May 31, 2023
In Partnership with #SpainByTrain

Nestled on the plush ‘Inexperienced Coast’ of northern Spain, Gijón has develop into a favorite seaside escape for each native Asturians, and Spaniards from additional afield. Lured in by the curved bay, golden sands, and gently lapping sapphire waves, it’s a refreshing escape when the mercury begin’s going above 40-degrees within the nation’s south.

Gijón’s seashores aren’t the one pull, although, as town supplies all of the seafood eating places, nightlife, and Artwork Nouveau structure that you just’ll want for leisure away from the waters. As the most important metropolis within the autonomous group, with round 270,000 residents, it’s a correct city-cum-beach-break, albeit with a far completely different vibe than you’ll discover within the likes of Benidorm or Mallorca.

For those who’re searching for small fishing villages, or distant golden sands, you’ll want to go barely additional down the coast. Cudillero, a cluster of vibrant homes round a terraced bay for the previous, or the customarily footprint-free Playas de Ballota for the latter. 

For a mixture of mornings exploring roman baths, afternoons lounging alongside the shore, and full of life evenings sipping sidra (cider) as a seafood accompaniment, although, Gijón is a perfect Asturian coastal base. 

The mammoth Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura in Gijón Spain
The mammoth Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura simply exterior Gijón, Spain

The place is Gijón, Spain

Gijón is located on the northwestern coast of Spain, searching over the Bay of Biscay, in an space typically known as the ‘Inexperienced Coast’. It’s the most important metropolis within the autonomous group of Asturias, however not the regional capital – that title goes to Oviedo.

Is it known as Xixón or Gijón?

The town’s native identify is definitely Xixón, pronounced hee-hon, which comes from the Asturian language. Sadly, this can be a minority language in Spain, so if you wish to study some key phrases to get by with, you’d be higher to concentrate on studying some Spanish on-line earlier than your go to.

When to go to Gijón, and Asturias 

Summer time is after all the preferred time to go to Gijón, as Asturians and travellers from afar descend on town’s seaside. The common day by day temperatures of 23°C in summer time are significantly inviting for many who wish to keep away from the frankly insufferable warmth within the south of Spain – belief me, I’ve spent the summer time dwelling in Andalucia earlier than!

As a metropolis break, it really works nicely year-round, with daytime temperatures normally not falling beneath 13°C, although there are a lot extra wet days within the winter, which helps preserve the area of Asturias so verdant.

Low season journey to me is at all times the perfect time to go to Spain’s hottest locations, so I’d personally recommend plumping for late spring or early autumn should you can to keep away from the crowds and get higher offers on lodging.

What to do in Gijón, Spain 

Given Gijón is the most important metropolis within the area, there are many methods to maintain your self entertained each within the metropolis, and closeby. 

Prime sights in Gijón, Spain, embody the Museo Ferrocarril (Asturias Railway Museum0, the aquarium, and Jovellanos’ Birthplace Museum (a famed historic determine of town). Eschewing these, I centered most of my go to round Cimavilla – the historic higher quarter of town – overlaying what’s listed beneath. 

Gijón's San Lorzeno Beach
Gijón’s San Lorzeno Seaside

Sink in to San Lorenzo Seaside

Unsurprisingly, for a lot of guests, the principle factor to do in Gijón is lay out their towel on Playa de San Lorenzo. Like a first-quarter moon, town’s largest seaside curves alongside the promenade, and the welcoming heat sands lead you to the refreshing waters.

Whereas it’s a great place for a paddle or dip, in autumn and winter you’ll see a good few surfers out on the waters, because of the seaside break. 

Go to the Termas Romanas de Campo Valdes

The Roman Baths of Gijón sit on the western finish of San Lorenzo Seaside, and permit for an underground peek at a number of the metropolis’s historical past.

With platforms crossing over the archaeological web site and artefacts, which have been constructed between the first and 4th centuries, you may get a very good take a look at what stays. Whereas on first glimpse the location may not appear so spectacular, should you look carefully, you’ll see some nicely preserved particulars, as they weren’t re-discovered till the beginning of the Twentieth century. 

Take within the views from Parque del Cerro Santa Catalina and Elogio del Horizonte

Behind the Roman Baths, the Santa Catalina Headland supplies a verdant-stroll with vistas again throughout the seaside.

When you’ll spot some weathered 18th-century fortifications behind graffiti, the strangest concrete sighting is the Elogio del Horizonte sculpture, constructed in 1990.

Whereas this has develop into one thing of a logo of town, I’d be mendacity if I mentioned I discovered it significantly spectacular, nevertheless it’s there so that you can make your individual judgement of this sea-praising art work. 

Folks watching at Plaza del Marqués

The Baroque Revillagigedo Palace (not mediaeval, though it seems so) is the backdrop to Marquis Sq., an incredible spot to settle in for some folks watching.

