Oviedo is the capital of Asturias and maintains its position as a university and administrative service city. It is a very attractive, clean city with an old sector close to the cathedral, a Central Park, a thriving shopping centre and various museums and monuments. All of these make it well worth a visit. The cathedral The building started in the 14th century and was finished in 1587 taking about 70 years to build. From the ground to the lightning conductor it measures 70 meters. Close to the cathedral there are other churches and palaces of interest including the church of San Tirso rebuilt after the big fire in Oviedo in 1521, the Valdecarzana Palace built between the 17th and 18th century and the Marquis and Marchioness of Camposagrado Palace built in the 18th century.
Gijón Situated on the Cantabrian Sea, it is some times refereed to as the capital of the green coast. With its 275,00 inhabitants it is now the principal nucleus of population in Asturias. Less compact than Oviedo it covers 3 beaches in its urban reaches; there is a small old town, a sports marina and obviously good shops. There is a 9km coastal footpath which joins the beach "Playa de Poniente" with the park "Parque Cabo S. Lorenzo" where there are sculptures, resting areas and look out points. Another path (6kms) has been created from a disused railway, which used to transport coal from the Camocha mine (start of the walk) to the large industrial port of Musei In Gijon there is a large selection of museums including 2 art museums, an ethnographical museum, a railway museum and an archaeological museum. (See section museums in Asturias.) There are also roman baths, which can be visited "Termas Romanas del Campo Valdés"
Aviles was traditionally the major industrial town of Asturias with iron, steel and aluminium works. Although it still has the characteristics of an industrial town it also has a small but important old town which has recently been declared a Historic and Artistic Monument by the Spanish government. The city became fortified in the 11th century due to its commercial activity as a result of its strategic emplacement and sheltered port. By the 17th century the population growth made it necessary to build outside the medieval citadel, and in the 19th century there was a further "bourgeois urban expansion" Although the fortified city has been destroyed the old town dating from the 17th century is worth visiting.