Oviedo, the capital city of Asturias, Spain. A hidden gem worth discovering.
We first heard about Oviedo after having watched Woody Allen’s classic – Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Remember when Javier Bardem invites the girls to visit Oviedo for a weekend jaunt from Barcelona? How can you not fall in love with it?
Juan Antonio: American?
Cristina: I’m Cristina, and this is my friend Vicky.
Juan Antonio: What color are your eyes?
Cristina: Uh, they’re blue.
Juan Antonio: Well, I’d like to invite you both to come with me to Oviedo.
Vicky: To come where?
Juan Antonio: To Oviedo. For the weekend. We leave in one hour.
Cristina: What- Where is Oviedo?
Juan Antonio: A very short flight.
Vicky: By plane?
Juan Antonio: Mmm-hmm.
Cristina: What’s in Oviedo?
Juan Antonio: I go to see a sculpture, that is very inspiring to me. A very beautiful sculpture. You will love it.
Vicky: Oh, right. you’re asking us to fly to Oviedo and back.
Juan Antonio: Mmmm. No, we’ll spend the weekend. I mean, I’ll show you around the city, and we’ll eat well. We’ll drink good wine. We’ll make love.
Vicky: Yeah, who exactly is going to make love?
Juan Antonio: Hopefully, the three of us.
Special Note: La Corrada del Obispo was a romantic restaurant ideal for a romantic invitations. In the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Juan Antonio tried to charm Vicky and Cristina there. Famous local, Letizia Ortiz chose it as the place for her special date with then, Prince Felipe. Things obviously went very well because the pair have since married; Letizia is also known as Princess of Asturias. Appropriately so because she was born in Oviedo. The mural you see above was painted for the movie and the owners decided to leave it in place after filming. Unfortunately for us, the restaurant was permanently closed at the time of our visit to Oviedo.
What to See
Oviedo is a fun, sophisticated city with elegant parks and busy, modern shopping streets. Aside from that, it is also the capital of Asturias. It is also a city filled with statues but we decided to write a separate post about that. Here you can read about the highlights of our city tour.
Calle Uria is Oviedo’s “high street” (which also runs along one side of the lovely Campo de San Francisco park). It is home to many of the city’s main fashion retailers, as well as restaurants, bars, cafés, pastry shops, and an El Corte Inglés department store. Apart from all that, Calle Uria is the perfect street for a stroll, thanks to its interesting architecture and wide pavements with plenty of room for window shopping.
Walking along Calle Uria, we notice something familiar. Oh wait, it’s Woody Allen!
He was a recipient of Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias prize.
Time to stop for coffee and cakes. Nearby is one of our favorite cafés, Confitería La Mallorquina. They serve delicious coffee and freshly baked, home-made pastries and cakes. Yummy!
The Sacred Heart of Jesus can be found on the outskirts of the city of Oviedo, 634 metre high (2,080ft) on Mount Naranco. The journey up this mountain to the summit is certainly worth it. Not only to see the statue of The Sacred Heart of Jesus but the views of Oviedo and the Asturian landscape below.
San Miguel de Lillo is a Roman Catholic pre-Romanesque Asturian architecture church built on the slope of Mount Naranco, near the Church of Santa María del Naranco in Asturias. It was completed in 842 and it was consecrated by Ramiro I of Asturias and his wife Paterna in the year 848. It was originally dedicated to St. Mary until this worship passed to the nearby palace in the 12th century, leaving this church dedicated to Saint Michael. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.
Iglesia de Santa María del Naranco is a Roman Catholic pre-Romanesque Asturian architecture church on the slope of Mount Naranco situated 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Oviedo, Asturias. Ramiro I of Asturias ordered it to be built as a royal palace as part of a larger complex that also incorporated the nearby church of San Miguel de Lillo, 100 meters away. It was completed in 842 and consecrated in 848.
Where to Eat
Now, you must be hungry from walking all around the city. Here are our favorite places to eat. A word of warning….stay away from the tourist areas for lunch and dinner. We had a poor food experience at La Sombra de Manzano on Calle Gascano, a few feet away from the statue of the Gitana. We had ordered chicken wings and a plate of aubergine with honey (eggplant). 2 food items we thought you couldn’t mess up. Well, both were tasteless and very oily. The first and only bad experience in all of Oviedo. It was our fault for waiting to stop for lunch at 2:45pm. We knew this was the time everyone would be having lunch.
26° Grados on Calle Maestro Don Marciano, 1, 33011 Oviedo, Asturias was our favorite place for breakfast. They served fresh, delicious food including a great cup of joe. John was thrilled because he was able to eat his favorite breakfast of bacon, eggs and toast, a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a big cup of coffee for only 4.50€.
Confitería La Mallorquina on Calle Milicias Nacionales, 5, 33003 Oviedo, Asturias, just a few feet away from the Woody Allen statue, was our favorite place for an afternoon cup of coffee and cakes.
Restaurante Parrilla Buenos Aires on Carr. Naranco, S/N, 33012 Oviedo, Asturias is the place to eat when visiting Monte Naranco. The day we were there, we had a plate of delicious ribs, salad and . There were only 3 of us but we could have fed at least 6!
Where to Stay
We stayed at Hotel El Retiro de Cardeo during our stay in Oviedo. It is located near HUCA (Hospital Universitario Central de Asturias), the university hospital. It is close to bus stops and walking distance to our favorite breakfast place, 26° Grados.
We highly recommend this hotel. The staff was very friendly, the room was clean and the beds were very comfortable. It had just the right amount of ammenities such as a good WiFi connection, room safe and bar fridge (with complimentary bottles of water each day).