Gijón or Xixón (in Asturian language) is a coastal city in Asturias province in northwest Spain. It lies close to the cities of Aviles and Oviedo. It attracts a growing number of visitors, drawn by a good offer of culture and sports and a strong service sector.
The weather in Gijón is not like much of the rest of Spain. Gijón is on the northern coast where it is wet and not very hot in summer.
The climate of Gijón may be defined, in this sense, as being temperate, with an average annual temperature of 15 ºC and only slightly varying annual average maximum and minimum temperatures.
Rainfall ranges between 800-1,000 mm/year, fairly regularly distributed, with few very dry periods and no great concentration of rainfall at specific times of the year.
Both variables, temperature and rainfall, are slightly modified at the southeastern border of the municipality, where the highest altitudes are to be found: the temperatures decrease and the rainfall increases.
The first inhabitants of Asturias, arrived 250,000 years ago. Some neanderthal remains are from the Palaeolithic era, and others belongs to the "Asturiense" period, local culture between 7000 and 5000 BC. One of the most important neanderthal remains are Mount Areo dolmens.
The territory was occupied continuously during the Middle Ages, proof of which is the Romanesque churches dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. The founding of the Puebla (Village) in 1270 implied an urban expansion that was to come to a standstill at the end of the 14th century, when Gijón became the stage for the Trastámara conflicts, during which the town was almost completely destroyed.
In the 18th century, the erudite Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos laid out the plans for the development of Gijón. The process of industrialisation begun in the mid-19th century changed the city into the industrial centre of Asturias, with its leading El Musel Port, shipyards and numerous manufacturing installations.
A direct ALSA bus runs between Gijón bus station and the airport hourly taking 45 min; the fare is €8. A taxi costs €40 and takes 20 min.
Other flight options are to use Santander which has budget flights (eg Ryanair from London Stansted), 3 hours away by bus, or fly into Madrid and reach Oviedo by bus or train.
The Spanish railway company RENFE run direct trains from Alicante and Madrid via Oviedo, plus frequent metro services around the area. Metric gauge company Feve also has a line inland through Oviedo, connecting there with its slow, scenic services along the coast west to Ribadeo and Ferrol, east to Santander, Bilbao, San Sebastian and Irun / Hendaye on the French border. Feve is nowadays owned by Renfe with timetables on that website, but the systems aren't integrated. So between Oviedo and Gijón there are duplicate trains and tracks with non-interchangeable ticketing (adult single €6.80): this means trains at least hourly but doesn't look sustainable.
1 Gijón railway station is the terminus for both Renfe (Iberian gauge) and Feve (metric gauge) trains. It's 500 m west of city centre along c. Sanz Crespo. Old maps show a welter of railway sidings continuing towards town, but these are ripped up and it's now just a brownfield expanse of gravel and buddleia. This means you can cross by a paved path at street level (eg towards the railway museum) and don't need to use the road bridge of c. Carlos Marx.
- 2 ALSA bus station, Calle Magnus Blikstad, 4. 24/7. Bus station for all ALSA lines. It's also an historical protected building in rationalist-expressionist style, opened in 1941. It's on the corner of Magnus Blikstad and Llanes streets, and the 1940s company logo in the Llanes street front.
From the south, by A-66 (toll motorway AP-66 between Leon and Campomanes, €13.15 for a car). You may find snow and ice in winter. In rush hours it may be slow between Oviedo and Gijon, but you can take AS-I in Mieres or AS-II in Oviedo as alternative routes.
From east and west, A-8 runs along the coast, toll-free except between Bilbao and Behobie-French border.
Traffic in Gijón is easy, with no major trouble even in rush hours. Parking in an around the city centre requires to buy a parking ticket in one of the ORA vending machines, and leave it in a visible place behind the windshield. There are plenty of underground public parkings within walking distance from almost any place.
Motorized traffic in Cimavilla area is restricted between 23:00 and 07:00, except for residents. Access control is done by traffic cameras and licence plate readers. Be careful to leave the area before restriction applies.
Parking a car in a forbidden place will cause you to have to recover your car from the depot, paying a traffic ticket and towing expenses. Be careful.
By public transportEdit
There are several urban and suburban bus lines in the city. A ticket for urban bus costs €1.25, but with a bus card you can get 10 trips for €8.20, including free bus changes within 45 minutes. Daily from July 1 to August 31, and on Friday and Saturday nights for the rest of the year, there are nightly buses (Buho). There are 4 lines converging in Plaza del Humedal every 60 minutes. More info and lines on Bus Gijón web.
Suburban buses connect Gijón with a lot of places in Asturias. More information on routes and schedules on CTA.
During Easter Holidays and Summer you can enjoy the city on a touristic bus which makes a route with stops on the principal tourism resources like Railway Museum, Isabel La Catolica Park, Laboral City of Culture, Botanical Garden.
