Destination Countryside: Asturias, Spain

How do describe a place so diverse? How do you put into words beauty that transcends and makes you fall silent? How do you see Asturias and manage to forget it? There is simply no way – none of those three things are possible. Whereas you would never want to do the last, let me try to do the first two for you.

If you are looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life for a getaway into the peace, serenity and beauty of the countryside, there are few better places anywhere in the world than Asturias. Asturias is located on the Atlantic coast of Spain and it is the only part of Spain that did not fall into the hands of Islam with the African Moors. In fact, Asturias has retained its Celtic heritage with pride – you will see stone houses in the mountains and even bagpipes native to the region!

The region has vast stretches of rocky shoreline and foot-access only white sand beaches, snow-capped mountains that would make you think you are in the Alps, endless stretches of green grass and farms, and even a network of caves with prehistoric art that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. The capital, Oviedo, has been featured in a Hollywood movie and there is even a statue of Woody Allen here.

However, Asturias has no need of Hollywood for an audience – her scenery, history and heritage are more than enough of a draw.The Campoamor opera house, charming produce market and some of the best dining in Spain all have pride of place here.

For the gastronomically-inclined, Asturias offers the best cheese in Spain. The quality and variety of cheese and also of cider in the region is unsurpassed. Oviedo’s seafood is divine for both its freshness and its preparation.Whether you want to climb rocky mountains, trek along grass-filled valleys or cool off in small pools of perfectly clear water it seems no one has discovered before, this is the place to do it. Fingers of lush green land jut out into the ocean water, nestling small beaches upon which gentle waves lap. Picturesque fishing towns lie along the coast, the ideal blend of idyllic country life and small bursts of action when the boats put out to sea. Mists drift through the mountains while the forests hide wolves, bears and even an endangered species of wild pony. Small stone bridges, covered in moss and watched over by leaning trees make Asturias seem like a scene from a fairytale.

I have never written of a place that offers so many different, completely unique sights and experiences and I doubt I ever will. If you are looking for a country vacation, Asturias is the very first place that should be on your list.

The summer period between late June and August is the best time to discover Asturias in all its glory and wonder.

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