Travel Guides Spain | Guide to Oviedo

Guide to Oviedo

What to do and see in Oviedo?

The city of Oviedo (capital of Asturias) dates back to the 8th century. It was founded thanks to the Fromestano Monastery which was built upon a hill called Ovetao, later a town followed and in the 18th century it became the capital of the Region of Asturias. Both the Camino de Santiago, which passes through Oviedo, and the university have helped to keep Oviedo on the tourist map.

The city has become more and more popular with visitors in recent years thanks to the increasing popularity of Asturias among Spaniards as a rural tourism destination. As a result, the standard of variety of services and lodging possibilities has shown a marked improvement (see hotels in Asturias for reviews of Oviedo's best hotels)

Monuments in Oviedo





Los Pilares Aquaduct (c/ Roberto S. Velázquez-Los Pilares ): This was built in the 16th century in order to provide the city with water and was used until 1875. Originally it contained 41 arches of which only 5 now remain. It was built by Juan de Cerecedo and by Gónzalo de la Bárcena.

The City Wall (mainly in c/ Paraíso): This has medieval origins. When it was built around the city it measured 1400 metres. Now only bits of it remain dotted around the city. It is now a Historic-Artistic monument.

La Foncalada Fountain: This was built in the middle ages by the Asturian king Alfonso III el Magno who reigned between 866-910. It was built for public use and to protect a natural spring.

The Town Hall (Plaza del Ayuntamiento, Tel: 985 98 18 00): It is located near the city wall, Baroque, built by the architect Juan de Naveda. it was renovated in 1939. The marble lion on its front door is the symbol for the city. It used to be located in the Plaza Mayor. It symbolizes the custodion of democratic values.

La Reconquista Hotel ( c/ Gil de Jaz, 16): This is in a former 18th century Baroque palace which was used as a hospital. It was built under the orders of king Fernando VI by the architect Pedro Antonio Menéndez. It is an incredibly beautiful building. This is where all celegbrities stay as well as the Spanish Royal family when the annual ceremony where the Príncipe de Asturias prizes are awarded by the crown prince. The 'Patio de la Reina' is especially interesting, it was named after Queen Isabel II to commemorate her visit.

The Market and Plaza del Fontán (the Fontan square): This is a beautiful square surrounded by arches in the old part of the city. It was built in 1792 by the architect Francisco Pruneda and Cañal as a market square. At present it is a meeting point in the city. Although on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays an interesting market is still held here.

The Campoamor Theatre (c/ Pelayo): This is a Neoclassic theatre built between 1883 and 1892 by Juan Miguel de la Guardia, in accordance with plans designed by José López Salaberry and Sirgo Borrajo Montenegro. It was built by public subscription by the bourgeoisie who felt the need to have a larger theatre to meet their high demands. In its day it was built to include all the latest technology and luxuries from that period. When it was opened in 1892 it became the central point of the city and is now the setting for the annual Príncipe de Asturias Arts and Science award ceremony. It is in perfect condition following several renovations over the years.

San Salvador Cathedral (Plaza Alfonso II, Tel: 985 22 10 33 ): The Cathedral incorporated both Gothic and Baroque styles. It was built in the 9th century upon the remains of the San Salvador pre Romanesque church dating back to 761 which had been destroyed by the Arabs. King Alfonso II ordered it to be rebuilt and dedicated it to the same saint and the 12 apostles. It is a very interesting building and possess many interesting features like: la Camara Santa (the Saint chamber which is now a museum), the Angels' cross, the old tower, the church museum, the pilgrims' cemetery, the Capitular room and the cloisters. It has been perfectly restored because for centuries no restoration work was permitted.

