When people think of Spain, they often picture a beach or perhaps the center of Madrid. There is another side of Spain that you have yet to experience, though, and it is far more-cultural and rich than the rest of the country. Asturias is a region in the north of Spain, and its capital is the wonderful little city, Oviedo. Few people visit this city, as they favor the big city environment. If you like old-fashioned streets and historical building, this is a city for you. Here is the complete guide to visiting Oviedo.
Understand the climate
Before you embark on your European journey, let’s get one thing straight. The climate in the north of Spain is not like the climate in the rest of the country. Many people visit the north expecting glorious sunshine and find the actual climate surprising. The weather in Asturias, for example, is comparable to the weather in England. During the summer months, it is a little warm, but during the winter it tends to snow. Take clothing that suits all weather types so that you don’t end up freezing.
Walk the city streets
The city streets in Oviedo are stunning. On one side for the city, you will find cobbled streets and squares. The other side is home to contemporary streets with high street stores. There is a noticeable divide between rich and poor in the city. Many of the locals in the area are wealthy, and so dress the part. When you are walking around the city, you should make an effort to dress up for the occasion. It might sound silly now, but you will feel out of place if you’re under-dressed for the city. When you are walking around the city, there are plenty of things to see. The streets here are safe, and so you should not worry about walking through the back streets or alleys. You can find many local attractions if you stray from the main high street, and so you should take the time to explore the city for yourself.
Visit the Cathedral de San Salvador
The cathedral is one of the main attractions of the city. If you read any travel guide, it will tell you that the structure is a ‘must-see attraction’. You should remember that the city itself is religious. Most of the locals are strict Catholics, and so the cathedral is not just for show. Make sure you visit the cathedral when it is free to do so. You can enter when there are services on, but, out of respect, you shouldn’t unless you’re going to take part in the service. When you wander around the cathedral, you can take in some of the fine Gothic architecture.
Experience the nightlife
It might surprise you to find that much of the nightlife in the city is just behind the cathedral itself. If you take a walk down the alley behind the cathedral, you will find a street full of bars and clubs. It is worth exploring this street during the night as it attracts many young people from the city. Remember, Spain has late opening times. There is no point going to a bar before eleven. Many of the bars and clubs stay open until five or six in the morning. The later you go out, the later you can stay out. You don’t have to pay an entrance fee for the clubs, but the drinks will range in price. Drinks in the bar cost around €4, whereas in clubs you can double that price.
Gaze at the statues
One of the most-fascinating things about this city is the great many statues that you can find on the streets. There are over a hundred statues in the city, and so you are never far away from one of these works of art. The statues are not random; each statue is symbolic to the city. One of the best statues in the city is Woody Allen. The statue is one of the main tourist points in the city and is worth seeing should you get a chance. Woody Allen has proclaimed that Oviedo is his favorite town. He has also shot a movie here. If you ever watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona, you will notice that the film starts in Barcelona, but the girls travel to Oviedo. In fact, the majority of the film’s action takes place in Oviedo. The people of the city have decided to honor Woody Allen with a statue, perhaps as a thank you for all the nice things he has said about the region.
Visit La Plaza del Fontan
La Plaza del Fontan is a historic square in the center of Oviedo. If you are looking for a great place to eat in the city, it is worth swinging by the square at night. You can find everything in the square from tapas to more traditional Asturian dishes. The square can get quite busy, and so it is wise to turn up in the early evening if you want to get a seat. The people of Asturias are friendly, and there is a communal vibe in the city. You will often see performances and music in the center of the square. You can sit outside and enjoy your meal or even eat at the bar. The atmosphere in this area is calm, and so you don’t need to worry about a thing.
Enjoy some delicious sidra
Sidra (cider) is famous in Asturias. It is not just that they make great cider in the region; it is that they adore cider in the region. Sidra tends to be more acidic than people expect. It is a delicious dry cider that the people of the region love. When you pour a glass of sidra, you don’t just open the bottle and pour it out. Instead, there is a specific ritual you must follow. The people in the city pour the sidra over the top of their heads into the glass. There is a great level of skill in pouring the drink, without getting wet, but every true Asturian has mastered the art of it.