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Asturias: Spain’s best-kept secret

visit asturias spain

I’ve been home for a month, and I’ve been dragging my feet about writing my first post introducing Asturias, Spain. Not because I didn’t want to or anything like that, but mostly because I didn’t want to share it!

I am so selfish!

There’s a first time for everything, and this might be one of my first big travel moments of not wanting to divulge the secret of a destination simply because I don’t want the word to get out because it is THAT amazing.

I really don’t understand it, but this little region of Asturias has to be Spain’s best-kept secret (map here). How it is not the most visited region is beyond me. I found myself constantly surprised, I took about a million photos and I had the biggest grin on my face the entire time. And man, when it was time to leave? I basically cried on the train all the way to Barcelona.

visit asturias spain

For me, all of Asturias is a fairytale, a place unchanged by time and unaffected by the outside world.

I’ve held Asturias on a pedestal in my mind for years and years, a place I knew I’d love but never had the time, money or means to get up there. I’ve always had this viral photo in the back of my mind for Asturias, and I’ve loved northern Spain ever since I spent a year in La Rioja. As a cheap backpackers and broke English teacher in Spain, it was not the easiest place to travel around, mostly because you need a car to see it properly.

Though there is plenty of public transport and I did travel there and back by train with my Eurail pass to Oviedo, I knew I wanted to do a road trip. The last hour of the train ride through the mountains I basically had my faced smooshed against the window ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the amazing landscapes thinking GET ME OFF THIS TRAIN! I wanted to see it all!

Finally getting to visit this region of Spain I had been thinking about for years was a dream come true! While I might have been nervous at first that it wouldn’t live up to my imagination, it actually blew me away to the point where I wanted to move there.

Here are 10 reasons why I fell in love with Asturias, Spain.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

1. Climbing among the Picos

One of the main reasons I really wanted to visit Asturias was for the mountains. A lush green region filled with snowcapped peaks, it is definitely not the stereotypical image you might have for Spain. It looks more like Ireland or Switzerland than dry southern Europe. And Asturias’ horizon is defined by the beautiful Picos de Europa (the Peaks of Europe) mountains, with the Naranjo de Bulnes mountain dominating the skyline.

Especially since I moved to New Zealand, I have become obsessed with mountains. I love looking at them, climbing them and just being in alpine environments. And the mountains of Spain had been calling to me for years and years.

While I write more in depth about the walks and beautiful spots I explored in the Picos on this trip, there are three spots I MUST mention now because they completely and utterly wowed me.  And I just have to share. Even though I don’t want to.

visit asturias spain

The first is this village above, called Sotres.

It’s the highest village in the Picos de Europa mountains and it’s the most picturesque, historical mountain town you could ever possibly imagine. Picture crumbling old farmhouses covered in wildflowers beneath snowcapped mountains, lambs frolicking about and beautiful stone houses tumbling down the hills with terracotta roofs with cowbells twinkling in the distance.

Basically the entire time I was there, I kept thinking, this place CANNOT be real. It’s too perfect.

The second place was hiking to the Refugio de Urriellu, a mountain hut at the base of that iconic mountain peak in the national park. I adore hiking and have barely explored hikes in Spain, so it was a dream come true getting the opportunity to walk among these beautiful mountains and through historic farmland.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

And finally, another beautiful hike was walking to the historic village of Bulnes, another beautiful mountain village in the mountains. And until 2001, the only way to get there was to hike. Yes, hike. Since then a tunnel train funicular has been built in the mountain for the few locals that are left, but if you have time and it’s a beautiful day, you should take the old route along with the mountain goats.

It is really an amazing experience and means you definitely earn a beer in the village at the top.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

2. Trying out the local cider culture

Mar, montaña y manzana – or the three “m”s that I kept hearing over and over again while in Asturias: “sea, mountains, and apples.” If there are three words to describe Asturias, it would be these. The beautiful mountains of the Picos. The incredible coastline and seaside villages that define it’s northern borders, and then the amazing cider culture.

While living in other parts of Spain, I quickly became familiar with Asturian hard cider, mostly from the dramatic way it’s poured. There is an amazing culture around la sidra asturiana that I’ll delve into in another post, but it was worth mentioning here because it’s one of the things I love about the region.

All over Asturias you’ll find sidrerias, cider bars, where you go with friends after work for a snack and to share a green bottle of cider, which is poured in a specific way to aerate the cider. Unless you’re me, then you just spill it everywhere.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

3. Falling in love with the colorful fishing towns

Because the entire northern side of Asturias is wild coastline, there are dozens and dozens of the most picturesque seaside fishing villages I have ever seen. There are so many it’s hard to keep them straight!

Colorful houses and bright shutters decorate these little towns and the water around them is usually tropical turquoise, not something I was expecting at all!

Brightly colored boats bob around in the calm harbors waiting for their turn at sea, and life moves around completely unchanged in these towns. It really is extraordinary!

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

Luarca

visit asturias spain

Ribadesella

visit asturias spain

Cudillero

visit asturias spain

Lastres

4. Reliving the history there

In the Middle Ages, Asturias was its own separate kingdom in Spain. Because it was tucked away so far north, it never really came under Muslim rule and eventually became the heart of the Reconquest of Spain by Christians. I majored in Spanish and focused on Spanish history in college so it’s a place I’ve been reading about for years and years.

In 722, the Christians had their first victory over the Muslims in a place called Covadonga, which is now a holy site in Asturias in the mountains. There are two stunning mountain lakes you can visit and walk around.

