Even though it rained the entire time we were there (end of February), I still highly recommend a trip to the north of Spain! The greenery, mountains, and sea were a welcome change after a winter spent in Madrid. With a 6 hour nighttime bus ride behind us we were able to spend almost three full days exploring Oviedo and Gijón.
Oviedo is about a half hour bus ride from Gijón (buses run regularly between the two cities and a roundtrip costs about €5), and our day there was spent frequenting the local sidrerías (cider houses) and sampling some of the best calamari that I’ve had in a long time. There is a ritual to drinking the local cider so watch and learn – and let your bartender pour your drinks!
The Cathedral of San Salvador located at the center of Oviedo is an impressive example of Gothic architecture and is worth a (free) visit. We also spent a few hours wandering through the galleries in the Museum of Fine Arts, which houses a great collection of works by local artists.
We stayed in Gijón for the weekend (Hotel Costa Verde – €30/night for a room with double beds) and experienced every foodie’s dream holiday. I’d heard that the majority of the rest of Spain is cheaper than Madrid but didn’t fully believe it until I had experienced it firsthand. We left most sidrerías after consuming between 6 and 8 bottles of cider (between eight of us) having spent about €2.50. Breakfasts were the same – coffee for five and a good assortment of sizable raciones for about the same price.
At El Globo we had an amazing cheese plate complete with honey and Cabrales, a local blue cheese. Here I also had my first taste of sea urchin that wasn’t wrapped in nori.
At El Feudo we chose to get the menu of the day (€11) – good quality and a great value. Here we sampled Fabada an Asturian stew made with beans and different types of sausages. It’s the perfect comfort food after a long walk along the cities coastline in the rain.