The Principality of Asturias lies to the North East of the Iberian Peninsula and is bounded to the north by the Bay of Biscay and to the south by the formidable mountain range of the Cordillera Cantábrica. The Community forms a narrow strip of fertile land that makes it an ideal blend of rural retreat and raw coastal attraction.
Common to all the northern Autonomous Communities is the spread of the population, which is much more dense in the urban industrialized regions of Gijon, Oviedo, Avilés, Mieres and Langeo.
In the mountainous regions to the south, the main economic base is agricultural and it is from here that many of the ingredients for the typical and delicious food of the regions come.
In terms of cuisine, Asturias is famous for its Fabada, a delicious stew of beans and meat. It is also here that you can taste Cabrales, a strong blue cheese, all of this washed down with a glass of strong, richly flavoured cider.
The large cities of Asturias include Oviedo, Gijon and Avilés, all centrally located. Oviedo, the capital city of Asturias guards its main historic buildings, including the flamboyant cathedral, around the Plaza of Alfonso II El Costo.
Gijon, lying on the coast has a long sea-faring tradition and also provides access to some of the most beautiful surround countryside in Asturias.
There’s no doubt that for sheer breadth of scope between mountainous farmlands and busy coastal industrial centers, all tied together with a lattice of exquisite beauty spots and excellent food, Asturias excels.
Routes and Places worth a Visit
To the east of Asturias is the National Park of the Montaña de Covadonga, which attracts visitors with its breathtaking beauty and abundant wildlife. From the town of Covadonga it is easy to visit the area which is situated in the western part of the Picos de Europa, one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in Europe
As well as tastes and smells, Asturia also offers a host of beautiful sites and sounds. One of the most beautiful places to visit is the coastal town of Llanes, which offers not only an old castle and tower surrounded by ancient streets, but also some spectacular cliff walks, and at Colombres you can visit the painted caves of El Pindal.
Gastronomy fit for a Prince
Asturias is a mountainous land with green meadows, luscious woods and forests an abundance of water and fjords of great beauty. It also has a dark side of tormented seas, high forbidding cliffs and the desolate feeling of lost romance. All of these ingredients go to fashion the gastronomy of the kingdom and there is an equal abundance of fish dishes, shellfish, meat, vegetables, fruit and cheese that is only of the highest quality.
These primary materials, together with the famous Asturian imagination are used as the fundamental basis of the cuisine which is based on traditional recipes and well tried menus.
Of course, all of this richness needs to be tempered with a drink that is equally flavoursome. The cider of Asturias is unrivalled anywhere in the world. Grown from apples that are fed by the clearest of mountain waters, cider forms the liquid basis of all Asturian cuisine.
Fiestas and Celebrations
Arriondas / Ribadesella. This fiesta is held on the first Saturday of August and is a fiesta for canoes.
Cangas de Onís. Festival in honour of the shepherds and the great work they do. The festival is held on the 25th July.
Gijón: Day of Asturias. The festival is held on the first Sunday of August and is a great knees up.
Nava. Second Saturday of July, the festival of cider, the nacional drink of Asturias.