Trust me, this place looks like Switzerland more than Spain.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

5. Meeting the friendliest people

While I’ve found Spaniards to be a generally friendly bunch, at least once they get to know you, that being said, I found the asturianos to be exceptional. I wanted to hug and be friends with everyone here! Which I did, and trust me, nothing baffles Spaniards more than when you go in for a big old American style hug instead of the polite cheek kisses.

More hugs!

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Asturias, like New Zealand, has a small-town feel to it. Even the cities like Oviedo feel small; it’s like you know everyone. While places like this are my absolute favorite types of travel spots, sometimes I get nervous because I hate being the outsider, something amplified in Spain due to my American-ness. But luckily I didn’t have any problems at all and everyone I met, seriously everyone, was just extraordinary. So friendly and open, helpful and patient.

To me, nothing speaks more volumes about a place than the kindness and attitude of its locals. In that respect, Asturias is a winner!

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

6. It’s the stuff of legends

Is it just me, or do you guys think all of these photos could be used to illustrate a children’s fairytale book?

I mean seriously Asturias, stop it. I don’t have enough memory cards to handle all the beauty you threw at me in a week. Misty mountain sunrises, crumbling abandoned ruins covered in vines and flowers, moss covered bridges (that trolls definitely live under) and fairytale mansions left, right and center. Not to mention every great place and every beautiful spot had an amazing story to go along with them.

Oh, and did I mention it’s home to some of the most amazing animals? Bears and wolves still roam the mountain forests in Asturias and it’s even home to an endangered historic mountain pony called an asturcón. Seriously?

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

7. Tasting the most amazing seafood

I am going to have to keep this part short and sweet because it not, I am going to cry because I miss Asturian food so much!

I absolutely love seafood, something Asturias has plenty of, my god. I made sure almost every meal had some type of seafood in it and it all blew me away.

Take me back!

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

8. Discovering Casas Indianas

Around 100 – 150 years ago there was a big wave of immigration between Asturias and Central and South America (The East Indies), to places like Cuba, Mexico and Argentina. Those Asturians who became wealthy over there, maintained ties with their homeland and built enormous colonial style houses in Asturias called Casas Indianas.

It’s frankly a bit jarring to be driving through the lush green Asturian countryside with its medieval villages and stone houses and then to come face to face with a four story pastel colored mansion that looks like something you’d see in downtown Havana.

I absolutely love them and kept looking for them all over Asturias, especially because so many of them are totally abandoned. It’s like a time warp. Seriously, I couldn’t believe these amazing historic homes have been left to the weeds.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

9. Exploring old Oviedo

I am not going to lie, Oviedo has been on my radar since I first watched Vicky, Christina, Barcelona and Javier Bardem whisked away the leading females for a spontaneous weekend in Oviedo. Um, yes please!

Thank you Woody Allen!

A beautiful small city in the mountains of Asturias, Oviedo had a little village feel to it, and it was a place where you felt like you could really get to know it. It was a quirky, livable city.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

10. Walking along the wild beaches

I was expecting harsh, wild rocky coastlines in Asturias, something I imagined for the north coast of Spain, an area unprotected from the heavy strong Atlantic. But what I wasn’t expecting was to find plenty of soft fine white sand beaches and clear blue water AND crazy wild coastline.

It felt almost tropical!

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

11. It’s as if time stands still

Apart from its fairytale landscapes, beautiful green rolling hills and sharp tooth mountains fading in and out of the clouds in the distance, Asturias feels almost like time stands still, that things tick away in the same way as they always have, for thousands of years.

Pastors walk by with their sheep. The famous cabrales blue cheese is aged in ancient caves in the same way it always has. There is this feeling of simple, clean living in Asturias that is so far removed from the hustle and bustle of bigger cities.

It’s really hard to put into words, but I feel like I’ve never been in such a mellow place.

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

visit asturias spain

12. And of course, it’s Spain’s best-kept secret – no one there!

And of course my favorite thing about Asturias is that it really feels like one of Spain’s best-kept secrets. There are hardly any tourists, and definitely not very many foreigners. I didn’t speak English the entire time I was there.

It felt like I had the place to myself to explore! Undiscovered, hidden gem, off the beaten path. You name the travel cliche and Asturias hit the mark.

I’m already planning a trip back!

Have you heard of Asturias, Spain? Ever been? Have I convinced you to visit? Have you ever felt this way about a place you’ve discovered while traveling?

visit asturias spain

Many thanks to Eurail for getting me to and from Asturias and for Tourism Asturias for hosting me while I was there – like always, I’m keeping it real, all opinions are my own, like you could expect less from me.

,

175 Responses to Asturias: Spain’s best-kept secret

  1. Kirstie August 25, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    I spent a weekend in Asturias in October 2012 (here‘s my recap if you’re curious), and I absolutely fell in love with it as well. I would kill to go back and spend more time there.

    • Liz August 25, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

      Love it, I would die to go back too!

      • Eva March 24, 2016 at 2:13 am #

        Dear Liz,
        Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful article and for your kind words. While reading it, I was almost in tears – like everytime I listen to the bagpipes playing the Asturias hymn (you know what I mean).
        By the way, I am coming over to Gijón tomorrow. Guess where I come from 😃. Keep on enjoying your trips and Puxa Asturies. Take care. All the best. Eva.

      • Sam June 7, 2016 at 5:43 am #

        Hello Liz! That was a beautiful write up of what looks like a stunning place. I was going to visit this July with my partner, one problem is that neither of us speak any Spanish. I’ve travelled many countries where English is not spoken often and some are more difficult than others. So I suppose my question to you is that would we get along ok without very very minimal Spanish?

