What to see and do on a rail journey through beautiful Asturias, Spain

What to see and do on a rail journey through beautiful Asturias, Spain

This is an advertorial feature in partnership with Inntravel.

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.

horreo

Hórreos in Asturias. Image from Pixabay.

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

San Juan el Real Oviedo Asturias Spain

San Juan el Real is a spectacular church in Oviedo.

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).

Costa Verde

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

cabrales

Cabrales cheese.

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.

Old house in Picos de Europa Asturias Spain

Picos de Europa combines dramatic peaks with bucolic open meadows.

Asturias cider

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:

Eight top things to do in Ibiza with kids

Family-friendly Tenerife. A cousin to the UK’s Scotland?

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51 Comments

  1. January 26, 2018 / 6:12 pm

    That cider pouring is harder than it looks! I love the idea of the land of cheese especially with scenery and history thrown in, a region I should add to my list of ones to discover!

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:23 pm

      Yes, I’d love to visit, too.

  2. iain maciver
    January 26, 2018 / 8:53 pm

    quite a few of them

  3. Solange
    January 26, 2018 / 10:14 pm

    Traditions & History of Crete.

  4. January 27, 2018 / 9:53 am

    Nell, you had me at “Land of Cheese”! Inn Travel is a brilliant company, I used to book it for clients when I was a travel agent. I’ll defnitely be using them for some adventures with my kids. And I’ll enter that cider competition right now!

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:35 pm

      They do sound good.

  5. Gemma Cook
    January 27, 2018 / 12:42 pm

    The Walking holiday in Cyprus (The Three Faces of Cyprus) looks excellent!
    My husband and I enjoy our walking hols and Cyprus is definitely on our holiday #bucketlist.

  6. jo liddement
    January 27, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Austria has stunning scenery and i love the sound of the Lake Achensee & it’s Mountains walking holiday.

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:36 pm

      Why thank you! 😉

  7. Sheena Batey
    January 27, 2018 / 9:00 pm

    I think I would like Saalfelden Leogang in Austria even though I don’t ski. I do like the crispness of snow and the scenery.

  8. Sheena Batey
    January 27, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    Slow Train through Asturias sounds idyllic though

  9. pete c
    January 27, 2018 / 9:44 pm

    the Asturias slow train experience I am sure would be fantastic

  10. January 27, 2018 / 10:15 pm

    Great effort Nell! This train journey sounds incredible;) Friebds have travelled with Inntravel and were very complimentary about their service.

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:36 pm

      I’ve heard good things, too.

  11. January 28, 2018 / 8:42 am

    Austria and Spain appeal to me. These sounds like slightly different holidays. I like the Slow approach too.

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Yes, it’s very appealing right now.

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Yes, it’s very appealing right now.

  12. January 28, 2018 / 10:45 am

    I love this approach Nell, the idea to take the slow approach and take time getting to know a destination!

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:45 pm

      Yes, it does really appeal to me, too.

  13. January 28, 2018 / 2:22 pm

    I really like the sound of Inntravel as a company and will be checking them out for travel later this year. I also REALLY like Asturias. We went last February and it was just utterly beautiful, really relaxed and unspoilt! We will definitely return! 🙂 x

    • Nell
      Author
      January 31, 2018 / 8:45 pm

      Ooh, you lucky thing, you!

  14. Kim M
    January 28, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    Luacra looks lovely x

  15. Kim M
    January 28, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    Luacra looks lovely x

  16. cheryl hadfield
    January 28, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Traditions & History of Crete sounds good

  17. Angeline Gregory
    January 28, 2018 / 11:34 pm

    The privately guided to India looks amazing. The people, the culture, the food. Take me there!

  18. john prendergast
    January 28, 2018 / 11:46 pm

    On the Waterfront in Portugal with Inntravel

  19. claire griffiths
    January 30, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    Asturias slow train experience i would love

  20. Christine Caple
    February 1, 2018 / 11:31 am

    I think the Slow Train through Asturias would be fab

  21. February 1, 2018 / 4:35 pm

    Personally I would love to try the slow train ride through Asturias. It sounds like a beautiful area and I can’t resist cheese and cider

  22. Melissa Lee
    February 2, 2018 / 8:13 am

    I think the history of Crete would be amazing. It’s a beautiful island.

  23. Ruth Harwood
    February 2, 2018 / 8:36 am

    would love a tour round the atlas mountains in Morocco! xx

  24. Clare Hubbard
    February 2, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    The Asturias slow train experience look amazing

  25. Emma Walton
    February 2, 2018 / 9:04 pm

    The cider pouring looks fun! I would choose the Asturias slow train experience 🙂

  26. Samantha R
    February 3, 2018 / 10:04 am

    I’d love to go to Sweden 🙂

  27. February 3, 2018 / 6:40 pm

    A rail trip sounds like and amazing way to do this! And it’s such a beautiful part of the country.

  28. ADEINNE TONNER
    February 5, 2018 / 6:58 pm

    I think it would have to be the northern lights break to Reyjavik in Iceland

  29. Elizabeth Smith
    February 8, 2018 / 9:36 am

    I like the sound of A Sardinian Discovery.
    I’ve been to Asturias with work and can attest to the quality of the cider!

  30. Susan B
    February 8, 2018 / 11:42 am

    Bustling Cities & Serene Fjords from the Norway selection looks fab. Thanks for the giveaway and intro to Inn Travel. You’ve got me dreaming of lovely holidays…

  31. Amanda Gregory
    February 8, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    Sweden’s West Coast holiday looks like the sort of holiday I would love.

  32. Anthea Holloway
    February 8, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    The Best of Roman Provence in France sounds a wonderful holiday to me.

  33. Hazel Rea
    February 8, 2018 / 9:53 pm

    A Cotswold Treat – love the idea of walking between hotels in lovely countryside.

  34. Joanne Beale
    February 9, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    Would love discover Segovia, Salamanca and Madrid, with two nights in each

  35. Michelle Wild
    February 9, 2018 / 1:19 pm

    Saalfelden Leogang in Austria.

  36. Tee Simpson
    February 9, 2018 / 9:24 pm

    The slow train ride through Asturias sounds amazing

  37. Kerry H
    February 9, 2018 / 10:04 pm

    The family holiday to Mallorca would be perfect. I like that you can chooseto depart from Edinburgh airport.

  38. Adrian Bold
    February 9, 2018 / 10:13 pm

    Slow Train through Asturias sounds great!

  39. Natalie Crossan
    February 9, 2018 / 11:28 pm

    Traditions & History of Crete. x

  40. February 15, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    Asturias sounds like an amazing place. The train journey sounds like a great trip to take.

    • Nell
      Author
      March 9, 2018 / 10:03 am

      Doesn’t it just sound amazing??

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