Today, I’ll be sharing with you the things that you can do on a one day tour in Oviedo, Asturias with small kids in the hope that it will help you if you’re planning to visit Oviedo soon with your small kids.
This is based on my family’s experience as we toured Oviedo, Asturias for one day (last July 14) with our toddlers aged 3 1/2 and 1 1/2.
The tour was part of our summer vacation for this year where we decided to go to Asturias and Santiago de Compostela.
But first, let me tell you a bit about Asturias and Oviedo.
Asturias is one of the 17 regions of Spain (officially known as the Principality of Asturias) located northwest. It’s about 895 km from Barcelona, with an 8 hour and 49 minutes estimated driving time.
That is if you drive non-stop, which is very impossible when traveling with small kids. We left home at around 9 am, stopped several times, and arrived in our accommodation at 10 pm – a total of 13 hours drive.
The long drive is totally worth it though because entering Asturias is like being transported into a paradise with its super green scenery of mountains, forests, rivers, etc. No wonder Asturias is part of Green Spain.
I first set foot in Asturias when my husband brought me to accompany him for work in the summer of 2017 while I was still pregnant with #1.
My husband had to go to Asturias once again for work, so we decided that the kids and I will tag along and make it a “workation” of sorts. Papi works, while kids and I are on vacation mode. But it’s only for the Asturias part, it’s purely vacation for Papi, too, in Santiago de Compostela. 🙂
He was free on the 2nd day of our arrival in Asturias, so we decided to explore the city of Oviedo.
Oviedo is the capital city of Asturias which is known for its medieval old town with its old buildings, and cobbled-stone streets.
There are a lot of things to do and see in Oviedo, but if you only have one day to explore and with small kids in tow, it means seeing only a few of the tourist attractions, just like our weekend trip to Peniscola, Spain with small kids. But it definitely doesn’t mean less fun and less memorable!
7 Things To Do On A One Day Tour In Oviedo, Asturias With Small Kids
1. Visit The Magnificent Oviedo Cathedral.
Visiting the beautiful, gothic Oviedo Cathedral is a must whether you are traveling as a couple or as a family with small or big kids. The Cathedral is also known as the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Saviour, or shortly San Salvador Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana Basilica de San Salvador in Spanish).
Before we entered the Cathedral, we first attended the 12 noon mass in the Chapel of Chaste King which is located on the left side of the Cathedral. We let the kids play a bit in the garden just in front of the chapel after the mass, before finally entering the Cathedral.
Oviedo Cathedral entrance fee is 7€/person and kids under 12 are free. The admission fee includes a free audio guide (per person) that you can claim at the entrance, right after paying.
Oviedo Cathedral Opening Hours
The San Salvador Cathedral is also famous because it is known to house “The Holy Shroud Of Oviedo” which is located in the Holy Chamber or Camara Santa of the Cathedral. The Holy Shroud of Oviedo, also known as Sudarium Of Oviedo is a bloodstained piece of cloth measuring c. 84 x 53 cm (33 x 21 inches) that is believed to be the cloth that was wrapped around the head of Jesus Christ after his death.
According to history, The Sudarium of Oviedo was first transported from Palestine in 614 AD to avoid destruction, then it traveled to several places before it arrived in Spain. It is said to first arrive in Cartagena, then it was moved to Seville, then to Toledo, before it finally arrived in Oviedo.
You have to take 2 sets of stairs to get into the Camara Santa housing The Shroud Of Oviedo.
Oviedo Cathedral is also one of the main destinations for pilgrims who are doing the Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James). In fact, Camino Primitivo is a trail that starts in the Cathedral of Oviedo and finishes at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. According to Stingy Nomads, it’s considered to be the toughest out of all the Camino de Santiago routes due to many steep up and downhills.
There’s a saying (that I learned while reading more about Oviedo Cathedral) that goes:
“Who goes to Santiago but not to Salvador,
visits the servant but not the Lord.”
If you’ll be doing the Camino de Santiago, soon or in the future, you already know that skipping the Cathedral of Oviedo is not a good idea.
There’s no other option, but to leave the stroller downstairs. Just make sure to set it aside where it can’t disturb people passing by and make sure not to leave important belongings with the stroller, too.
There are still a lot of things to explore in the Cathedral of Oviedo, but with small kids, it’s already a given that you can’t explore them all.
2. Let The Kids Play And Enjoy The Cathedral’s Plaza and Its Fountain.
The Cathedral’s plaza is huge, so there’s a place for everyone. Let the kids play and enjoy at the plaza, while the adults rest a bit. And if your kids love fountains, they’ll surely enjoy the beautiful fountain that is located on the right side of the plaza.
We just realized on this trip to Asturias that #2 loves fountains and anything related. He was glued to the fountain in the Cathedral’s plaza and was crying and trying to run back to the fountain many times when we left.
3. Walk The Cobbled Streets And Enjoy The Surroundings.
The streets in the center of Oviedo are mostly cobbled and it’s really a lovely sight. Just walking the streets, looking at the buildings, and letting your kids enjoy the moment are already relaxing activities.
4. Let The Kids Play In The Plaza In Front Of Oviedo’s City Hall.
There is also a huge plaza in front of Oviedo’s city hall (ayuntamiento) where you can let your kids play. We decided to bring a 2-wheeled bicycle for #1 and it was indeed a great idea because it saved my husband’s arms many times!