With the tower to at least one aspect, pastel-hued buildings behind, and small yachts bobbing within the harbour in entrance, the al fresco terraces are perfect for a day drink.

Right here you’ll additionally discover the sidra (cider) tree, a testomony to the artwork of siping fermented apple juice, which is undoubtedly one of many issues to do in Gijón. 

Gijon's historic centre
Gijon’s historic centre

Admire Artwork Nouveau structure

Whereas Gijón’s structure isn’t as spectacular as different Spanish cities resembling León, it does have a speciality to supply within the newer a part of town; loads of Artwork Nouveau buildings.

Within the Nineteenth-century, the El Musel Port was booming, and loads of wealth was trickling into town. This led to some relatively fanciful homes being constructed, and the ornate particulars could be seen on home windows, door frames, and crowning the highest of multi-floored townhouses.

A few of the finest examples of this may be discovered across the Jovellanos Theatre, and the magnificent Café Dindurra subsequent door. 

Tour the ​​Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura

One of many prime sights in Gijón, Spain is definitely a brief journey exterior town. In round 15-minutes, a bus will ship you to the mammoth constructing, which is shrouded in tales, historical past, and for a lot of, has very damaging connotations.

Masking some 270,000 sq. metres, the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura is thought to be the most important constructing in Spain. It’s mammoth, imposing, and has one thing of a macabre really feel about it – a sense that is sensible when you recognize the constructing historical past. 

Commissioned by Franco (Spain’s Twentieth-century dictator), and initially constructed as an orphanage for kids of miners, this huge classically-designed house was meant to be one thing of a self-contained metropolis. There are various tales and doubts about how true this objective was, and I’ll admit, as you see the towering partitions and stand within the central sq., there’s something of an hidden-away-from-everything really feel to the place.

In 1957, nonetheless, building stopped unexpectedly. By then it was already getting used as a Jesuits-led college, and it continued doing so, instructing trades to college students from all throughout the nation. In 1996, with no college students left and the persevering with downfall of the premises, the final nuns left, leaving it empty till the native authorities acquired it in 2001.

Debates adopted, particularly round destroying the mammoth websites because of its Francoist previous; even so far as blocking a UNESCO nomination for it.

Ultimately, it was determined to save lots of the huge constructing and repurpose it – though scars of the previous stay, such because the empty and climate swimming swimming pools. These days, it serves varied functions, from housing governmental buildings to internet hosting a cultural programme of occasions. 

To climb the tour and enter inside any of the buildings, you’ll want to rearrange a tour in advance.

Learn extra: 25 ‘off the overwhelmed path’ locations in Spain

Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura in Gijón Spain
Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura in Gijón Spain

Go inexperienced on the Jardín Botánico Atlántico

Gijón’s Botanic Gardens are a stone’s throw away from the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultural, and a pleasant strategy to cheer your self up and reconnect with nature after standing inside such an imposing constructing.

I like how the gardens listed below are separated by the 4 seasons, giving every quarter its personal persona, and with entry solely a few euros, it’s a worthwhile hour or two earlier than heading again into town itself.

Be taught on the Muséu del Pueblu d’Asturies

On the Museum of the Asturian Folks you’ll be capable to study a bit of extra about native life and the area’s historical past. It’s a bit of stroll from the centre, however should you’re thinking about studying about regional historical past, recipes, devices and structure, it’s a pleasant mid-afternoon break from the seaside. 

Take a day-trip to Oviedo, Asturias’ capital metropolis

From Gijón, it’s solely a 30-minute prepare journey to Oviedo, the capital of Asturias. I completely adore this metropolis; it’s the proper dimension, has nice meals, and is tremendous clear and fairly. For me, Oviedo is without doubt one of the finest metropolis breaks in Spain, so it is sensible to go to when you’re in Gijón if time permits.

Alternatively, if you wish to discover a couple of extra spots on a day-trip, then there are some information tour choices out there, splendid should you don’t have a automobile and wish to maximise time. This journey to Luarca, Cudillero and Avilés for instance will help you see a bit of extra of Asturias in in the future.

Learn extra: A information to Oviedo, Spain

What to eat in Gijón, Spain

Whereas there’s a bounty of recent seafood out there in Gijón, you should definitely attempt a number of the different typical regional dishes too. 

Devour all of the queso

Asturias is the most important cheese producing area of Spain – and possibly even Europe – and artisanal queso is an enormous deal right here. For those who ask a neighborhood what number of completely different cheeses Asturias’ produces, you’ll hear numbers starting from 50 to 300.

Whereas the maths could be debatable, the standard actually isn’t, and a number of the most well-known cheeses to pattern embody the blue Cabrales, naturally aged in caves, and the unpasteurized cow-milk Casín.

Pattern the sidra; timber, festivals and bars 

Cider in Asturias isn’t only a drink, it’s a complete tradition, and the pouring of sidra is an artform in itself.

