínez Vigil, 4, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 985 22 95 34
Pasacalles de inauguración de El Manglar.
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Go back in time at the Centro de Interpretación del Prerrománico Asturiano
Located just north of the city, you’ll find the Dorim Center for Interpretation Asturiano. Here you can learn all about Pre-Romanic Asturias through displays and exhibits of maps, photographs and audio-visual points. You will also learn about all the most important historical monuments in the area.
Antiguas Escuelas del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain, +34 902 30 66 00
Santa Maria del Naranco, Oviedo, Spain | © Zarateman / Wikipedia
Store at Mercado El Fontana
The Fontana Market is the main market of the city and is located right in the center of the city. There has been some variety market on this site since the 13th century; however, the current structure was designed by Javier Aguirre and built from 1882 to 1885. Stop here to pick up some traditional Asturian products such as cheeses.
Plaza 19 de Octubre, Oviedo, Asturias, Spain, +34 985 20 43 94
Mercado del Fontan, Oviedo, Asturias | © Zarateman / Wikipedia
Visiting the Fiestas de San Mateo in September
Fiestas de San Mateo are the city’s largest festivals and celebrate the end of summer every September. They celebrate America’s Day in Asturias with grand parades, free concerts in town squares, children’s activities and a big fireworks display.