A friendly town in the beautiful province of Asturias
Mieres is a large town (pop. 45,000) in Asturias. Nestled in a valley flanked by mountains along the banks of the Caudal River (Rio Caudal) and Route 66 in the center of the Principality of Asturias – we have a prince and princess – it is one of the loveliest regions in Spain. There is a sprinkling of small museums and cultural centers, cozy art galleries, and numerous restaurant-bars, boutiques and shops.
There is a pedestrian mall on La Vega Street, as well as a larger new mall on the outskirts. On market days, the Mercado de Mieres is filled with vendors, including gypsies selling a wide variety of products, especially farm produce, cheese, hams and textiles.
Next to the local Catholic church, San Juan de Bautista, the Plaza de Requejo, or “Cider Square”, is popular for al fresco dining and tapas; the city park is great for relaxing, doing sports and having an evening stroll.
The Plaza del Ayuntamiento is where festivals and other cultural get-togethers take place. The most exciting festival is St. John’s Bonfire, La Foguera de San Juan, on the eve of June 24, which culminates in a huge midnight bonfire; there are lots of fun cultural events, dancing, outdoor concerts, fireworks, al fresco dining, tapas and drinking.
Another important festival is the Folixa na Primavera in April, which includes dance and music performances from the nine Celtic nations, food, drink and especially cider; cider from Asturias is probably the best in the world.
Parking is a problem as it is in much of urban Spain so walking, taking the bus, a taxi and the train are the best ways to get around.
Local dishes include Urbies cheese, cider, ham and peas, pork and bean stews (fabada and pote asturiano), grilled chorizo, pitu de caleya (large locally-farmed chicken), and locally-caught trout. Visit the artistic monuments such as the Romanesque Santa Eulalia Church, the Palacio de Arriba in the hills of Cenera, the Santuario de los Mártires, and Santa Cristina in the hills of Pola de Lena.
The University of Oviedo Engineering Campus in Mieres opened recently. Pine, hazel, oak, ash, beech and walnut trees grow in the surrounding grassy hills and woods.
“Located in a beautiful river valley surrounded by lush green mountains Mieres offers all the small town charm without giving up the comfort of the city. The capital, Oviedo, is 15 minutes away and if you go another 20 you’re at the beach. Living here without a car is no problem because there is everything from local and long distance buses and trains. The international airport is 45 minutes away. There are plenty of coffee shops to sit at and read the paper as well as the Sunday market which sells a whole variety of treasures. If you like the great outdoors a quick stop by one of the tourist offices will provide you with books and maps of all of the well marked trails for walking or biking.”
– Lisa Malmgren
“I came to Asturias with the idea of staying for nine months as a way to get a bit of teaching experience, and to perfect the Spanish I studied at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. It’s been nearly three years now, and I still haven’t left. I fell in love with Asturias, concretely with the wonderful people I have met and who now form integral parts of my life. I love the slow-paced life that I live here in Mieres, working teaching English, and yet still having a lot of time to myself, exploring Asturias’ natural paradise and enjoying a nightly wine with people who have come to feel like family.”
– Autumn Kycia
“Mieres is a town in the center of Asturias, geographically situated in a straight line between Gijón (the biggest city on the Asturian Atlantic coast) – Oviedo (capital of Asturias) – Mieres – León (capital of Castilla y León). It is situated in the main and most populated valley of the region which makes it easy to move around both by car and public transport. There are many tourist attractions, such as the beach, the mountains, the ski-station or natural reserves.
Asturias has a strong coal miners’ tradition, and so does Mieres. Working class barrios are part of the town just as much as nice squares and parks where you can hang out and drink apple cider, sidra, the famous traditional drink of the region. Asturias has a rich bar culture and a vivid nightlife. People are very friendly and it is easy to make friends. Never expect anyone to be on time!
The weather is not what one would expect from sunny Spain since it is so close both to the Atlantic Ocean and the massive mountain range towards the South, the Cordillera Cantábrica, which divides Asturias from the center of Spain. Be prepared for rapidly changing weather pretty much all year round.”
– Jorg Michael Alber