· Asturias ·

Despite the immense natural heritage of the Iberian Peninsula, if there is a place that is universally viewed as the greenest corner of Spain, that is undeniably Asturias.

With more than a third of its area under some sort of preservation act, Asturias has six Biosphere Reserves declared by UNESCO. Here you will find many walking and cycling routes between blue lakes, crystal clear rivers and the tallest peaks of the Cantabrian Mountains: the Picos de Europa.

The Asturian coast is yet another great treasure to be discovered. It has more than 200 beaches dotted along it with beautiful seaside villages steeped in history, such as Tazones, where the Emperor Carlos I landed on his arrival to the peninsula, Cudillero with its Indian houses, and Lastres, recognised as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain.

Asturian architecture holds great importance in the region. We can enjoy creations by Santa María del Naranco, dating back to the 9th century and now a World Heritage Site, or the Niemeyer Centre in Avilés, the only one of the prestigious Brazilian architects works found in Spain.

Its main cities are also worth visiting. On one hand, there is the dynamic Gijón, flanked by the sea since Roman times; and on the other hand, Oviedo, an unmissable point on the Camino de Santiago and birthplace of the Formula 1 world champion, Fernando Alonso, as well as Queen Letizia.

It is in the city’s centennial, Teatro Campoamor, where her husband, the current King Felipe VI, has been delivering the prestigious Princess of Asturias award (formerly Prince of Asturias) for almost 40 years.

As Woody Allen, one of the winners of this award and great lover of the region, once said: “If someday I wanted to escape from all the ugliness of the world and spend the rest of my life in paradise, Asturias would be the perfect choice”.