It’s not candy, and there’s no yeast – that is naturally fermented apple juice. It’s not even glowing, the bubbles come from the high-pouring, which is why solely a bit of needs to be poured at a time and shortly drunk. For those who’re used to candy, industrial cider it would take some getting used to, nevertheless it’s value a style, even when it’s simply to try to grasp the pour.

For those who’re fortunate sufficient to be right here in August, you would possibly catch the Pageant of the Pure Cider of Gijón. 1000’s of cider bottles are raised and poured concurrently earlier than the bottles are positioned on the ‘tree’ you see for the remainder of the 12 months in Plaza del Marqués.

Tuck into Cachopo
Tuck into Cachopo

Chow down on Cachopo

One of the famed dishes in Asturian delicacies is a hearty, fried slab of veal, cheese and ham, coated in breadcrumbs. Wholesome? Probably not. Scrumptious? You guess!

Heat-up with a hearty Fabada Asturiana

Whereas the standard regional stew could be a bit heavy on a scorching summer time’s day, it’s best to pattern Fabada Asturiana not less than as soon as throughout your go to to Gijón.

The bottom of the dish is a neighborhood white kidney bean (if it’s the premium Verdina bean, even higher), that are cooked in a aromatic stew after which topped with chunks of meat, resembling blood sausage, pancetta and pork shoulder. It will probably normally be ordered as a smaller starter, or a hearty major course.

Boats in Gijón Spain
Boats in Gijón Spain

The place to remain in Gijón, Spain 

Gijón has a assorted alternative of lodging to swimsuit all budgets, although in the summertime months you’ll wish to ebook forward.

Finances – Boogalow Hostel The dorms right here aren’t the most cost effective on the town, however they’re spacious and simply seconds from San Lorenzo Seaside.

Mid-range – NH Gijón This contemporary trying glass dice vacation is the place I stayed on my final go to. It’s a brief stroll from the historic centre, however seconds from the seaside. Some rooms have sea and seaside views, as does the rooftop bar,

Luxurious – Hotel Hernán Cortés Heritage constructing in an incredible location with extra upscale rooms.

Plaza Mayor, Gijón Spain
Plaza Mayor, Gijón Spain

How you can get to, and round, Gijón, Spain

Exploring town centre is well completed on foot, with the seaside and major sights a brief stroll from one another. The town bus community is first rate and dependable.

Travelling to Gijón by prepare and public transport

For those who’re coming from elsewhere in Spain, then utilizing the prepare service is probably going the perfect connection, with buses being an honest different. From Madrid, the journey by prepare takes round 5 hours on Renfe’s Intercity service, whereas from close by Oviedo, you possibly can attain Gijón by prepare in simply over half-hour.

Prepare tickets, particularly for lengthy distance journeys which needs to be booked upfront, could be made immediately on the Renfe web site (normally cheaper) or utilizing widespread apps like Omio.

BlaBlaCar, a car-share service (the place you ebook a spare seat within the automobile of somebody already making a journey)  can also be very fashionable in Spain, and price testing should you battle to discover a direct connection out of your start line. ALSA is the principle bus firm for intercity journey in Spain.

Learn extra: A information to travelling in Spain by prepare

The sign in Gijón, Spain
The Gijón signal

Travelling to Gijón by airplane

The closest airport to Gijon is Asturias Airport, a forty five minute journey by bus from town. Presently, there are restricted flights from this airport, together with from London, nonetheless the schedules have been rising quickly annually.

Travelling to Gijón flight free from the UK

If you wish to go to Northern Spain from the UK with out flying, you will have two choices.

The primary is to take the Eurostar to London, and from there the prepare to Bayonne. To cross from France to Spain, you possibly can go for a two bus connection through Bilbao (possible barely cheaper). You may anticipate this path to take round 16-hours if timed nicely.

By prepare the best choice is go from Paris to Perpignan, Barcelona, Madrid after which lastly Gijon – this will probably be longer and costlier.

Another is to take the ferry from the UK, operated by Brittany Ferries, both departing Portsmouth or Plymouth (although some sailings are solely in summer time), and arriving in Santander or Bilbao. Each journeys contain two nights aboard the ship. From both arrival level, you possibly can proceed by automobile if driving, decide up a rental car, or take an roughly 5-hour bus or prepare journey to Gijón.

If returning the identical approach, you would possibly wish to take into account spending an evening in San Sebastian earlier than crusing again, one other enchanting coastal vacation spot with among the finest culinary scenes within the county.

Oviedo, the capital of Asturias
Oviedo, the capital of Asturias

The place to journey after Gijón

From Gijón, it’s simple to proceed your journey by prepare to discover the attractive metropolis of Oviedo, or the architecture-heavy cities within the neighbouring Castile and León area. Past, a lot extra of Spain’s hidden gems await.

Learn extra: Northern Spain itineraries by prepare

This text was written following my #SpainByTrain journey in autumn 2022 in partnership with Spain Tourism and Asturias Tourism.