Sidra has been a big part of our Asturian experience -- from learning the art of the Escanciado, to sitting with friends at one of the many sidrerías on Calle Gascona. There's something grandly social about cider, and we've made sure to drink as much as possible.
Oviedo may be the political center of the Principality of Asturias, but Covadonga is its spiritual heart. This mountain sanctuary near Cangas de Onís is where King Pelayo led a ragtag bunch of Christians to victory over a much larger Muslim force in the 8th century. It was Christianity's first triumph since the Moorish conquest of Iberia, and marked the beginning of the 800-year Reconquista.
The Picos de Europa are a huge mountain range that straddles the border between Asturias, Cantabria and León, just twenty kilometers from the ocean, and a paradise for mountain climbers, nature lovers and hikers.
At the end of the 19th century, Spain was mired in one of its darkest periods. Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Philippines were gone as a result of the Spanish-American War, and an unsuccessful attempt to conquer Morocco had left the country in a tailspin. Many escaped to the New World, where society was on the rise rather than in decline. This included a massive number of Asturians: mostly single, young and ambitious. They lent their enthusiasm to the growing countries of the Western Hemisphere, and made a fortune doing so.
The coast around Llanes is well-known as one of the most stunning areas in Spain, and during a recent trip there, we sought out one of the features which makes it special: Gulpiyuri beach.
During our three months in Asturias, we've seen a lot of wonderful towns. Just check out our Day Trips Map! But none of them have impressed us as much as Llanes, an absolutely gorgeous city in the east of the Principality. A perfect melding of tradition and modernity, Llanes is full of beautifully restored buildings, and boasts an expansive ancient center separated from the day-to-day village life by medieval walls.
Time was running out! With just over one week left in Asturias, we looked at the map and realized we hadn't explored the Principality's western half at all. Time for a road trip.
While Jürgen's family was visiting from Germany, we spent a day driving around the Comarca de la Sidra and ended up in a tiny town called Grases, which home to Los Caserinos: a family-owned farm that's been making cheese and milk for nearly a century.
A road winds from the religious playland of Covadonga through a mountainous landscape, and ends at Enol and Ercina, twin glacial lakes separated at birth by a hilly clump of land.
One of the most visited towns in all of Asturias is also one of its oldest. Serving as the entrance to the parks of Covadonga, the village of Cangas de Onís is inundated every weekend and throughout the summer with religious tourists who've come to pay tribute to the spiritual heart of Asturias.
Jutting out into the Cantabrian sea, Cabo Peñas (the Cape of Rocks) is the most northern point in Asturias and an area of incredible natural beauty. We spent the day driving around the coast, from Luanco to the Lighthouse of San Juan de Nieva.
The road between Colunga and Arriondas winds through the Sueve mountain range. Midway through the drive, is a viewpoint called the Mirador del Fito, which offers an incredible view of the ocean, valleys and the Picos de Europa in the distance.