When To Go
The summer months see plenty of warm, cloud-free days, with autumn and winter seeing the wettest weather. January and February are typically cold, with temper- atures dropping below 10 degrees c during the day, and plummeting down to below freezing overnight.
There are daily flights from Toronto and Vancouver to Oviedo—the largest city in the Asturias region—often connecting via Madrid, Barcelona or Paris. If travelling from within Europe, there are a number of ways to get to Asturias. Through Eurail (eurail.com), you can purchase one train pass for your entire trip. Alternatively, you can use Spain’s national rail company, REnFE, which can reach many Spanish cities. Domestic flights and other European flights are inexpensive and readily available.
You have your choice when it comes to navigating around Spain. Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the country on your own terms; it’s a safe and comfortable travel option and will likely get you to your destination faster than bus or train. If opting for public transportation, the bus is a less expensive option, but trains are often more comfortable, especially on long drives. A bus ride from Madrid to oviedo takes about five to six hours with numerous stops. Madrid is a common connecting city for transport to and from the north.
What to See and Do
Northern Spain, nicknamed “Green Spain,” is famous for its coastal beaches, its rugged mountains, and its exceptionally green valleys. The views alone are spectacular, but there are other reasons to visit the country’s northern coast.
The cuisine in the north is outstanding, famous for its seafood, cabrales cheese and cider. Popular regional dishes include fabada asturiana, a rich sausage and bean stew, and caldereta: a delicious fish stew with lobster, crab and white wine. Santiago de compostela (the northwest corner of Spain) has more restaurants and bars per square metre than any other spanish city. Each year in July, the Asturias region celebrates its famous cider with the nava cider Festival.
Oviedo’s century catedral de san salvador never fails to draw a crowd, nor does the asturian architecture throughout the region. The unique pre- Romanesque and Gothic style cathedrals and palaces in asturias have been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Picos de Europa—the range of mountains that is part of the mighty Cantabrian Mountains—spans 40 kilometres along the northern coast. The coastal trails along this mountain range offer impressive views, whether on a peaceful morning stroll or a challenging three-day hike. Another option is the Camino de Santiago, also known as the way of Saint James, a historical pilgrimage trail that spans the country. In summer, kayaking or canoeing along the sella River are popular, especially in august when the annual Ribadesella canoe race takes place. There are also combined tours, often week-long trips that allow you to explore the region through hiking, biking and canoeing.