      • Rosalie A. Gonzalez September 26, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

        Wonderful Article.
        Our family on my Husbands side lives in Asturias and we have visited and I would love to return. We must have at least 60 plus cousins there. My husbands father was born in the home, in what is now the barn, in Gallejon, I think that is the City. Our relatives still live in the house.
        I hope to return again someday soon.
        Rosie – La Mesa, CA (San Diego)

  2. Katie August 25, 2015 at 6:43 pm #

    You’ve more than convinced me to visit. The beaches there really do look tropical! Reading this post made me feel actually a little devastated to not have immediate plans to visit Spain in the works.

    • Liz August 25, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

      time to start planning then!

  3. Hannah August 25, 2015 at 7:57 pm #

    I was in asturias a month ago and LOVED the picos mountains they were so pretty! THe whole of northern spain (along the camino de santiago route) is incredible actually, and I love that, for now at least, it’s less well known than the south!

    • Liz August 25, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

      I love northern Spain too!

      • mehmet March 18, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

        liz I will go to there next semester with erasmus+ exchange program what do you prefer to me abou there

  4. Sara August 25, 2015 at 8:15 pm #

    Your photos are incredible!

    I’ve never heard of this place before but it sounds amazing! It really is a hidden gem

    • Liz August 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

      Thanks!

  5. Emma August 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    It sounds like an amazing region – so many beautiful towns, the scenery and I’d be in heaven exploring those abandoned mansions!

    • Liz August 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

      me too! They had to drag me out!

  6. Gaye August 25, 2015 at 8:59 pm #

    I had never heard of this place but it looks absolutely stunning! Going straight on the bucket list – thank you for deciding to share this gem Liz 🙂

    • Liz August 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

      wahoo!

  7. Ola August 25, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    Liz, I totally understand why this place is the best kept secret after seeing your amazing pictures. Asturias is such a beautiful place!

    • Liz August 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

      It’s even better in person!

  8. Britt August 26, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    Wooo amazing!! This post definitely has be rethinking my Spain itinerary. I can imagine why you liked it so much with all those mountains- definitely has an NZ feel to it!

    I also remember studying this region in Spanish history but had no idea it was such an amazing place to explore.

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 8:08 am #

      It’s so awesome!

  9. Victoria@ The British Berliner August 26, 2015 at 12:05 am #

    I. Love. This. Place. Already!
    Yes, please! Indeed, I’ve never heard of this quaint little corner of Spain but what a write-up. I’m usually quite the lady but I feel that this place deserves a very un-ladylike shove at the person who gets in the way of my not visiting at some point!

    I love the sound of the cider bars and all that delightful food, people and colourful homes. Now where do I sign?

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 8:08 am #

      hahahaha

  10. Michael August 26, 2015 at 12:22 am #

    Your photos are all amazing Liz, it inspires me to go out and see the world like you. About the fishing town photos, I’m curious as to what type of cars they use there?

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 8:08 am #

      some of the towns are car free!

  11. chewy August 26, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    I was next door, in Cantabria, back in April and I loved it so much! I love how you can go from snowcapped mountains to rivertowns to beaches all within a day or so. Northern Spain is so gorgeous, though I haven’t been to much of Southern Spain.

    Really amazing photos and I should be planning a trip back!

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 8:09 am #

      Definitely hit up Asturias next time!

  12. Ashley of Ashley Abroad August 26, 2015 at 2:01 am #

    I think this is my favorite post you’ve ever written- gorgeous photos and you tell such a story. I too have wanted to visit Asturias ever since hearing it looked like Switzerland and hearing they have amazing cider. I was also a Spanish major and am a fellow history buff so I’d love to geek out in the casas indianas 🙂

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 8:09 am #

      Wahoo! man those houses were off the hook!

  13. Megan August 26, 2015 at 3:02 am #

    This is the first post that has made me actually want to visit Spain. I know that sounds terrible, but I have always been obsessed with the idea of the UK and never truly considered Spain. Mountains and Sea?! That is definitely my kind of place! Gorgeous pictures

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 8:09 am #

      it’s really even better in person!

  14. Danielle @ EscapingEssex August 26, 2015 at 4:14 am #

    Looks absolutely beautiful! I’ve only ever really visited Spain on relaxing family holidays, not to do anything adventurous like this – now I really want to head back!

    Danielle | http://www.escapingessex.com

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

      It’s really worth exploring more!

  15. Amanda August 26, 2015 at 6:35 am #

    I hadn’t heard of it until you started posting photos on Instagram and Facebook. But now I’m DYING to go! It looks incredible!

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 6:17 pm #

      It’s really just amazing!

  16. Natalia August 26, 2015 at 6:38 am #

    I’m from Asturias (but I live in Poland at the moment) and you almost made me cry right now. I feel terribly homesick after reading this. God, I was born in fucking paradise!

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

      You were! Move home haha <3 and let me come visit!

  17. Shereen August 26, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    WOW! These pics and this article blew me away! I had no idea about Asturias until now. I’ve added it to the LONG list of new places to see! Thanks!! 🙂

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 10:33 am #

      Sweet, that makes me happy to hear!

  18. Aleksandra August 26, 2015 at 8:54 am #

    Ohhh… I miss Asturias a lot… I came back from Camino del Norte one month ago and when I saw your post and pic… my heart beats faster… It’s wonderful place. Thank u for sharing it.

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 10:33 am #

      It’s amazing isn’t it?

      • Aleksandra August 28, 2015 at 3:18 am #

        It’s more than amazing and I met there awesome people, so this place has deeper meaning for me.

        • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:25 am #

          Me too!

