The natural scenery is really the star of the show when it comes to Asturias – and for good reason. Take some time to explore the Picos de Europa National Park, which has some of the best hiking trails you’ll find across the continent. The huge area actually spans Asturias, Castilla y Leon and Cantabria, so you can expect to find everything from steep mountainous inclines to deep river gorges.
The coastline is equally beautiful, dotted with fishing villages and overlooking the Bay of Biscay. Whether you’re looking to catch some rays or try your hand at water-sports, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Demonstrating the region’s commitment to preserving not just its wildlife but the buildings too, the Monuments of Oviedo and the Kingdom of Asturias is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, composed of six 9th century buildings. You’ll also find five ancient caves in the Comarca de Oriente area, with palaeolithic artwork that dates back as far as 35,000 BCE.
For those who have more of a thirst for knowledge than adventure, you can certainly quench that in Asturias too, with the Fine Arts Museum of Asturias allowing visitors to take in works by Picasso, Dalí and Goya.
Picos de Europa National Park
Fabada Asturiana is one of the most beloved dishes across Spain and, as you’ve probably guessed from the name, it was first created here. It’s a warming sausage and bean casserole, and while you can buy canned versions all over the world, nothing compares to the real thing prepared from scratch.
You’ll also find caldereta (fish stew) on many menus – unsurprising given Asturias’ easy access to fresh seafood. It’s made up of fish, lobster and crab, combined with onion, parsley and tomato. Looking for something simpler? Try merluza a la sidra (hake in cider), a delicious baked dish that’s often served as a main course.
Aside from the catch of the day however, Asturias is well-known for its cheeses. Cabrales is the most famous variety to come out of the region – think of your most pungent blue cheese and then go up a notch!
When it comes to dessert, you can’t pass up arroz con leche (rice pudding). The Asturian way is to make it using rice, butter, lemon, sugar, and a cinnamon stick, before caramelised sugar is added on top. Asturian cheesecakes are also popular, made using goat’s cheese and finished with fresh fruit, while casadielles (fried Spanish pastry rolls filled with walnut) are a great treat to enjoy on the go.