Our 3-year-old usually asks to be carried when he gets tired from walking, but with the bicycle, he had so much fun that he even went ahead of us many times that we had to call and remind him many times to wait for us.
5. Have Lunch In One Of The Many Local Restaurants And Try Local Food.
There are a lot of bars and restaurants in the center of Oviedo, so finding a place to eat is not a problem at all.
Make sure to try the famous fabada asturiana and cachopo, one of their local dishes. Don’t forget the Asturian cider, too! Though I don’t recommend it if you have to drive back to your accommodation.:)
Fabada’s original recipe (description taken from Wikipedia) is made with fabes de la Granja (a kind of large white beans from Spain) soaked overnight before use, Lacón (shoulder of pork) or Pancetta or bacon (tocino), morcilla (a kind of Blood sausage from Spain), chorizo, olive oil, sweet paprika, garlic, and salt. This was the one I ate for the first time in 2017 that came in a HUGE portion.
Thankfully, the restaurant we dined-in in Oviedo had a light version of it – fabada with sea shells.
Asturian portions are HUGE! So, it’s better to order a few in the beginning, and just add later if you’re still hungry. There’s a big chance that you won’t need to order more.
My husband had told me about the huge portions in Asturias the first time I came with him in 2017. I ordered a fabada Asturiana for lunch, and I was shocked when the waiter came with a huge bowl of the fabada – just for one person! And then another day, we went to Tierra Astur and my husband ordered a cachopo. The waiter came with a portion that in my opinion was good for 3-4 persons!
6. Enjoy And Appreciate One Of The Many Statues.
Oviedo definitely doesn’t have a shortage of statues around the city center. In fact, Oviedo is also famous for its Woody Allen statue (unfortunately, we didn’t see it during our tour).
However, I got the impression that Oviedo is a breastfeeding/mother/kid-friendly city based on some beautiful statues that I saw during our visit: La Maternidad and Encarna con Chiquitin.
La Maternidad was the very first statue I saw in Oviedo. It’s located in Plaza de la Escandalera, just above the escandalera parking.
If you come by car to Oviedo, it’s convenient to park in Escandalera parking because it’s in the middle of the center. It’s a parking area with a low ceiling though that gives the feeling that it’s not high enough for your car to enter. For reference, our Peugeot rifter made it through by just a few centimeters.
Encarna con Chiquitin was the last statue I saw in Oviedo. It is located just a few meters away from the entrance/exit of San Francisco Park.
If your kids are bigger (4 up), you can play “find the statues” or similar, and whoever finds the highest number of statues wins and gets a prize.
7. Enjoy, Relax, And Play At San Francisco Park.
San Francisco park or Campo de San Francisco is a 9-hectare park located in the center of Oviedo with huge trees ( including chestnuts, plane trees, oaks, and English elms) and beautiful landscapes.
It is a very good location for tired parents to relax and rest while letting the kids enjoy and play without worrying about their safety. There is also a children’s park inside with slides, swings, and other attractions.
San Francisco park is also home to several statues, but one that is a must is the famous Mafalda, a statue of a little girl in a red dress.
According to my readings, the statue is a tribute to an Argentine comic strip character named Mafalda. Joaquin Lavado (with the pen name Quino), the cartoonist who created the character was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities, which paved the way for the installation of the statue in Oviedo, that is said to be a replica of the Mafalda statue located in the capital of Argentina: Buenos Aires.
Wow, I really learned several things during our trip to Asturias! It’s exactly one of the reasons why I want to keep traveling even with small kids.
But sad to say, we were not able to see Mafalda on our visit to San Francisco park. 🙁 We were still halfway through our tour when the business partner of my husband called to inform him that there were some issues with the machines in the warehouse in Mieres, so they’re asking for his help. So, we decided to call it a day even if we haven’t toured the entire park yet.
We definitely missed the famous statues in Oviedo (because we missed Woody Allen, too)!
Another notable attraction at the park is a stone arch that was once a part of the Romanesque San Isidoro Church.
By the way, the park is open 24 hours and free for all.
Make sure to locate Mafalda first to make sure that your family won’t miss her, just in case something comes up that will cut your park tour short.
Oviedo (and Asturias in general) is indeed a beautiful destination for a family vacation and one day is definitely not enough to explore the beautiful city. I suggest that you stay longer if it’s possible for your schedule.
And if your main purpose of visiting Asturias is to explore and see Oviedo, I suggest that you stay in an accommodation in Oviedo to save on travel time and use the extra time in exploring more of the city. (We stayed in Serrapio, which is closer to Mieres, where the work of my husband was located).
Just like any other trip with small kids, it’s impossible to see all the tourist attractions of a place, let alone if you only have one day to explore. But it’s definitely not a reason to not enjoy and make memories on your trip.
Are you planning to visit Oviedo or Asturias with your small kids soon? When? What is your priority of things to do and see?
Or have you been to Oviedo? What’s your most favorite thing to see and do?
We started our day tour in Oviedo late. We left our accommodation at 10:30am, then we passed by my husband’s work before finally heading to Oviedo to catch the 12 noon Mass. And we ended our tour at around 4:30 pm to go back to my husband’s work.
If you will be in Oviedo purely for vacation, then you can surely have more things to do and see. Though tours with small kids are usually shorter than ones with bigger or no kids.