Have you heard of Asturias? Yes, it exists and it's Spain. It's a real hidden gem. Its natural beauty is out of this world and the food in the region is amazing! We went there in August 2018 for a Zebee trip and it was simply incredible!
Asturias can get foggy VERY quickly. Our Zebee Travel Captain experienced it first hand when she flew into Asturias in June. The airline had to divert the flight to Bilbao because the weather condition got worse very quickly.
What to do if this happens to you? Check where your final destination is. Asturias has 3 major cities, Oviedo, Gijon and Aviles. The airline will organise 3 coaches for each of the major city and drop you off at the central bus station. The journey from Bilbao to Asturias is about 3 hours. Make sure you get into the right queue. There will be lots of friendly passengers who are bilingual. Who knows? You might make some new friends at the airport. Asturias is really safe so don't worry if you arrive late. Top tip: Make sure you charge your phone at the airport.
It is pretty hard to get to any hiking destinations via public transport. The best thing to do would be to hire a car either from Asturias airport or the city centres. It' also worth noting that not many people in Asturias speak English which makes it rather authentic and charming, however, inconvenient at times. So, a crash course in basic Spanish and Google translate would be highly recommended.
Oviedo and Gijon are 2 of the biggest cities in Asturias. They are about 30 mins away from each other on the train (about €6 for a return ticket). Old town Oviedo has tonnes of character. You can easily spend a couple of hours or so to walk around the city. Gijon is more of a beach destination. You can benefit from a beautiful coastal walk as well as spending some relaxing time on the beach.
WHAT TO DO?
Asturias is an amazing place for nature. It has majestic mountains and superb beaches! Many Spanish people actually prefer to spend their summer in this region to avoid the heat and the tourists during the high season.
Pretty much everywhere is Asturias in hike-able. The best thing to do as a solo traveller who has never been to Asturias would be to go to a local tourist information centre to get some ideas from their friendly staff. I had someone explaining to me the different types of hikes as well as the difficulty levels which was very useful.
HOW TO LIVE LIKE A LOCAL?
If you want to do it the Spanish way then make sure you have tapas around 6pm-ish. Lots of bars in Oviedo and Gijon serve free tapas when you order drinks. So it's definitely a win-win situation! The typical Spanish dinner time is between 8pm-10pm. Basically, if you are a foodie then you are in heaven!
WHERE TO EAT?
Restaurante El Centenario in Gijon is amazing! If you are a seafood lover then it is the place for you! The fried Octopus is highly recommended!