  19. Inma August 26, 2015 at 9:14 am #

    Loved this! Being from a tiny village in the Galicia – Asturias border, I am well aware of what we have. A paradise!
    Can’t forgive you didn’t make it to Galicia this time though. COME BACK NOW! 🙂

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 10:33 am #

      haha I know!!! Forgive me!

  20. Megan August 26, 2015 at 9:35 am #

    You had me at “looks like Switzerland” 🙂

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      totally does!

  21. Katie August 26, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    I hadn’t heard of it and drove right past it when I was in Spain in 2006 – holy hell it looks incredible! I always thought that the north of Spain was dry, I had no idea that it looked like this. I am definitely going to visit, thanks!

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 10:34 am #

      Add it to the list, northern Spain is green and beautiful!

  22. Trevor Huxham August 26, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    Omigod I love this post so much, Liz!!! Such a heartwarming tribute to such a magical region. Although I might disagree that it’s the country’s best-kept secret…that honor goes to Galicia in my book 😉

    Really really looking forward to reading about your exploration of the abandoned casas indianas; I had no idea those even existed before you went Instagramming them this summer. Super fascinating and spooky.

    Also I love that you included a shot of percebes! Are you a fan of them? I love ‘em despite their stratospheric prices.

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      haha nope! I think more people have heard of Galicia than Asturias for sure! The casas indianas were probably my fave part of the area, which totally baffled my guide, but seriously, how cool are they?!

  23. Rachel Elizabeth August 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm #

    Holy crap, those pictures are AMAZING. I feel the same way you do about mountains. When I went to Slovenia, I fell soooo madly in love with the Julian Alps.

    And I want to devour all that seafood! YUM.

    Your blog makes me sad that I haven’t visited Spain yet. Sigh. One day. I know I’ll use your blog to help me whenever I book my tickets and plan my itinerary. 🙂

    • Liz August 26, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

      Love the alps in Slovenia!

  24. Paula Andrews August 27, 2015 at 1:20 am #

    Hi Liz. OMG, I loved those landscapes and those Casas Indianas! I am visiting Malaga and Barcelona in October, and I am starting to wish for Astúrias as well! 😀

    The Asturian landscapes are similar to Madeira Island, in Portugal, where I am currently living. Last June I’ve tried a new concept (for me at least): Glamping. Me and my Partner Peter went to this new Glamping spot here in Madeira Island and we were truly amazed. We are not exaggerating when we say that Roberto’s (the owner) place is the nicest little paradise we ever had the honor of sleeping in. The bed was super comfortable, and the shower in the morning, right next to the Tipi, with a sea view window… Wow… !
    The waterfall, the sea, the sounds, the flowers, the fruits, the apple bananas… everything was so relaxing! And, Roberto was also very nice, always available to help us.
    This experience of “camping” with all comfort is definitely to repeat! You can have a look at this hidden paradise here Isn’t it a wonder? Good luck with everything! Loved your blog. Bye!

    • Liz August 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

      Enjoy Spain xx

  25. lujó semeyes August 27, 2015 at 1:47 am #

    you can see asturias here:
    https://500px.com/search?q=asturias&submit=Enviar&type=photos
    thx!
    You arre wellcome to my country

    • Liz August 27, 2015 at 12:52 pm #

      Such an amazing place!

  26. Jordi August 27, 2015 at 3:43 am #

    As an Asturian myself, I can’t feel prouder of your description, and I can’t feel happier that you have enjoyed your stay among us.

    Please come back soon.

    And those of you who don’t know Asturias, if you read this and are interested… please come visit us. You will be welcome. And then “keep the secret” as well as Liz does… 😉

    • Liz August 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

      haha thanks!

  27. Ron August 27, 2015 at 5:09 am #

    Enjoy watching the Tour de France especially as the rides weaved there way though the Pyrenees and Alps. Arial shots of alpine peaks, waterways, and old castles were awesome. I’m guessing views of neighboring Spanish Cantabrian Mountains are similar. Southern Spain has its charm but the north appeals to me – looks cooler, relaxing, and love the mountains.

    • Liz August 27, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

      north has always appealed more to me too

  28. Juan Noval August 27, 2015 at 3:58 pm #

    Wow, your descriptions and pics bring back very fond memories. My family and I hail from Xixón, and I can’t wait till we go back next summer. I was fortunate to grow up in Xixón and once I came to live in the US, my siblings and I would voluntarily be shipped off for summer and Christmas to spend time at my family’s home. Our parents had a hard time getting us to return to the US. Lol. I still have numerous friends and family living in Asturias, and it’s a treat to visit as often as I can. I agree with you, although my opinion is biased, El Principau is beautiful and welcoming in many ways, so let’s not tell too many people. They might love it too much and want to stay. Un abrazo y vuelve cuando antes y recuerda que Asturies se lleva en el alma. 😁

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:20 am #

      haha I know, I really didn’t want to share it!

  29. Jessica @Triple T Travels August 27, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    I was so happy when I saw this title in my blog feed, I could barely wait for my computer to load. I love Asturias. I studied abroad at the Universidad de Oviedo and absolutely fell in love with Northern Spain! Thank you for bringing me back with your pictures and stories.

    Oh and I am a pro at sidra pouring by the way 😉 (not really, but I wish)

    mas abrazos,
    Jessica

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:20 am #

      awesome! I’m terrible at the cidra too. So lucky you lived in Oviedo!

  30. Abhilasha August 27, 2015 at 6:49 pm #

    Lovely pics. No words to define your photos….jst amazing

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:21 am #

      Thank you!

