Asturias is an autonomous region in the northwest of Spain. It is bordered by Cantabria, Castile and Leon, Galicia, and the Bay of Biscay. Asturias is divided into eight counties (comarcas); the regional capital is Oviedo. Other large cities and towns include Gijon and Aviles; Gijon is the seaport and largest city in the region, Aviles is the main industrial town. The best way to get to Asturias is by train from Barcelona or with your own car. Having your own transportation to explore the small villages and winding mountain roads is ideal, since buses and trains may not get you to where you want to go.
Asturias has a rich ancient history. There are cave paintings that indicate the region was inhabited before Neanderthal times, megaliths and tumuli from the Bronze Age, and Celtic influences dating from the Iron Age. In part thanks to the mountains, the region was never fully conquered by the Romans, the Moors, or the Visigoths, although they all attempted the feat. With the Moorish invasion and the beginnings of Islamic Spain in the 8th century, the region became a refuge for Christian priests and the centre of the Reconquista. In the 14th century, Asturias was finally conquered by the Castiles and became part of the Kingdom of Spain. It became an autonomous community in 1981, after the Spanish Civil War and the demise of Francisco Franco Bahamonde in 1975.
Budget accommodation is plentiful, but not in hostel form. Traditional dorm-style hostels are few and far between in Asturias; you will have better luck searching for a guesthouse or budget hotel, where private rooms are affordable if not quite as cheap as a hostel. Search in the main cities of Oviedo or Gijon for the best results. In the small villages, consider a “hostal,” or family-run pension, where you will get a private room with shared bathroom and maybe even an evening meal.
Once you have your hotel accommodation sorted, explore this rich region. Asturias is considered one of the best hiking destinations in Europe, with over 300km of coastline to explore and nearly 5,000km of different hiking routes. Archaeological and architectural sites are plentiful as well: there are Celtic hill forts that date back to the Iron Age, the former ancient palace of the Asturian kings at Santa Maria del Naranco, Roman baths at Gijon, tiny alpine villages that are more reminiscent of Switzerland than Spain, and colourful coastal fishing villages.
With a plethora of things to do, you’ll never be bored in Asturias!
Hi, I'm Jakob Lombardi,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Asturias hostels. Welcome.