Back Top 10 things to see and do in Gijón
The 10 most interesting things to see and do in Gijón
Gijón is an ideal city to enjoy: culture, sports, shows, gastronomy, and abundant entertainment are some of the pillars of the so-called Villa de Jovellanos.
It is very likely that the first emperor in the history of the Roman Empire, Octavian Augustus, would have fallen in love with this city when he conquered the Noega hillfort in the Campa del Cabo Torres. However, you don't need to be an emperor to fall in love with Gijón/Xixón. Just stand next to the statue of Augustus in Campo Valdés and behold the panorama... You will realize that words are insufficient to describe the feeling!
Gijón/Xixón, with Greek and Latin echoes in its name, and a history deeply linked to European classical antiquity and pre-Roman Asturian settlements, is a kind of natural fortress with three battlements sculpted by the sea and wind, featuring mighty rocks and cliffs: starting from the west, there's Cape Torres, followed by Santa Catalina Hill, and to the east, the city is enclosed by Cape San Lorenzo.
The fortified orography of Gijón/Xixón makes it an exceptionally special place, overlooking dreamy beaches, sketching a coastline where routes and views are simply spectacular.
For all these reasons, Gijón/Xixón is a sort of vast open-air saltwater spa where leisure and the joy of living permeate every pore of its skin: cheerfulness in its streets, on its terraces, ambiance on its beaches, and along its maritime and riverside promenades, people walking on foot or cycling along its coastal or inland routes.
The city is undeniably an ideal space for enjoyment: sports, culture, entertainment, gastronomy, and abundant animation form the backbone of Gijón/Xixón. Catching waves like a seasoned surfer, running like an athlete, skating like a champion, walking with the sea breeze on all sides, peeking from a panoramic viewpoint over the coast, visiting a pre-Roman hillfort or a Roman villa, attending a show in top theaters or right on the street, savoring the most Asturian cuisine almost at the water's edge, or gazing at the three massifs of the Picos de Europa and the Central Mountain Range from Campa de Torres, are just a few of the surprises that Gijón/Xixón has in store.
The Top 10 Things to See and Do in Gijón
A historic old town with a taste of saltpetre and tide
The Santa Catalina Hill is the embryo of the city of Gijón/Xixón. Every inch of the Cimavilla peninsula holds a history. In different ages of humanity, the Hill - sometimes referred to as the Gibraltar of the Bay of Biscay - was perceived and constructed as a defensive stronghold and military camp due to its privileged location.
The first inhabitants who clearly used it for military purposes were the Romans, leaving abundant remains in the ancient Gigia, such as the remnants of a wall or the baths of Campo Valdés.
So, the historical center of Gijón will continually astonish you every time you look to the ground or the sky. Especially when you discover that in the past, Cimadevilla would turn into an island – similar to Mont Saint Michel in Normandy – during high tide. It wasn't until the city's development extended beyond this initial nucleus – particularly from the 18th century onwards – that the area took on its present form, with its collegiate church and Revillagigedo Palace, the town hall and its square, the port, the church of San Pedro...
The stroll will not leave you indifferent: you will savor history amidst sea salt and tides, and you'll grasp the resilient spirit of the Asturians and the Roman way of life, within a backdrop so beautiful that it will become simply unforgettable. And, of course, at the highest point of the Hill, you'll be able to admire the famous Elogio del Horizonte, a giant sculpture that has now become the iconic symbol of the city for tourists.
A city that makes its streets a warm home
Gijón/Xixón and its residents transform the city into a vast open-air home, and you'll feel hospitality with every step and at every moment.
The streets, boulevards, and squares are among the best settings for taking in the fresh air or the sun, meeting friends to enjoy bottles of cider or glasses of wine, relishing in the vermouth hour, or having a good lunch...
Gijón streets often come alive with music, theater, and performances to suit all tastes, ages, and trends.
Another enjoyable option is shopping. For instance, in the vicinity of the historic center, some streets are pedestrianized and offer a very friendly environment for all sorts of purchases, from classic souvenirs with Asturian touches to whatever your imagination and possibilities allow: fashion, decoration, gastronomy, art, and more.