Cercanías Asturias is the commuter rail service operating in Asturias, with direct services from Gijón to Pola de Lena, Cudillero, Pola de Laviana and Oviedo, and more places changing train in Oviedo or El Berrón stations.
On CTA you can get travel cards valid for all public transport routes within a zone. Please, check in advance how many zones you need for your planned trip.
Gijón, except Cimavilla is a plain city, so you can visit the city with some comfortable walks. In summertime, or when weather is fine, there are a lot of people walking El Muro along San Lorenzo beach. With colder temperatures, the Paseo del Muelle, next to the Marina is less exposed to winds.
Walking will let you interact with local people. Don't hesitate to ask them for advice or help, because they are warm and friendly. Foreign languages may be challenging for them (more so for older people), but some writing and gesturing will do the trick.
Gijón has a decent network of cycle lanes which allows a comfortable city visit. There are 8 public and free bike stations, but a Tarjeta Ciudadana (Citizen Card) is required to take a bike from a station. Anyone can get a Tarjeta Ciudadana, but it takes some time and patience to do the paperwork (in Spanish)
There are also plenty of bike shops where yo can get parts or repair your bike if you need so. Be warned also not to leave your bike unattended, even locked in a bike parking, or some pieces might be stolen. It's not so common but, just in case...
Taxis in Gijón urban area may cost between €6 and €20, depending on distance. Extra fees may apply in stations, out of urban area and by night. There are several radio-taxi companies which may send you a free cab within a few minutes.
Gijón is a good place to visit because of its Roman past, its museums, its sculptures and architecture.
- 1 Cimavilla. The area at the neck of the peninsula that was the original walled settlement, held as the oldest and most attractive part of the city. Nowadays, it's a residential, commercial and leisure area.
- 2 Santa Catalina Park. The grassy headland of the peninsula, with old fortifications, areas for skateboarding and play, and views both ways along the coast. The looming concrete structure here is Eduardo Chillida’s 1990 sculpture Elogio del Horizonte, "Eulogy to the horizon".
- 3 Revillagigedo Palace, Plaza del Marqués 2 (next to the town hall), ☏ . Reported as spectacular, a must see, overlooking the sea, one of the nicest sights of the Gijón.
- 4 Roman baths (Campo Valdés archaeological site), ☏ . Inaugurated as museum in 1995, it's a public bathing complex (thermae) from the end of the 1st century AD. Here was the terminus of the Spanish Ruta de la Plata (Spanish silver route).
- 5 Birthplace of Jovellanos Museum (Museo Casa Natal de Jovellanos), Plaza de Jovellanos, ☏ . Birth house of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos (1744 – 1811), a Spanish neoclassical statesman, author and philosopher, and a major figure of the Age of Enlightenment in Spain. The museum was inaugurated in 1971. Free.
- 6 Ciudadela of Celestino Solar, Calle Capua 15, ☏ . A working-class housing facility built in 1877 and converted to a museum, with a house that is furnished as in that time; the workers lived in very confined conditions (a single window and toilet for all inhabitants). It was inhabited until 1960. Sometimes, there are handicraft markets and some concerts. Free.
- 7 Nicanor Piñole Museum, Plaza Europa, 28, ☏ . Created in 1991, to commemorate the work of the seminal Asturian painter. Free.
- 8 Centro de Cultura Antiguo Instituto, Calle Jovellanos, nº21, ☏ , email@example.com. 09:00-21:30. Created in 1797 as Real Instituto Asturiano, focused in Nautical and Mineralogy studies, now is an arts and culture centre, with several spaces to host conferences, music or expositions. Good information point on any kind of cultural activities in and around Gijón.
- Barjola Museum
- Evaristo Valle Museum
Outside the centerEdit
- 9 Museum of the Asturian People (Pueblu d'Asturies Museum), Paseo Dr. Fleming, 877, ☏ . An open-air artspace containing Asturian popular art installations and large ethnographic items.
- 10 Asturian Railway Museum (Muséu del Ferrocarril), Calle Dionisio Fernández-Nespral Aza (west edge of centre), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Apr-Sep: Tu-F 10:00-19:00, Sa Su 10:30-19:00; Oct-Mar: Tu-F 09:30-18:30, Sa Su 10:00-18:30. Steam, diesel and electric locomotives and shunters and other rolling stock, mostly from Asturias' industrial heyday of coal mining and steel production. The steam locos are occasionally fired up and haul rides, included in the ticket price, but it's just for 100 m up and down the siding. Plus a library & resource on Spanish railways, and a room with model railways. Adult €2.50.
- 11 Universidad Laboral de Gijón. One of the most striking examples of Franco era architecture besides Valle de los Caídos, this is one of Spain's largest buildings.
