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Holidays in Asturias and Oviedo

Asturias is situated on the north coast of Spain, with the Cantabrian Sea to the north and the regions of Cantabria to the east, Castilla & Leon to the south and Galicia to the west. Due to its wild and rugged terrain, the territories along this northern coast of Spain never succumbed to the Moorish invasion, which virtually overran the whole of Spain in the 8th century. During the time, the local hero Pelayo along with a small army initiated the re-conquest with a victory at the battle of Covadonga in 722. His remains have been interred in the Santa Cueva (Holy Cave) that is now a place of pilgrimage.

Oviedo capital city
Oviedo is the capital of Asturias and the administrative and commercial centre of the region. The city was one of the few areas to stay out of the hands of the Moors during their occupation of Spain and some very early pre-Romanesque churches still survive here and the surrounding area. Oviedo is just 25km from the northern coast, the Costa Verde, and this is where many visitors head towards characterised by its unspoiled beaches and lush green countryside.

Oviedo holiday attractions
Many of the historical monuments in Oviedo have been destroyed in its long and sometimes violent history, but a few do survive in the compact city centre. The Cathedral of San Salvador was erected in the late 14th century over a previous cathedral dating from the 8th century. It has a tall and elaborate Gothic tower and its holy Chamber the Cmara Santa, built by Alfonso II, is a shrine built to preserve holy relics brought from Toledo during occupation by the Moors. The Asturias Museum of Fine Arts can be found in three buildings in the old part of Oviedo. Here can be found a large collection of fine arts including paintings from the 19th and 20th century, along with many sculptures, photographs and drawings.

Costa Verde
Asturias is a wild and diverse province that is noted for its rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs and mountainous interior. The Asturian coastline between rivers Ribadeo and Deva is called the Costa Verde (Green Coast) because of its lush vegetation, rolling pastures and diverse species of trees. This is as a result of the region's climate being more varied than that of southern parts of Spain with increased rainfall and generally colder spells. The main attraction of the Costa Verde is the many coves with sandy beaches, overlooked by steep cliffs and cattle grazing on the green vegetation on top.

Picos de Europa National Park
The Picos de Europa forms part of the Cantabrian mountain range and is located just 20km inland from the northern coast of Spain. The Picos de Europa was the first National Park of this classification in Spain and in total covers 65,000 hectares in the combined regions of Cantabria, Asturias and the province of Leon. The mountains are comprised almost entirely of limestone and have been dramatically shaped by glacial action retreating after the last ice age. For this reason, they are an excellent destination for activity holidays and people who like outdoor activities such as walking, climbing, mountaineering, trekking, caving, kayaking and fishing.

The landscape is wonderfully diverse and includes high summits with massive drops of up to 2.3km. There are also lakes of crystal clear water; hillside forests of beech and oak groves, fast flowing rivers and lush meadows with green pastures. Animals that can be seen in the National Park include mountain deer, wild boars, buzzards and occasional bears and wolves.

In all, Asturias offers a wonderful green and rugged coastline with sandy beaches, interesting coves and historic capital city. Spain offers more than just the Costa del Sol, and it is hugely diverse across all regions with Asturias being no exception. The Green Coast along with its small, idyllic fishing villages can offer a refreshing change for a beach holiday in Spain, and the Picos de Europa ideal for those interested in outdoor activity persuits.

About the Author: Steve Greenwood has lived in Torrox on the Costa del Sol for 3 years. You are invited to visit Asturias Holidays for tourist attractions, holiday apartments for rent and places to visit in Spain. Visit Ideal Rentals ( for information on all the regions of Spain.

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