  31. Norma August 27, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

    Great article! I was born in the US and have lived in Cangas de Onis for 25 years and I am still in love. There are days, when I swing around a roundabout a get a full view of Picos, in that time of the late afternoon where the sun hits them just right that I am so awestruck, I have to stop and just sit for a while and take in the view.
    I tell everyone that Asturias has something that as soon as you visit, that’s it! you’re stuck! She has snarled you in her claws and you always have come back.
    (but don’t come in August because the Spaiñards love Asturias and it is way too busy)
    Hasta pronto!

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:21 am #

      wow that’s so cool! I loved Cangas de Onis! I am definitely coming back 🙂

  32. Maite August 27, 2015 at 10:27 pm #

    Hi from Asturias. Thank you for this beautiful post about my place of birth 🙂

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:21 am #

      Thank you!

  33. C.Rio August 27, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    Thank you for a beautiful article. The description and the pics are truly amazing. You managed to bring back beautiful memories of my childhood and made me long for my birth place.
    It is not without reason that Asturias is called paradise.

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:21 am #

      Definitely paradise!

  34. DAvid August 27, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

    Hey! This is where I come from! The pictures right after you speak of Sotres, with the house being renovated above the tunnel, it is my house! (well, actually, my parents’). i now live abroad, sadly, but I go back there every year! I just came back two weeks ago.

    Stop for a drink next time! 😉

    PS: I love being there because it is quiet, so I am not sure I should be mad at you or thankful for mentioning it in your blog 😉

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:22 am #

      Wow that is so amazing, I will definitely be back! and I know what you mean, i hate myself a little bit for sharing this secret!

  35. Rubén August 28, 2015 at 12:22 am #

    hi! I’m an asturian, from Oviedo, living in England at the present time. I would like to congratulate you for this article. Trust me, the best thing you can do to make an asturian smile and become your friend is telling them that Asturias is beautiful. As simple as that. And you clearly have written this article with passion and love. Thank you so much, you made me feel as living there again while I was reading it. Congratulations for the pictures as well. Lots of hugs. Hope you’re back soon and enjoy it!

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:23 am #

      Love it so much I can’t wait to come back!

  36. viaeros August 28, 2015 at 2:32 am #

    Gran resumen de nuestra tierra Asturias. Muchas gracias por divulgarlo

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:25 am #

      Muchas gracias!

  37. Kim August 28, 2015 at 3:40 am #

    Hi Liz! You have written such a beautiful article about my birthplace that I just had to stop and leave you a comment to say thank you. As they say in the comments above, to win an Asturian over you just have to say how beautiful it is. We all know that, but of course it is good to see that other people also appreciate it.

    Come back again whenever you can, cause I think you have won a special place in every Asturian heart that has read this article.

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:25 am #

      Thank you so much! I love that phrase, I love ASturias to pieces, I can’t wait to come back.

  38. Michaila August 28, 2015 at 6:55 am #

    Hi Liz,
    What a great post! Definitely a place I need to add to my bucketlist – hopefully I can make it there in the future. Keep up the awesome work with your blog. You 100% inspire my travel blog that I just started. I leave on Tuesday to begin my own adventure and I am so excited to add more posts! Thank you so much for being an amazing inspiration and travel blog to look up to!

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:26 am #

      thank you so much!

  39. Connor August 28, 2015 at 7:03 am #

    I spent a year living in Oviedo and it was wonderful, plus being British I was already used to the rain! Been back in the UK for 3 years now though and your article has made me realise just how much I miss Living there!

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:26 am #

      It is such a beautiful little city, isn’t it?

  40. Aturianu August 28, 2015 at 7:21 am #

    Great site. I’ve only been there about 40 times. Lol parents from Picos I’m from us of a, but gotta go every year. Got cousins who are guides way up there too.
    Hope you return soon.

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:26 am #

      Ah that’s awesome!

  41. Raphael Alexander Zoren August 28, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    Whoa! The mountains of Asturias are really impressive! The colours kind of reminded me of the Kandersteg region of Switzerland, nature sure is incredible!!! 😀

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:26 am #

      Reminds me of Switzerland too!

  42. Kate August 28, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Fabulous photos and tips! I can’t wait to explore this area once we’re in Spain!

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:28 am #

      Thanks!

  43. Teresa Hernandez August 28, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    I am from Asturias and now live in New Zealand, I almost cried reading the post and seeing the pictures!! I literally grew up in paradise! And don’t get me started on the food…!

    Thanks for writing this post, I love seeing people go to a place, fall in love with it and appreciate the culture and History of where they’re visiting 🙂

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 3:28 am #

      OMG do you really? We should meet up! I am in Wanaka, where do you live?

      • Teresa Hernandez August 29, 2015 at 9:05 am #

        I live in Auckland. If I’m ever in the South Island I’ll let you know, let me know if you’re up north, it would great to meet and talk about Asturias!!

  44. Andres August 29, 2015 at 8:35 am #

    Hi Liz, I was born there too, now I live in London and I almost cry. I never understood why people thought of Asturias in the same way as you. Now that I live in a very big city I understand. Thanks for your post.

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

      Thanks!

  45. Zoe August 29, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Thank you so much for this post! Asturian here living in LA, and when people back home make comments about how cool it must be to live here I wish they could understand it really doesn’t get much better than Asturias 🙂 It feels nice to read about someone who loves it so much without being biased by having been born there.

    • Liz August 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

      🙂

  46. Maria August 29, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

    Asturias is the place I was born, I am very happy you enjoyed Asturias!! These posts make me feel both happy and sad. Happy because I am glad that you have the opportunity to see a wonderful place as Asturias is; but also sad because I don’t want Asturias to become a touristic place. I think that when a region becomes touristic it loses good things (it loses the essence).

