Top 10 Things to do in Gijón
On the northern coast of Spain lies the largest city in the Asturias region. Gijón is right by the harbor and has a modern resort vibe to it, though not crowded with tourists- it is Asturias’s well- kept secret! Here you can explore the town away from its coastline as you appreciate Roman and other histories.
Here are our top 10 things to do in Xixon, as it’s known by the locals.
1. Museo Etnográfico del Pueblo de Asturias
Your first stop could probably be a visit to this museum, which will take you on a trip to learn about Asturias’s history and culture as you walk through its galleries and exhibits. From the artifacts used by the early Asturias’s peoples, what they wore, and full-scale architectural sets, Museo Etnográfico del Pueblo de Asturias will equip you with a lot of information.
A showcase of this magnitude was appropriate for outdoor and indoor exhibits- you can enjoy both or either whether it is raining or shining.
The museum seeks to keep the memory of the people of Asturias. Here you will also find traditional music instruments, storage materials, and structures as used by the Asturias people as well as ethnographic material, photos, personal and commercial written material, and graphic arts among others.
You will find a visit to the museum of the people of Asturias enlightening.
2. Termas Romanas de Campo Valdes
These are ancient Roman baths from the 1st and 2nd Century BC that still stand in Gijón. You can visit these in Campo Valdés. Not visible from the street, the baths occupy the western end of Playa de San Lorenzo, at an underground location.
The Romans went all out- from the well preserved decorated walls and impressive strong stone baths, Termas Romanas de Campo Valdes will take you back in time. As you will see, the architecture is quite thoughtful, typical of Roman baths- there is a cold room, hot room, and a heating system.
3. Mercado Artesano
Do not pass on the chance to experience the marketplace in the city of Gijón. Mercado Artesano is a busy market that sits right in the middle of town. It however is a scheduled market- you will find vendors on some days of the week and not others.
Vendors come to the location at Plaza Mayor, which is another prominent spot in Gijón, and set up their wares which range from artworks to handicrafts that you can take as keepsakes, and put up exhibitions. There is also plenty of entertainment, food, and drink. This marketplace is frequented by the locals as you might expect, so blend right in and enjoy a market day!
4. El Patio de la Favorita
Enjoy an evening like a local at El Patio de la Favorita, a hangout area that overlooks Playa de San Lorenzo. Here you can enjoy a drink at a bar as you listen or dance to live music. You also will get to enjoy drinks Gijón style- the drinks are oftentimes garnished with sweets!
5. Playa de San Lorenzo
You should not leave Gijón without visiting Playa de San Lorenzo. This beach is massive with golden sand leading up to amazing views of the bay in the distance. While here you will marvel at the beautiful River Piles and the sea’s meeting point, or at the evening tide sapping up the sand.
When you first arrive in Gijón, the huge expanse of golden sand is one of the first things you will notice. The beach is huge and the views across the bay are wonderful.
6. Laboral University
The biggest building in Spain is the Universidad Laboral de Gijón. This building also hosts the world’s biggest oval-shaped church. The University is spread out over a whopping 66 acres or 27 hectares. This architectural marvel was to be an orphanage- large as it is. This was because of the high numbers of orphans whose parents worked the many coal mines in Asturias.
The set up at these buildings has taken the model of a center with the university, other vocational learning areas, private companies, theatre, and houses other amenities as well.
Within the Laboral Universities’ quarters stands a uniquely shaped church- the world’s biggest oval church. You can enjoy amazing views of Gijón from a tower therein
7. Jovellanos Theatre
The Jovellanos Theatre is named after Gasper Melchor Jovellanos, a Spanish influential figure whose birthplace was Gijón. He was a judge, politician, author, and philosopher. The Jovellanos Theatre is an old-style theatre that is unique- only a few such theatres are still available today.
Jovellanos’ legacy caused many places to be named after him all around Gijón. His work involved him trying to promote Asturias and improve conditions in the region. His birthplace turned museum is also another place you could visit.
Gijón’s old town, Cimavilla is the oldest part of the city. As it is a coastal town, its history ties up with fishing- most of Gijón’s fishermen lived here eking a living out of fishing- it was and still is one of the largest industries in Gijón. Being in Cimavilla will give you two experiences in one- some buildings are older while others clearly appear relatively new, hence you might think you are in two different places.
You will also be able to visit Roman ruins here and hang out at Batería Alta de Santa Catalina, an unfinished battery intended to defend the bay. The views from this location in Gijón are amazing!
9. Atlántico Botanical Garden
Gijón boasts a large Botanical garden that sits on an expansive area; at least 25 hectares of different flora from around the world are found here space! This amazing space provides the options of visiting with The Cantabrian Environment, The Plant Factory, The Garden of La Isla Estate, and The Atlantic Route. The flora in each of these is specifically compatible with the environment and climate cultivate therein. Beware of the labyrinth of poisonous plants found in the garden!
10. Plaza Mayor
Winding down on our list of the top 10 things to do in Gijón is a visit to the city’s main square that is packed with history. Here you will see amazing architecture and unique building material- the tiles, cobblestone, and collonades mesh together for a most beautiful effect.
You can shop in the stores in the plaza, or pop into a cafe for coffee or a meal.
If you do not start your Gijón visit from Museo Etnográfico del Pueblo de Asturias, Plaza Mayor is another good point from which to begin.
The city of Gijón is a beautiful place to visit. From the historical places and items, your visit to this cit will be worth your while.