Oviedo is the capital of Asturias. It is located in the northwest of Spain, roughly 20 kilometers away from the northern coast. The city is famous for its old architecture and its many historic sights. Furthermore, Oviedo is the only university city in Asturias. Here is our Oviedo travel guide, free to read for everybody!
In many ways, Oviedo is an underestimated travel destination. If you are into history and culture, you can spend several days there and marvel at the many great sights. Meanwhile, if you would like a calm vacation, the city is perfect once again: Oviedo might be the least stressful city ever, and it is one of the safest in Spain. Yet it still has great entertainment, such as a vibrant nightlife and plenty of regular events.
This guide should inform you about the most important things regarding Oviedo. And, of course, you can ask questions in the comment section if you’re curious about anything.
Facts about Oviedo
Here are some fun and useful facts to know about Oviedo:
- The capital of Asturias and one of the most important cities in northern Spain.
- Has a population of 220.000 people.
- Famous for its old architecture, particularly the cathedral.
- Just 30 minutes away from Gijón, the largest city of the region.
- Has a maritime climate, even though it is not located right by the coast.
- Many pilgrims walk through Oviedo on their way to Santiago de Compostela.
- An important university city – around 10% of the population are students.
- Nice and temperate weather for most of the year: Rarely too hot, but it can rain a lot.
History of Oviedo
According to some sources, Oviedo was founded by two monks in 761. It was supposed to be a hillside settlement with a small church. Before then, the area was uninhabited. Later on, King Alfonso I of Asturias liked the location and wanted to use it as his capital. It was a convenient place geographically, as the Asturian Kingdom was trying to defend itself against the Moors that had already taken control of most of Spain.
Initially, the idea was to make Oviedo look similar to the city of Toledo, due to its Visigoth influence. Even though some parts were inspired by Toledo, it ended up being a lot different, and Oviedo instead ended up with a late Roman style. Today, many visitors think that Oviedo is in some ways reminiscent to Santiago de Compostela. Particularly due to the impressions of the streets and architecture in the old part of Oviedo.
During the Middle Ages, the kings tried to make a wall around the city. Some parts still remain intact, and you can easily see it today. The university of Oviedo was established in 1574. In the following century, the city progressed a lot, and it expanded in all directions.
In more recent times, Oviedo has not claimed that much attention, except for a few occasions, such as the Siege of Oviedo in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War. The economy has changed from agriculture and industry into commercial services. The educational sector remains important, with over 10% of the population being students.
Most of Oviedo’s old architecture dates back to the 9th century. However, there is also a modern part of the city that has a distinctly different look. This is the part that started expanding during the 17th century, with big improvements being made in the 19th century.
What to do in Oviedo
When arriving in Oviedo, we highly recommend you to visit the old part of the city. Here you will find the majestic cathedral, narrow streets and great historic sights.
For more information on what to do in Oviedo, you can read our full article regarding sights and attractions in Oviedo. There’s a top 10 of the best things to see, and you’ll get special tips that you won’t find elsewhere.
Otherwise, simply enjoy the city, and do it in your own way. Visit the attractions that interest you the most, eat the food you enjoy the most, and be sure to remember all the memories after the trip is over!
How to get to Oviedo
There’s several ways to get to Oviedo. Here are the most common ones:
Asturias only has one airport. Conveniently, it is named Asturias Airport. Oviedo is around 47 kilometers away from it, and there is no direct train line connecting the two. Therefore, you have to take a car or a bus to get to the airport which almost always takes over an hour.
The airport has a lot of domestic routes to other Spanish cities – particularly to Madrid, Alicante and Valencia. However, there are occasional international connections, for example to London and Lisbon.
Most people do not get to Oviedo by airport, but rather by train.
Oviedo has a central train station with daily connections to several other Spanish cities. Every half hour, you can travel between Oviedo and Gijón.
The station also has a connection to Madrid. Renfe Alvia trains stop by at least three times per day, and it takes around four and a half hour to get to Madrid. Tickets cost around 20-30 euros if you book in advance.
Like any other mainland city, you can also drive to Oviedo. The travel time depends on your city of departure, so we can’t say much about that. But be aware that Oviedo is surrounded by mountains and that it can take a while to drive through Asturias, particularly in the southeastern side.
It is possible to rent a car in Oviedo, and that allows you to drive around in the region.
Read more about Oviedo
We have several other articles about Oviedo if you’re interested. You can read about the best attractions in the city, the best restaurants and most importantly the best places to stay.
Let us know below if you have any questions about Oviedo!