    • Liz August 30, 2015 at 9:20 am #

      I now exactly what you mean

  47. Pedro August 30, 2015 at 2:28 am #

    even not being from Asturias, i am from dry Murcia, i love the way you describe Asturias, now thanks to you the whole world can get to know such a beautiful place, and you have made me feel proud of Spain and our lovely places.

    it is really a delight to see someone who does know the real Spain, not falling into the unreal stereotypes that Spain is a dry place and that us love bullfighting and flamenco.

    by the way there is something that you have forgotten about Asturias: the bagpipes, which are very common in Asturian tradition, as well as in Galicia…..although Scotland or Ireland get all the fame because of movies i must say that in the Middle Ages it was the Kingdom of Castile who saw bagpipes long before they got up northern to the British Isles as it is documented.

    thanks for the great blogpost 🙂

    • Liz August 30, 2015 at 9:23 am #

      Ah that’s right, I didn’t think about that! Thank you! And I hate all of the Spain stereotypes and I’m not even from there haha 😀

  48. Marta August 31, 2015 at 12:30 pm #

    Hi! I’m an “asturiana” and to be honest I was in tears all the time I was reading your post. It’s wonderful to see people that really understand the beauty that surrounds Asturias, because as you said, we are our country’s best-kept secret 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed us so much! And of course you’re always welcome! 😀

    • Liz September 1, 2015 at 5:04 am #

      yay! Is it bad to say I am happy I made you cry? Hahah 🙂

  49. Hana August 31, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    This place looks so beautiful! And your pictures are incredible… definitely added it to my hiking bucket list 😉

    • Liz September 1, 2015 at 5:07 am #

      Thanks! Amazing hiking!

  50. Taj Mahal Tour Package August 31, 2015 at 10:34 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, it is really incredible pictures to visit in Asturias Spain.

    • Liz September 1, 2015 at 5:07 am #

      It’s awesome!

  51. Madi August 31, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

    These pictures are unbelievable! I must admit Vicky, Christina, Barcelona has also spurred my desire to visit Spain (as did midnight in Paris for France – which is my all time favourite movie!). Thank you for sharing … My bucket list just got a little longer!

    • Liz September 1, 2015 at 5:07 am #

      That’s one of my faves too!

  52. Grace | The Beauty of Everywhere September 3, 2015 at 5:31 am #

    I absolutely love Spain, but had never heard of Asturias until now! It looks incredible, hopefully I’ll have a chance to explore it one day. You really have hiked some beautiful routes!

    • Liz September 3, 2015 at 9:48 am #

      It’s so amazing!

  53. Darren Rodriguez September 3, 2015 at 11:25 am #

    Loved reading this. My dad is Asturian and has moved back to his village to retire after spending 50 years in the UK. He lives 45 minutes south of Oviedo up in the mountains. Went every summer as a kid and love going back now. Nothing has changed, in my 39 years, apart from tarmac on some of the village roads!!! Can’t believe you didn’t mention cachopo though!!!

  54. sean September 5, 2015 at 6:42 pm #

    oooh i just love building located in mountains they just look amazing and i would love to live in a place like that!! Some really great pictures, i like secret beaches as well that i stumble across really beautiful and just the fact that it’s not overly populated by tourists

    • Liz September 7, 2015 at 7:08 am #

      It’s so amazing!

  55. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas September 7, 2015 at 6:58 am #

    Freaking love Asturias so much that I married a medio asturiano!! Seriously such a gem – walk the Camino del Norte!

    • Liz September 7, 2015 at 7:10 am #

      I will one day!!

  56. Carmen September 7, 2015 at 7:46 am #

    Liz, I live in Madrid but i m from Asturias. I like a lot your post and i m glad you like my land. I hope you come back soon to visit us, you are welcome. Kisses.

    • Liz September 10, 2015 at 7:59 am #

      Thank you!

  57. arena kehu September 8, 2015 at 12:42 am #

    Thanks for exploring us this scenic nature beauty…We are really like to visit this fantastic heaven of spain….

    • Liz September 10, 2015 at 8:01 am #

      I hope you get the chance to visit soon!

  58. Maddy @ Travel Alphas September 9, 2015 at 4:54 am #

    My goodness… So many amazing photos. I wish I’d known about Asturias while I was in Spain for all of last summer! Next time…

    • Liz September 10, 2015 at 8:10 am #

      Next time for sure 🙂

  59. zeinab September 9, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    hi Liz, I suggest you to see my country, IRAN.

    • Liz September 10, 2015 at 8:12 am #

      I would love to visit Iran one day 🙂

    • kathy wedl June 1, 2016 at 7:59 am #

      I would love to visit Iran and wish I were not such a 70 year old chicken. I don’t believe it is as dangerous for Americans as we are led to believe, but still—

  60. Rebecca September 10, 2015 at 7:47 am #

    Thanks for spilling the secret – this part of Spain is incredible! Pinning it for when we return to Spain. I actually have a friend visiting Oviedo at the moment and when she told me, I had no idea where it was. But now I’ll be able to picture her there. And well done – looks like you didn’t spill the cider after all 🙂

    • Liz September 10, 2015 at 8:12 am #

      hahaha <3

  61. nocktoebenaughto September 10, 2015 at 10:49 pm #

    A lovely tribute to what seems like a wonderful place. I am just two weeks into a year in the Basque country and you have whetted my appetite for exploring!

    • Liz September 11, 2015 at 10:59 am #

      Make sure to hit up Asturias while you’re in the north!

  62. Kerjan of Backpack Babe September 13, 2015 at 3:21 pm #

    Okay, now I officially want to go there! thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Liz September 14, 2015 at 9:33 am #

      It’s amazing!