Churches in Oviedo

  • Iglesia de San Isidoro el Real (Plaza de la Constitución): This is located opposite the Town Hall. It is Classicist with Baroque elements. It was built between 1616 and 1681 by the architect Francisco Menéndez Camina. The facade is quite sober although in contrast to its severe exterior the interior is decorated luxuriously. In 2004 three 18th century carvings were restored and put on display, one of which is of San Isidoro, the patron saint of the city. It is a Historic-Artistic monument.
  • Santo Domingo Convent (Plaza Santo Domingo): This is located in the Champillín gardens. It was founded in 1518 by the Jesuites. It is now used as a college by the Dominicans. It has an interesting church which became a national monument in 1944. It was built by Juan de Cerecedo "El Viejo". It is a mixture of Baroque, Plateresque, Gothic and Neoclassic styles. The alterpiece, Nuestra Señora del Rosario chapel and the Baroque altarpiece of the Nazareno chapel are interesting. It has a Neoclassic entrance with very beautiful Plateresque details.
  • Nuestra Señora del Rey Casto Chapel: Built in the 18th century upon the remains of the 9th century pre Roman basilica of Santa Maria. It is the pantheon of the Asturian Kings. In 1705 a bishop called Tomás Reluz was responisble for the construction of this chapel which was built by the architect Bernardo de Haces. The pantheon is right at the entrance of the chapel and is separated from the rest of the building by a grill on which the names of the kings buried there are engraved.
  • Iglesia de San Juan El Real (you can enter it through 3 streets Campoamor, Doctor Casal and Melquíades Álvarez): It was built upon the remains of a previous church which was destroyed. Built between 1921 and 1915 in a Romanesque style. The outside of the building is notable for its polychrome and pretty shapes (2 square bell towers and a neo Romanesque entrance). The modern stained glass windows and the frescos on its dome are interesting...
  • San Pelayo Monastery (c/ San Vicente, 5) : This belongs to the Benedictine order called las pelayas. Built in the 10th century by King Sancho el Gordo de León's widow who ordered the remains of San Pelayo to be moved there. This is a pre Romanesque monastery. It is located next to Santa María la Real de la Corte church. The church belonging to the monastery was completed in 1601 by Bernardo de la Cajiga and Diego de Villa. It has a Herreriano facade. The Asturian Baroque facade of the vicarage next to the monastery is also worth a look.
  • Iglesia de San Julián de los Prados (Bº de Santullano): Built between 812 and 842 under the orders of King Alfonso II el Casto. It is the largest pre Romanesque temple in Spain and is World Heritage Site. It is also a national monument.
  • Iglesia de San Tirso (Plaza Alfonso II): 9th century. Although it was originally built in a pre Romanesque style, following numerous renovations over the centuries only one window in this style remains.

Palaces and Castles in Oviedo

  • La Rúa Palace: (Plaza Alfonso II El Casto, the Old Part): Late Gothic, built at the end of the 15th century byAlonso González de la Rúa. A sober palace with a military air to it. The facade and the main entrance are interesting.
  • Los Marqueses de Camposagrado Palace (Plaza de Porlier, casco antiguo): Baroque, built in 1710 by the architect Francisco de la Riba Ladrón de Guevara under the orders of José Bernardo de Quirós, III Marquis of Campo Sagrado. It is a square palace with 4 floors and a central patio. The most striking feature is its Rococo facade on the Plaza de Porlier, the other facade is more discreet and is found on c/San Juan. It became a Historic- Artistic monument in 1943 and is now used as the High Court for Asturias.
  • Regional Palace (C\Fruela 17): Neo French. This palace was built by the government in 1910 to be the headquarters of the Provincial government. It was built upon the remains of the San Francisco Convent by the architect Nicolás García Rivero. Its most striking features are inside the building: its staircase, the furniture, pretty decorative details and the room where the regional parliament holds sessions. It is now used as the headquarters of the Asturian regional government.
  • Los Duques del Parque Palace (the Old Part): The 7th Marquis of Vallecerrato, decided to built this palace which was designed by the architect Francisco de la Riba Ladrón de Guevara. Baroque. It has an interesting fountain situated on its left wall known as Cañu de Fontán, which was built in 1657 and restored in 1989.
  • Toreno or Mallena Palace (Plaza de Porlier, the Old Part): This is Baroque. The politician and historian José María Queipo de Llano, VII, count of Torenoes, was born here. The count of Toreno ordered this palace to be built in 1673 by the architect Gregorio de la Roza. Its original asymmetrical facade, its interior patio with Tuscan style columns and its main entrance also framed by columns are all of particular interest. It is a Historic-Artistic monument and is currently used as the headquarters of the Royal Institute of Education for Asturia (RIDEA) and belongs to the regional government.
  • Valdecarzana-Heredia Palace (Plaza de Alfonso II El Casto, the Old Part): Baroque, it was built in the 17th century by the Marquis of Valdecazarna. Later in the 18th century it was inhabited by Antonio Heredia Velarde, mayor of the city who ordered the architect Manuel Reguera to build the facade. It was used as a casino during the 19th century until the first republic was declared. Now it is used by the regional government.
  • Santa María del Naranco Palace: This is located on a hill on the outskirts of Oviedo. It is pre Romanesque and was built by King Ramiro I, for his personal use between 842-850.