- 12 LABoral City of Culture, Calle Los Prados, 121 (on the old Laboral University of Gijon). A creative community with more than 4,000 students and researchers. The building was created in the mid-19th century to offer workers' children vocational training. LABoral Art Center and Industrial Creation is a place where you can enjoy art, design and industry. It has also a theatre which offers modern spectacles.
- 13 Natural Archaeological Park of La Campa Torres (7 km northwest from center), ☏ . Remains of a fortified settlement (oppidum) from about 500 BC, Romanized in the 1st century AD, and gradually abandoned after the founding of Roman Gijón.
For sea lovers, the Estación Náutica Gijón Costa Verde offers the possibility of practising sailing, scuba diving, boat trips, sightings of sea birds, dolphins and other cetaceans. Other activities include hiking, driving a quad, horse riding, following routes and in the air, paragliding, hot-air ballooning, potholing, bungee jumping, rafting, hydrospeed, skiing and mountain biking. If you like football, visit the Sporting of Gijon Football Stadium, "El Molinón".
- International Film Festival of Gijón. International Film Festival of Gijón at the beginning it was addressed to children, but during last years it became an alternative film festival. During the festival you can enjoy workshops, partys, concerts, films.
- 1 Aquarium. The aquarium offers a tour through 60 different aquariums of freshwater and saltwater. You can discover how the life on the different seas of the world is. The tour length is about two hours and it includes a "touch touch" zone, where you can touch starfishes and small fishes.
- 2 Atlantic Botanical Garden. Atlantic Botanical Garden is the first botanical garden built on the north of Spain. It is specialized on Atlantic flora and vegetation. It also offers a wide range of activities, as concerts, workshops, etc.
- Asturias Casino. Asturias Casino, with more than 4000 m², offers its visitors other activities besides plays: gastronomy, concerts, and dance.
- 3 [dead link] Talasoponiente. Gijon offers a wide variety of establishments based on water therapies. Talasoponiente is a thalassic center located just between Poniente beach and the harbor. It is a modern centre which offers all the advantages of sea water to relax. It includes a great leisure offer for the family.
Gijón lives facing the sea, which is ever present in its geography and activities. Nature has given the borough the gift of numerous beaches all along its coast. All of them have lifesavers service from May 1 to September 30.
Essential leisure spots when good weather pays us a visit, these sandy beaches are not abandoned with the arrival of autumn, the ideal time to enjoy a stroll or go fishing on the shore of the Bay of Biscay, known locally as the Cantabrian Sea.
- Estaño Beach: it’s a small beach of sand and gravel. It has a natural swimming pool.
- Cagonera and Serin beaches have brusque swell and not many people.
- 1 Peñarrubia beach, Camino de Peñarrubia. Nudist beach, narrow and surrounded by high cliffs. It has many people.
- El Rinconin or Cervigon Beach: it is situated next to San Lorenzo beach. It has all services, and it has high affluence of people.
- 2 San Lorenzo beach, Paseo del Muro de San Lorenzo. Located on Gijon bay; it is the main urban beach, full of people walking, lying on the sand or swimming. It is well equipped: toilets, showers, sunshade and hammock for renting, nautical club, etc.
- 3 Poniente beach, Calle Rodriguez San Pedro. It is a reconstructed urban beach on Gijon’s harbour. It has fine sand and anchor zone.
- Arbeyal beach: small urban beach with golden sand, quiet water and good services.
- La Semana Negra. Celebrated during the second two weeks in July; It is a literature festival mixed with leisure elements; a big culture party on the street.
- Big week in Gijon, it is the most important fiesta in Gijon. It is celebrated in August; the festivity is the 15th August, Begoña’s day. You can enjoy music concerts, fireworks, orchestras and a great variety of activities for everyone.
- El Antroxu, it is the asturian carnival, one the most important fiestas on the region. It starts with the popular "Comadres" Thursday (a special night for women) and it lengths until next Tuesday.
- Ecological and crafts market: The Ecological and Crafts Market of Gijón is a sincere attempt to recover traditional, local crafts and at the same time to favour the promotion and consumption of ecological products that are environmentally friendly. This novel, curious initiative is in itself an open doorway to one and all to get to know the trends in ecological products first hand and to not lose sight of the most craft forms of working that are used in the region.
- Shopping precincts, Shopping centres and shopping precincts abound in the town, both in number as well as quality, the latter having been valued at a national level with an award within the National Awards for Domestic Trade. These precincts are open, agreeable spaces that generally coincide with one street and are conducive to taking a stroll, seeing the town and doing some opportune shopping. The streets of San Bernardo, Los Moros, Corrida, Covadonga, Menéndez Valdés, Magnus Blikstad, Langreo, Asturias and Álvarez Garaya are shopping precincts full of shops of all kinds in the centre of Gijón, but also a neighbourhood like La Calzada has good services in streets like those of Brasil and the Avenida de La Argentina.
