There are many cities in Spain where you can enjoy the sea and the mountains at the same time. However, there are very few where you can contemplate a beautiful sunset on the beach while you taste a delicious natural cider from one of the wineries in the area. Gijón is one of the best cities to live in Spain, and also where you can spend relaxing cultural and gastronomic holidays. It is the maritime capital of Asturias, where tradition and modernity mix masterfully. History situates the foundation of this millenary Asturian city in the 5th century BC. Today we move to it with the surfboard under our arm and we continue with our tourist guide of Spain.
How to get there
How to move around
Gijón is a beautiful city that can be go all over comfortably on foot. There are also many city buses and taxis. But what really stands out from the transports of Gijón is its great bike lane and the respect that all its citizens have for cyclists.
Where to stay
Gijón is a tourist city suitable for all types of public. Therefore, there are all kinds of places to sleep. Most accommodations are located near the beach, especially in the Cimadevilla area. Although there is no 5-star hotel, there is a lot of 4 stars places, where you can spend a comfortable and elegant stay. There are also several guesthouses, hostels and campsites if you are looking for more freedom.
The best restaurants
The culinary culture is one of the main attractions of Gijón, as a good Asturian town. A complete menu of the area has to be composed of an asturian “fabada”, pot and beef. In addition, Gijón is a coastal city, so there are many restaurants where you can try fresh fish and seafood. All this without forgetting a dessert of rice with milk or “frisuelos” and, of course, the traditional natural cider of the area. Also, if you want to live the authentic experience, you have to go to a “espicha” to dine in a real winery and drink cider straight from the barrel.
One of the restaurants where you can taste these succulent dishes is Tierra Astur Poniente. This chain is characterized by offering typical homemade dishes in a traditional atmosphere. Its decoration is based on wood and a floor with straw, which absorbs the surplus cider that its waiters expertly pour out. Its grill of meats, its “tortos” and its selection of fish areextraordinary, but its dessert of three milks is not of this world. You will find it at 10 Mariano de Pola Street. The restaurant Auga is more refined and also has a Michelin star. It is located in the marina of Gijón (Claudio Alvargonzález Street) and offers idyllic views of the sea. Its menu focus on regional dishes with a modern touch. If you want to try everything, choose its exclusive tasting menu.
On the other hand, near the beach of San Lorenzo you will find the restaurant Ciudadela (7 Capua Street). What differentiates this establishment are its three rustic environments: an area of wines, a tapas area and a basement decorated as if it were a cave. There you can taste spoon and hunting dishes, always traditional but modernized, such as wild boar roll with mushrooms and rice with spider crab. Also, another restaurant with a deserved reputation is the Gloria (3 Florentino Rodríguez Square). It is an informal and casual place where chefs bet on market cuisine, traditional recipes and modern adaptations. You have to try its guacamole with corn tortillas or its tuna sirloin in its dense juice and black olives. Of the same owners is the restaurant La Salgar (887 Dr. Fleming Street). It is located next to the Museum of the People of Asturias and has a Michelin star. It stands out for having its own “hórreo” and an extraordinary garden. Its menu offers fresh fish and seafood and also the succulent typical Asturian dishes.
Essential tourist enclaves
Although Gijón is famous for its beaches, its nature, its cuisine and its cider, there are many places worth visiting without leaving the city. One of them is the Aquarium of Gijón. It is a magical place suitable for all ages where you can see aquatic animals from all over the world. Otters are the best! And it also has a spectacular restaurant where you can dine underwater, as Sebastian, the crab of The Little Mermaid, likes.
Cimadevilla is a fishing district with beautiful narrow streets. It is the most historic area of the city and houses the Mayor Square, the Town Hall, several museums, noble houses, palaces and, of course, many traditional cider houses. The Roman Baths of Campo Valdés are located in the center of Gijón, near the beach, where you can see the archaeological remains. On the other hand, the Botanical Garden of Gijón is another wonder. It was built from an original forest and left practically unchanged. It will seem to you that you are in the jungle without leaving the city. On certain dates, such as summer, Christmas or Halloween even theme nights are celebrated.
The Museum of the People of Asturias is an open-air museum. Its intention is to conserve and spread the memory of the Asturian people, for what it houses numerous historical constructions of the zone, like “hórreos” and “paneras”. It is also worth visiting the Museo Casa Natal Jovellanos, dedicated to this illustrious politician and writer. And if you want to take a guided tour, one of the best places is the Laboral, also known as the City of Culture. Here you can learn more about the architecture and history of Gijón.
Like all Spaniards, Asturians like a good party. That is why it is not unusual to see pilgrimages through its streets with bag-pipers entertaining the dances. Among its most important traditional festivals is the Antroxu, the Carnival held at the end of February. Asturias Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of August, and has been named a national tourist interest party. During this day, parades of folk groups fill the streets with color and music. In addition, the Semana Grande, also known as the Begoña festivity, is celebrated during the first two weeks of August with numerous free concerts in the old town and lots of food.
What to do in Gijón
There are many activities that you can do in Gijón. However, the most attractive are outdoors. Enjoy the beautiful nature of the area by taking a walk through the countryside or touring the city by bike. You can also spend the day on the beach and swim in its turquoise waters. Also, if you like sports, Gijón offers a great sea to learn to surf. The beach of San Lorenzo has an area only for surfers. If you go in winter you can catch better waves, but be sure to put on a neoprene suit adapted to the cold.
If what you prefer is something quieter, you can visit its commercial area. The stores of Gijón are characterized by being sophisticated and very modern. This city also has an impressive cultural program, highlighting the literary festival Semana Negra, which has been held in the summer since 1988. In 2008 George R. R. Martin, the author of A Game of Thrones, gave several lectures and talks. And for cider lovers, in the area of Cimadevilla there are many cider houses of different environments.