Parks and statues
Campo San Francisco is the green heart and lungs of the city. An ancient, elegant park, throughout all seasons, it is home to an ostentation of peacocks as well as a varied collection of statues and sculptures. In fact the whole city is filled with statues, including a lifesize one of Woody Allen himself. There are around 130 statues to be found across the city, some which will take you by surprise but all are designed to delight and charm.
Plaza Paraguas, Oviedo. Photo: Nacho / Flickr
Watch the world go by in any one of Oviedo´s romantic squares. The historical square of Plaza Paraguas is in the heart of the old quarter is dominated by a large concrete umbrella, formerly used to protect an open air market from the elements. Nearby is the Plaza El Fontan with a bustling indoor food market and picturesque porticoed square. But there is also Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza Trascorrales and the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, all of which are worth a visit.
A selection of Asturiano cheeses. Photo: Nacho / Flickr
Nestled between the coast and mountains of this verdant rain-soaked region, Oviedo boasts its own recognizable gastronomy. Ranging from hearty winter stews of fabada and pote asturiano to more than fifty varieties of cheese. It is also recognized for producing exquisite honey and a delicious range of embutidos. And we haven’t even started to describe all the wonderful seafood available; freshly caught and brought in daily from the nearby Atlantic coast.
But for those who need to satisfy a sweet tooth, don't leave without trying Oviedo's famous for carbayón, a sickeningly sweet pastry made from egg, almonds, sugar, and cognac, coated in a lemon and cinnamon icing. Delicious!
Photo: Violette Riestra
Cider is the regional tipple and there are so many varieties to try at the specialized sidrerías where you can dedicate yourself to the task. There is an art to serving cider here and it involves pouring it into a glass from a great height in order to oxygenate the drink and give it freshness and fizz. The best cider pourers are able to achieve the task while nonchalantly looking the other way. There’s an art to drinking it too: down in one before passing the glass on to a companion.
Steeped in history
Photo: Miguel Diaz/Flickr
This is Spain’s oldest Christian city and one of the most important stops on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. Founded in the 8th century, Oviedo has a rich historical and cultural legacy that oozes from the narrow cobbled streets of the old city with its convents, palaces and churches of caramel coloured stone.
Photo: Oscar F. Hevia/Flickr
Oviedo is a music-lovers dream with weekly concerts and regular dedicated festivals that has every musical taste catered for, whether its pop, rock, classical or jazz, to say nothing of the choirs and the bag-pipes. The annual fiesta held to honour San Mateo, the patron saint of the city, sees stages erected across Oviedo’s squares for ten days each September.
By Samantha Chappell who lives in Oviedo and is a true lover of the city.