Walking in Asturias
Asturias is famous for its breath taking scenery, particularly in the mountainous and hilly area known as the Picos de Europa. However, Asturias also has some stunning beaches and cliff tops and there are many interesting and educational walks in the cities of Aviles, Gijon and Oviedo. All in all, Asturias has a walk for just about anyone.
How to walk in Asturias
You can take a guided walk (with a guide) or a self guided walk (independently).
Most of the guided walks take place in and around the Picos de Europa and there are a number of companies offering this service. Indeed some hotels provide either walking information and guides, or are able to put you in contact with companies offering these services. Guided walks can take individuals or parties of varying group sizes. For those who are unfamiliar with map reading the guided excursion is the best option for longer and more challenging walks.
Self guided walks are ideal for anyone who can read a map or Ordinance Survey map and they enable you to pick your own route, or take a predetermined walk independently. In the Picos de Europa this is an ideal to way to explore, but only if you are confident in both your hiking ability and your understanding of maps and compass readings. It is important to remember that people get lost and stranded every year due to overestimating their own ability, or underestimating the challenge of the conditions and weather.
For some general information about walking in the Picos de Europa mountain park take a look at this walking holiday page.
Other types of walk
Although tens of thousands of people visit Asturias annually in order to walk and hike in the Picos de Europa, there are some other alternatives.
With an extensive coastline Asturias has many great coastal walks, some of which allow you to take a high cliff edge walk in one direction and a path back along the beach in the other. These walks vary in length and are suited (depending upon distance and severity) to everyone from the serious walker to the novice stroller. Many of these walks are one way, but public transport can be used to return to the point of origin.
With three major cities, each with its own character and history, Asturias is an ideal city walk location. Oviedo has a large monumental or medieval quarter which is fun to explore either independently or by getting the services of a guide (via one of the tourism offices. Oviedo has a cider district and many interesting buildings and it is the regions largest metropolis.
Gijon has an interesting port and beach area that project outwards into the ocean and this can make an idea short walk. Guides books highlighting the points of interest are available from the local tourism offices which are dotted around the city.
Aviles is the most colourful of the Asturian cities and a walk around the old town will make an ideal time filler for the casual walker.
The zones around Cangas de Onis on the edge of the Picos combine some relaxing walks with some more energetic one and this town also offer canoeing, caving and quad biking for those wanting a mix of activities.