  63. Pamela October 3, 2015 at 9:25 pm #

    Your photos are just amazing… Thank you so much for telling us about this secret…

    • Liz October 11, 2015 at 12:40 am #

      Thank you!

  64. Tonio Rosales October 8, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    Thank you very much for publishing this! I’m a native Asturian (from the capital, Oviedo) living far from my land and miss it so much! I try to go back as much as possible. I’m happy more people are discovering my region and realizing that Spain is not the usual Madrid, Barcelona, or the southern coastal cities… that it’s not all sangría, paella, etc. I love cycling and we also have some of the best places to go cycling, and one of the toughest climbs in all of pro cycling, the Angliru, or L’Angliru as we would call it. Do you know that Asturias is the birthplace of modern Spain?
    Cheers to all!

    • Liz October 11, 2015 at 12:58 am #

      I LOVE ASTURIAS!!!!

  65. Jesus October 11, 2015 at 1:10 pm #

    I am northern Spanish as well and i would like to thank you for this wonderful post. i am really happy you liked my country. Btw, next time you should visit my region, Cantabria, we are also very friendly and we have plenty of place to visit as well.

    P.S. The viral photo you remember at the begining of your post is from Cantabria, not from Asturias.

    • Liz October 12, 2015 at 11:17 am #

      I would love to visit Cantabria!

  66. Molly Q October 20, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

    I’m crying tears of homesickness while reading this! I spent 5 months studying Spanish at La Universidad de Oviedo (during their 400th year anniversary!!) and fell more in love with this hidden jewel every day I was there!

  67. mellamoderek October 21, 2015 at 4:26 am #

    I did a semester abroad in Asturias back in 2004 – one of the best periods of my life! When I first learned that my university’s Spain program, I will admit I was a little bummed it was not in Madrid or Barcelona. But then I got to Oviedo and I fell in love right away. I lived with an amazing Asturian woman who cooked scrumptious Spanish and Asturian cuisine and I became involved in the city’s life right away. And we would go on field trips to the Picos, Cangas de Onis, Cordillero, and other gorgeous places, and one time my host mom took me to her dad’s house which was outside of an already-rural village perched on the mountainside. And as you mention, there is little influence from the “outside.” I didn’t encounter tourists much and the population is fairly insular, so you’re more-or-less forced to speak Spanish and even learn some Asturian in the meantime. (fai un cutu que escarabaya el pelleyu.) Last year, after a business trip to Barcelona, I had the opportunity to return (10 years later) to Oviedo for a few days and it was as special as ever. I stayed (once again) with my host mom and we went to the Jesus statue above Oviedo, checked out the Romanic ruins, and walked along the cliffs at the seashore. The only thing that I really noticed had changed was that the economic turmoil Spain saw (is seeing) after 2007 had an obvious impact on the city – shops/bars closed, a little dirtier than normal. But thank you for this amazing post.

  68. Rebecca October 23, 2015 at 6:33 am #

    Asturias looks incredible! Your post (along with a Renfe promotion) helped me to decide to go to Asturias for the next puente. Unfortunately I’ll only be there for a few days, so apart from Oviedo, where else would you most strongly suggest to go? Would love to visit a coastal town and the beach, weather permitting!

    • Liz October 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm #

      OMG you’re going to love it!! I would hit up one of the costal towns, cudillero, luraca, llanes, or even Ribadesella 🙂

  69. Pauline November 28, 2015 at 2:25 am #

    Thanks for this article, I’m planning on spending 10 days in Asturias next summer and seeing your pictures is making me so excited! Is there any chance you’re gonna post more articles on the region, besides the two you’ve already published?

    • Liz November 30, 2015 at 5:14 pm #

      Heaps more to come!

      • Pauline December 2, 2015 at 1:29 am #

        Awesome, looking forward to it!

  70. Melissa Walsh December 7, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    I’m recently married and my hubby and I decided that we want to tour different parts of Europe every year for 3 months caravanning until we’ve completed our list of destinations.
    Next June- Sept we hope to drive the coast from Northern Spain, down through Portugal and across the Southern coast of Spain.
    I’ve completed stumbled across your GEM of a site rich with the vacation I’ve been dreaming of. When looking at your pics lots of time I ask myself “I wonder where that is”…. So my question, do you offer more in depth info anywhere? What would you suggest is the best way to dive into a rough intinerary? For me the typical American I’m finding it a bit overwhelming with where to start…… Any suggestions would be great 🙂

  71. DAVID December 17, 2015 at 7:34 am #

    Thanks for your words that makes people fall in love with Asturias ;))

    El inglés no es mi fuerte. Ha sido un placer haber compartido esos días contigo recorriendo parte de Asturias ;))

    • Liz December 22, 2015 at 3:02 pm #

      Gracias por acompañarme David y ensañarme la belleza de Asturias! Ya estoy pensando en cuanto pueda volver!! It was the best trip for me!! Thank you!

  72. Monica January 27, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi there!

    Oh man, how happy I am to have stumbled across your blog. I am currently planning a big trip to Spain and for some reason I was always drawn to Asturias. I want to thank you for all the helpful advice you are providing to all of us and if you would be willing to give me some advice as to how to hit all the most wonderful places in Spain in just a month, I would really appreciate it.