A quintessential scene you'll experience in this warm and expansive open-air home is the pouring of natural cider, both inside the cider houses and on terraces and squares, all amidst an incredible atmosphere of conversation and relaxation...
A perfect and vivid example of this way of life can be found at the famous Cuesta del Cholo, in the area of the current Gijón marina – once a fishing port. With the arrival of good weather, it transforms into a true amphitheater of joy, flavored with cider, sunshine, and froth, retaining the ancient maritime and fishing spirit that was the way of life for the residents of Gigia for centuries.
A sea of masts at Gigia's feet
The Gijón marina, right at the foot of ancient Gigia, creates a striking silhouette of a sea of masts, particularly stunning on sunny days. What was once a significant fishing port with a strong tradition in the city still maintains its maritime essence, and it's one of the most delightful promenades and corners of Gijón/Xixón that gazes out to the sea.
In what was once the rula gijonesa (Gijón fish market), which has been faithfully restored to its past glory, you'll now find the facilities of the marina, a continuous flow of sailors and navigators from all around the world. This imparts a cosmopolitan and maritime charm to the city that captivates locals and visitors alike.
Such is the enchantment that this area is always bustling with life, and the restaurants and cider houses in the vicinity also contribute to this vibrant atmosphere. Moreover, being right at the foot of the historic district of Cimavilla and the Santa Catalina Hill allows you to immerse yourself in history and ambiance. In Cimavilla, you'll find charming terraces, workshops, art galleries, craft shops, and, of course, that unique flavor of ancient fishing neighborhoods.
A set of beaches to fall in love with
If you're a beach lover, in Gijón/Xixón, you're in a true paradise. It's no wonder it's one of the most famous cities in Spain for its beaches, with San Lorenzo beach being particularly renowned. Situated right in the coastal heart of the city, it extends into rocky shores with Los Mayanes and Cervigón beaches. Additionally, the Poniente and El Arbeyal beaches are also very appealing.
If you prefer the tranquility of a rural beach, yet still located just a few kilometers from the urban center and well-connected, your options multiply, catering to all preferences and moments: Peñarrubia, Serín, La Cagonera, Estaño, or la Ñora.
As you explore them all, you'll realize that each offers a distinct sensation, and their appearance and atmosphere change depending on the time of day and the season. Yet, they are always beaches that capture the heart.
Paths to dream in green
Gijón/Xixón is surrounded by paths and trails, both along the coast and into the rural interior, each offering journeys through landscapes, corners, and places that inspire dreams in shades of green.
Within the city, you'll discover an intricate network of routes that take you from the heart of the urban environment to its tranquil rural areas. If you retrace your steps, you're back to the bustle.
Two excellent examples of the quality and warmth of Gijón's routes are the Piles River Trail and the La Camocha Greenway, both connecting the city with its rural surroundings.
The Piles River Trail meanders peacefully alongside the river, accompanied by its soothing murmur, amidst landscapes adorned with apple orchards, forests, and hints of homesteads. It extends to the Vega parish, where you'll find the mining village of La Camocha.
On the other hand, the greenway follows the path of an old railway branch, connecting the Tremañes neighborhood with the La Camocha mine in Huerces.
Both trails are full of life, often frequented by hikers and cyclists, either leisurely strolling or training at a brisk pace. Yet, everyone is immersed in an atmosphere that beckons relaxation and communion with nature. And all of this is right beside the city—an authentic luxury founded on the charm of simplicity.
The museums with the best views in the world
Another characteristic that sets Gijón/Xixón apart and imbues it with a seductive allure well above the average is its array of museums and cultural spaces.
You'll notice that the city proudly showcases museums right in the urban center, housed in historic palaces, but it also presents its past and origins to the world in places where it unfolded. Even today, you can feel the vibrations of fascinating events, cultures long buried by the passage of time, emerging before your eyes to narrate how much of them persists in the present.
