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Picture yourself leaning back into a comfortable train seat, enjoying the eye-catching scenery of Asturias, Spain. Out of the window, lush hills and pastureland tumble down to grassy cliffs, which in turn frame small, secluded beaches. Soon, your train will stop its chugging route along the narrow-gauge FEVE railway, and you will disembark at a pretty town. Here you’ll eat a delicious lunch of cured meats and strong, creamy cheese, washed down with dry local cider. Then you’ll continue your journey on foot, through bottle-green pasture land and past the red-roofed homesteads and hórreos (granaries on stone pillars) dotted around the fields.
If all this sounds enticing, you should look out for rail holidays that pass through Asturias, Spain. Inntravel’s seven-night slow train holiday is one of them. The journey takes you along on the FEVE, a narrow-gauge railway running through the lush, green coast of northern Spain.
Here are some exciting places to see, and things to do along the way.
Oviedo, the capital of Asturias in Spain
Asturias’ charming capital boasts a medieval Old Town and a Museum of Fine Arts, showcasing Spanish, Flemish and Italian art from the Middle Ages to the 20th Century. Travellers to the compact city can find accommodation in fine casas de Indianos – palatial homes built from fortunes made in the Americas. On its new holiday, Inntravel offers stays at two of these comfortable and highly individual hotels.
Things to do in Oviedo Spain
– Visit the beautiful Palacio de Santa María del Naranco, a UNESCO world heritage site.
– explore the city’s main park: Campo de San Francisco, 90,000 square metres of wide paths, ruined monuments, ponds, fountains, green meadows and woodland.
– buy cheeses and souvenirs at the Mercado El Fontán, a market dating back to the 19th century.
– learn about the region’s history in the Centro de Interpretación del Prerrománico Asturiano (the Pre-Romanic Interpretation Centre of Asturias).
Spain’s “Green Coast”, set along the edge of the Bay of Biscay, is less well-known than some other Spanish regions. Huge rocky cliffs, hidden coves and rolling green hills line the coast. Set between the mountains and Atlantic Ocean, Costa Verde features elegant seaside resorts and beguiling medieval towns with narrow, cobbled streets and traditional cafés. Asturias beaches are popular with surfers but lots of them are deserted, so if you want to you can really lose yourself in the silence of the northern Spanish coast.
Cheese from Asturias
Asturias in Spain is nicknamed ‘El Pais de Queso‘ or ‘The Land of Cheese’. More than 100 different types of artisanal cheeses are produced in Asturias, including the piquant Cabrales, Gamoneu Afuega’l pitu and Casín.
Picos de Europa mountain range
The spectacular Picos de Europa straddles southeast Asturias, southwest Cantabria and northern Castilla y León. With a high point of 2648m and encompassing a national park of 671-sq-km, the Picos is popular with ramblers and climbers alike. Its sheer rock faces and river gorges make for dramatic scenery, while wide, bucolic open meadows break up the vista of craggy limestone peaks.
Asturias is renowned among cider connoisseurs as one of the best places in Europe to sample the drink. The region’s cider is delicious – dry, non-sparkling, and slightly cloudy. It’s also served in a distinctive, and rather entertaining fashion. To help release the aromas of the drink, an ‘escanciador‘ waiter pours it into the glass from a great height. They make it look easy, but it’s something that clearly takes years of practice. As I discovered, when Inntravel challenged me to try and pour some cider the Asturian way.
Oops. Cider on the kitchen floor!
Asturias is the biggest producer of cider in Spain, and the fourth biggest in Europe. The apple-based drink has been made in the region since before the middle ages. These days it’s sold in sidrerias, which are like bars. Some have restaurants attached.
What is Asturias weather like?
Asturias enjoys a balanced climate that includes winters with rain and snow. Asturian summers can be warm and sunny, with temperatures easily reachin 25 degrees centigrade or more. Rainfall is more frequent than the hot, dry south of Spain. The milder temperatures make Asturias’ a more bearable climate for walkers, hikers and cyclists, making this a popular region for people looking for an active holiday.
ASturias isn’t the only Spanish region to featue on this blog. We took back some travel tips from our first ever overseas trip with both children, to Andalucia in the south of Spain. Read our Travel tips for families going away together for the very first time.
All images are from Pixabay.
If you want to read more features on Spain, check out these other posts on the Pigeon Pair and Me:
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