  73. Asturian in California March 22, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    Through your vision of my region
    I see the beauty on you
    a refection of your wisdom
    just a dream becoming true

    Your words are a breeze of fresh air
    for Asturians that are far away
    a fairytale of care
    of unassuming intend

    You may come and you may go
    like many other people
    Liz, you left your footprints on the road
    with your zest, honesty and vision

    Words create emotions
    and parallel dimensions
    giving us the options
    of enjoying others’ perceptions

    You may be a dreamer
    and I may be a fool
    but I appreciate that you were eager
    of sharing your thoughts in our hidden jewel

    My most respect and admiration
    while you were in Spain
    improvised speaker of our region
    North of the Castilian plains

    An Asturian in California

  74. Glenn March 23, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    My parents are from a little village not far from Oviedo.I’ve been back 5 times I love it to the point I wanna go and live there one day.you will not be disappointed

  75. Armando March 25, 2016 at 4:22 am #

    I’m bursting with pride to hear so many people talking so highly about my home region. I myself would love to leave Asturias and see the wide world for a while, but I’ve always thought Asturias to be the place where I’d like to raise my family, or at least retire. But seriously, guys, keep coming here, we love having you by!

  76. Mary April 6, 2016 at 9:42 am #

    We are planning a trip to Spain to walk part of the Camino in September, but we didn’t know what other parts of Spain to travel until I stumbled on your wonderful article! I love Switzerland and this beautiful place has both mountains and ocean…outstanding pictures BTW! I love you blog!

  77. Phil April 26, 2016 at 6:35 am #

    I spent six months in Gijon in 1991, and now, 25 years later, it’s still the most memorable part of my life. Six months, no English, six months la fabada, la sidra, los mejillones, los ‘cielos grises’. Asturias, de mis amores!

  78. Ansy Austin May 12, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

    Hi there …. Planning a trip to Asturias. But don’t know much about the place. Can you suggest which area I should stay in? Would like to stay in a scenic place preferably. Also, are there beaches and can we stay by the beach?

    Would be great if you can help me with some info as I am planning to go this month end. My email is ansy.austin@gmail.com

    Thanks !

    • Liz May 16, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

      It’s up to you, depends on what you’re after!

  79. Brenda May 19, 2016 at 3:16 am #

    I just discovered this post when I did a search for Asturias (and will now subscribe to your blog). What a great description of the area: beautiful photos and even better writing! I have a quick question – if our Spanish is rudimentary, will we be able to communicate with the locals? Thanks!

    • Liz May 19, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

      Ummm might be tricky! Don’t think I spoke English the whole time I was there but that shouldn’t stop you!

  80. Barb July 18, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

    I was trying to decide where my husband and I were going to spend our annual trip this year. We travel to one place and spend 5 to 6 weeks. After reading your blog I decided we would rent an apartment for a month in Oviedo. At the end of our month we will rent a car and make a road trip out of places we want to visit. We plan on some day trips to close destination for our home base of Oviedo. We will be arriving Sept 5th. I am getting very excited.

  81. Nigel Harper August 29, 2016 at 4:58 am #

    Well you and the ‘Vuelta’, (Spain’s 3 week cycle race) has certainly inspired me to visit and photograph the region! Your enthusiasm for Asturias knows no bounds it seems and you have some great photos too! Cheers Nigel

  82. Jun October 7, 2016 at 9:41 am #

    Can you let me know if it rains a lot in Asturias in November? I have booked a trip to Barcelona and wondering if I should venture into the Basque country and environs.
    Thanks. love your blogs!

  83. Taj mahal tour October 9, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

    wonderful share thanks for the beautiful pictures i really wish to visit this places

  84. golden triangle tour October 9, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

    beautiful places thanks for share this…

  85. Maja Travels November 3, 2016 at 10:08 am #

    I was wondering about visiting this part of Spain. You convinced me 🙂

  86. Martin Scholz December 16, 2016 at 6:24 am #

    Thanks Liz,

    Fantastic pictures and great text!

    Was there a few years ago and is still totally convinced that Asturias is where home is. Totally understund your feeling of not wanting to share 🙂

    Really nice Reading!!

  87. Jen December 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

    Thanks Liz! I’ve been to Spain twice, the BIG 4 as you call them. But I’m returning to Spain again after reading this post! Do you think I can manage a hike around picos and see Asturias in about 6 days?

  88. Kim January 2, 2017 at 3:32 am #

    I am captivated by the scenes of Asturias through your photos Liz! I’m trying to make a dream come true this summer. I am a Spanish teacher so like you, I learned a lot about Spain in college. My study abroad was in Argentina which I was life changing. It is my dream to spend a minimum of 3-4 weeks in Spain with my family. Our boys are 16, 12 & 10. I’d like to spend about 1 week in 3 regions. Perhaps 1 week in the Barcelona and Sevilla areas and then one week in the North. Do you think the hiking in Asturias would be easy enough for a 10 year old? We are more like walkers than hikers! I would like to experience the “pure life” without outside influences. I wonder if there are things to see that would interest kids? Famous sights? They don’t need children’s museums anymore, but I would like to know if Asturias is more about the scenery or if there are things to do. I love, love, love that scenery. Don’t get me wrong… just wondering! Perhaps it would be more outdoorsy stuff like hiking and fishing? Or are there also destinations like castles? Forgive my ignorance, up until now I had forgotten much about Asturias except for the famed sidra! It looks so beautiful I think even the kids would love that! We also have friends living in the Rota, Cádiz área. Have you been there? I’m having a hard time choosing 3 regions for 3 weeks as Spain has so much to offer. Where would you spend your 3 weeks (with boys). My family has never been to Spain. I’ve only been once years ago with high school students on a quick trip that included Madrid, Sevilla and Torremolinos. Thank you so much for sharing! (even though you were not sure you should share about this hidden treasure!) ¡Saludos! Kim profesora de español y madre 🙂

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