Among these particularly intriguing sites, the Campa de Torres settlement stands out. For centuries and thousands of years, it was the home of the Cilúrnigos, the early inhabitants of that place called Noega, where they skillfully worked with bronze and enjoyed breathtaking views: to the north, the ocean, and behind them, the very Picos de Europa and the Central Mountain Range.
And if you're interested in a taste of Roman history, you only need to visit the village of Veranes, very close to Gijón/Xixón, to witness the dream of Veranius, the likely name of the notable owner of this Roman villa. Its legacy dates back to the 4th century AD and has been brought to life in recent decades, astounding all who visit. The Veranes Roman Villa, like the Campa de Torres, boasts stunning views of the valley as it's situated on a hillside, with the crests of the Asturian Central Mountain Range in the backdrop.
So, you'll come to the conclusion that you're visiting museums with some of the best views in the world...
An imposing City of Culture
Can you imagine a grand Ciudad de la Cultura set within the green and rural surroundings of a city? Well, Gijón/Xixón has one, and it's simply spectacular, both in terms of its architecture and the numerous activities that take place within it throughout the year.
The Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura has a captivating history that you can listen to within its walls. Its imposing and astonishing design transports you to classical antiquity amidst the lush greenery of Asturias.
You'll be amazed because it's always bustling: students, artists, travelers... Its courtyards, its impressive gardens, its theater, and its tower – from which you can enjoy one of the best panoramic views of the city of Gijón/Xixón – are all essential places to explore in your visit to the City of Culture. If you also have the chance to attend or take part in one of the many workshops, events, or performances frequently held there, the experience will be truly enriching...
A viewpoint to set course for Gijón "full sail ahead".
During your journey in Gijón, you'll come across many charming corners, and some of them will leave you awe-struck with their views... That's why one place that will undoubtedly "hook" you is the viewpoint at Cabo San Lorenzo Park.
You can reach it on foot or by bike from the city, using the coastal trail, or by road, ascending to the Alto de la Providencia.
The viewpoint resembles the bow of a ship, and when you ascend to it, you feel like a true captain observing the horizon from the helm. Additionally, there's often a gentle breeze, creating the sensation of sailing towards the city of Gijón/Xixón. The views are splendid, and the feeling of relaxation and freedom is undeniable.
Remember that Cabo San Lorenzo is the prominent natural headland that marks the eastern boundary of the Gijón fortress, and it boasts an exceptional environment: the Crow Hill, the coastal trail extending to Ñora, the Providencia esplanade, the vistas from Alto del Infanzón, and more.
Cum laude gastronomy
The aromas and flavors of cuisine are another highlight of Gijón/Xixón. If you add the pleasures of the table to your natural walks, cultural visits, and recreational and sports activities, your Gijón adventure will be wonderfully complete.
Indeed, in Gijón/Xixón, good food has always been sacred, and accompanying gatherings around meals with a glass of fine cider or good wine is a cherished tradition as well.
Due to its coastal location, the seafood cuisine has always been a reigning favorite, featuring the freshest fish and seafood and the most delightful maritime stews on the table, prepared by women and men who inherited their culinary skills from their ancestors.
This tradition continues today, and in recent decades, there has been a touch of innovation added, without losing sight of its roots.
Moreover, if you have a sweet tooth, you can experience a true "death by chocolate" in Gijón/Xixón, as the city has an immense sweet tradition.
So, to have exceptional culinary experiences, set your course for Gijón/Xixón (even if you're looking for gluten-free options). Explore all the gastronomic options the city has to offer!
An intense and varied cultural agenda
With a city so old, so open, and so beautiful, you can imagine that the city's cultural and social life is intense and varied, and that all year round you have theatre, cinema cycles, musical performances, exhibitions and an endless number of workshops of all kinds - gastronomic, artistic, sporting, etc. -, which make Gijón/Xixón one of the most enjoyable cities you can visit.
La cultural agenda The Villa de Jovellanos is always full to bursting and offers options for all tastes, ages and budgets.
Ya sea en el teatro Jovellanos, en Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura, in the different athenaeums, in the streets, in night clubs or daytime venues, life is always hyperactive in Gijón/Xixón.