- Strolling around Gijón, you can see the high quality and wide range of the town´s shops in which you may find the right buy and the fitting gift. The thing is that it is understood that shopping must be quality shopping and that the whole town of Gijón is the largest Shopping Centre in Asturias
If Gijón and Asturias are characterized by something it is by their tasty and varied gastronomy. Produce is not lacking, fish, seafood, meats, cider and delicious pastries. To promote all these attractions and enhance this work that has been carried out for three years, Gijón Joint Tourism Board has devised a plan of action focused on five main axes: Gijón Gourmet Menu; Sweet-toothed Gijón; Cider Routes; Gijón Cocktails and Going out for pinchos around Gijón.
Gijón Gourmet Menu arose 5 years ago to make the city's new culinary trends known by encouraging restaurants distinguished by some quality seal or mark to popularize its cuisine. Given the success of this initiative, the idea is to further extend the product by enhancing the use of produce in the region.
As its name suggests Sweet-toothed Gijon aims at highlighting one of the citys biggest attractions, its wonderful pastries. Therefore, Gijón is known for having the largest number of bakers shops per capita in the country, something that the townspeople boast about because of their fondness for sweet treats. Thus, its pastries, cakes, and chocolate will be closer to visitors. The product, presented with authenticity and uniqueness, would create routes of associated establishments in the city with the chance to taste the specialties of each establishment.
Cider Routes Gijón, being the largest borough producing this famous drink throughout the Principality, seeks to link the culture of cider, its elaboration and its presence in the city. For this reason, we will have the collaboration of Comarca de la Sidra (Cider Shire).
Gijón Cocktails.This initiative is born to encourage the catering and tourism sector bringing the citizen closer to the cocktail world as it is a very important part of gastronomy. The idea is to organize a contest on the streets and suggest routes by the participating establishments. Going out for pinchos and tapas around Gijón is a logical action given the long tradition of tapas (appetizers) and the need to enhance pinchos (small snacks) with an increasing demand among the townspeople themselves.
- Cimavilla Bars line the streets and plazas of the most emblematic of Gijón's neighbourhoods, a large number of pubs in which to enjoy a chat with friends or others in which you can dance until the early hours.
- Fomento Following the seashore, we find different establishments, the majority specialising in Latin rhythms. If your thing is dancing, don't miss coming along here later on at night.
- Capua - Náutico More music and more dancing facing the sea, the latest rhythms can be heard in the disco bars of this zone near to the beach of San Lorenzo.
- La Arena The most youthful ambience in town is to be found in this neighbourhood that runs parallel to San Lorenzo Beach.
- El Carmen For more tranquil folk and lovers of good wine, this neighbourhood in the centre of the town is full of tascas (taverns) and bars, ideal for opening up your appetite.
- The Ruta de los Vinos (Wine Route) One of the longest-standing areas to have a drink in Gijón, to start the night off with a beat.
- Abierto hasta el Amanecer (Open until Dawn)
- Sidreria La Galana, Plaza Mayor 10. Rammed with locals and Spanish natives every single night, this is a classic, fun, vibrant, messy sidreria with great service and a central location. It's also open late and has an excellent food menu for those so inclined.
Gijón has a truly extensive range of hotels. You may choose the hotel that suits you best according to its location, in the city centre or in the surroundings, number of stars, services, etc. Among the accommodation available in Gijón, there are also outstanding country hotels, especially suitable for enjoying the peace and tranquility of the surroundings and the quality of their facilities and services.
- Hotel Robledo, Alfredo Truan 2, ☏ . Relatively cheap hotel at the heart of Gijon. 50.
- NH Gijon, C/ Dr. Fleming, 71, ☏ . This hotel is next to the San Lorenzo beach, near Parque Ingles. Rooms from €99.
Gijón is a very safe place, and it is very unlikely that you are involved in a dangerous situation. If so, call emergency number 112 with operators fluent in several languages, including English.
- 4 Gijón Local Police, Calle San José, 2, ☏ , toll-free: 092, fax: . Local Police is in charge of traffic accidents, commerce complaints or lost items. Go here if you have such kind of problems.
- 5 National Police, Pza. Padre Máximo González, s/n., ☏ (/29/30), toll-free: 091. 24/7. National Police is in charge of criminal offences. Go here if your documents, money or other items are stolen, or if you suffered any kind of assault.
- Oviedo is a short half-hour drive (or bus) from Gijón. More classically picturesque but quieter than Gijón, Oviedo has plenty of museums, churches and parks to pass the time, and as the capital of the region also has excellent transport links.
- The Picos de Europa, one of Europe's best-kept secrets, is a national park centred around a dramatic snow-capped mountain range, to the outsider appearing more reminiscent of the Alps than what one may expect of Spain. There are buses and a (phenomenally slow and unreliable) rail service serving the southeast corner of Asturias, where the national park is located.