Museums in Oviedo

  • Santa de la Capilla Palatina Chamber: A world heritage site, it is situated within Oviedo cathedral. It was built in the 9th century under the orders of King Alfonso II. The treasures and sacred relics belonging to the cathedral are kept here. It is a world heritage site.
  • The Asturias Archeological Museum: (C/ San Vicente, 3, Tel: 985 21 54 05): Located behind the cathedral, it is situated in the former San Vicente monastery. The museum was built in the 20th century. It houses archeological finds as well as ethnography found in Asturias since the palaeolithic period. It is especially interesting for its pre Romanesque artefacts.
  • The Historical Archives of Asturias: (C/ Del Aguila): The City's Historical Museum;
    The Bellas Artes Museum: (C/ La Rúa, 8 and Santa Ana, 3, Tel: 985 21 30 61): Since 1980 it has been housed in the former Velarde palace, which was built in 1767 by Manuel Reguera. Baroque
  • The Tabularium Artis Avulienses Museum: (Cardenal Inguanzo, 6, Tel: 985 21 36 44): Created and sponsored by Joaquín Manzanares Rodríguez-Mier, mostly consists of Asturian pre Romanesque and archeological artefacts.

The Area around Oviedo

Oviedo is located in the centre of Asturias in an area full of valleys and mountains. It is an ideal place for adventure and mountain sports such as hiking, rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, skiing (you can also go on skiing courses here), cycling, horse riding and treking...The areas around Oviedo are: Quirós, Belmonte de Miranda, LLanera, Grado, Nava, Cabranes, Noreña, Proaza, Somiedo, Las Regueras, Tameza, Tevergal, Riosa, Ribera de Arriba, Sariego, Santo Adriano, Salas and Siero.

  • Somiedo: The Somiedo Natural Park. Horse riding.
  • Grado: Pico de Caldoveiro protected natural area. Founded by Alfonso X el Sabio in 1256. There are remains of the medieval city wall.
  • Miranda-Caldecarzana Palace: 16th century, it was restored in the 17th and 18th centuries. Now the Casa de Cultura (culture house) is based here.
  • Los Dolores Chapel: This is the most emblematic building in the city. It was built under the orders of the 3rd marquis of Valdecarzana between 1713-1716. The family crypt was desecrated in the civil war. It is a Baroque chapel built by the architect Francisco de la Riva Ladrón de Guevara.
  • Fernández Miranda House: Neoclassic and Baroque - 18th century.
  • Proaza: Pico de Caldoveiro, a protected natural area, ideal for hiking.
  • Iglesia de Sta Mª de Bandujo: Romanesque
  • Casa del Oso: This is a museum about the building of the railway and the Senda del Oso (the bear route).
  • Tameza: Pico de Caldoveiro, a protected natural area
  • Tevergal: Pico de Caldoveiro, a protected natural area.
  • Quirós: Sierra de Aramo and Peña Ubiña protected natural areas.
  • Morcín: Sierra de Aramo protected natural area. Paleolithic origins.
  • Prehistoricos artefacts: Iron Age tools have been discovered in Castiellu and Peñerúes.
  • Peñerrudes Tower: This is a 12th century defensive medieval tower which is a historic monument.
  • San Miguel Chapel: King Alfonso II kept the the Arca Santa here which contained relics from Jerusalem to protect against the infidels. From then on the chapel was called the Cámara Santa (saints chamber).
  • Molín Cave: Cave paintings. It has been declared as cultural tourist attracton.
  • Ermitas de Arriba These chapels are dedicated to Santa Catalina, Santiago, Santa María Magdalena de Monsacro. They became national historic monuments in 1992.
  • Iglesia de Santa Eulalia: 9th century Pre-Romanesque
  • Riosa: Sierra de Aramo, a protected natural area.


Travelling to Oviedo? The following links may also be useful
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