Gijon – Spain’s port city with a rich history
Gijon, Spain is a small port city in the northern part of the country, known as the seafaring capital and one of the centers of industry. Its population is 280,000 people. The area of the city is 181.7 km².
Gijon is located in the center of the Asturian coast, with the cities of Carreño and Ciero nearby. Interestingly, the history of the city began during the Roman Empire, when one of the largest ports of the country was located here. At that time, the city was called Gijon.
Like other Spanish cities, Gijón is rapidly developing, but there are far more historical buildings than glass skyscrapers and modern offices. You won’t find as many tourists as you would in Barcelona or Madrid, making it a perfect place for quieter and quieter travelers.
There aren’t many attractions in Gijon, but some are as worth seeing as they are in Barcelona or Madrid.
Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura is the largest building in Spain (270,000 square meters) and the most important of those built in the 20th century (1945-1956).
The complex consists of the following parts:
- The main building. Designed by Luis Moya, who created it in the likeness of the Parthenon. The architect preferred that the main gate face away from the city, so that visitors coming from Gijon would have to walk around the university from all sides and admire its façade.
- The courtyard is surrounded on all sides by the walls of the university, and its area is no more than 150 square meters.
- The church is the most important attraction of the complex. It is the largest temple in the world with an elliptical floor. At the top is a huge dome weighing 2,300 tons. The building is not used for its intended purpose, and exhibitions are regularly held here.
- The Laboratory University Tower is the tallest building in Austria and offers an incredible view of the surroundings. There are no stairs to climb – a high-speed elevator takes tourists to the top.
- Theater is the main cultural attraction of Gijon in Spain. It is interesting that it was built in 1945, and it was the first theater in the world with air conditioning. The hall is designed for 1500 people.
Special attention should be paid to the viewing platform, because most tourists come here because of it. It is not as high as one might think at first sight, but it offers a really beautiful view of the city of Gijon, the Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura and the surrounding mountains. The elevator goes up as it fills up, and the amount of time at the top of the tower is unlimited.
- Location: Calle Luis Moya Blanco, 261, 33203 Gijón, Asturias, Spain.
- Opening hours: 10.00-18.00.
- Cost: 2 euros.
- Official website: http://www.laboralciudaddelacultura.com
Atlantic Botanical Garden is one of the most unique attractions of Gijón. In contrast to other gardens and parks of Spain, here there is a museum component thanks to which a visit to the botanical garden will be interesting even for children.
For a better perception of the exposition and plants, the garden is divided into 4 large parts:
- “Cantabrian Environment.” In this area you can explore the flora and fauna of the Cantabrian mountains, meet exotic birds and admire the beautiful views from several observation decks.
- “The Plant Factory” is a full-fledged museum exhibit where you can learn about and see those plants that used to be wild, but later became garden and indoor plants. You’ll also see several recipes for healing herbal infusions on the stands and learn interesting stories about how plants were exchanged between the Old and New Worlds.
- “The Island Garden is the largest part of the botanical garden, with hundreds of species of plants and wood. It also features an artificial pond, several scenic avenues, and a pond.
- “The Atlantic Trail” is the most visited and interesting part of the garden. Here recreated the ecosystems of the Atlantic, and here you can get a lot of useful information. For example, in what part of the globe this or that tree grows, when different types of shrubs bloom, etc.
Also in the park there are exhibitions “Food for Animals” and “How People Tame Plants”. One of the most visited places is the pavilion dedicated to the Swedish biologist Linnaeus, who visited Lapland to study the flora and fauna of this northern corner of the Earth.
There are also interactive zones in the botanical garden. For example, on one of them you can learn all the secrets of photographing birds, on the other – to get a closer look at the local flora. In addition, the botanical garden regularly holds workshops, seminars and other events, which can be visited by anyone.
Useful tips for visitors:
- Along with the purchase of the ticket, tourists are given a map of the botanical garden. Even if it is in Spanish, it is still easier to navigate in the area.
- At the entrance to the botanical garden is a small store with interesting books about native plants – tourists are advised to buy a copy.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because the park covers an area of 16 hectares, and visitors to the botanical garden can expect a long walk.
- Location: Av. del Jardín Botánico, 2230, 33203 Gijón, Asturias, Spain.
- Opening hours: 10.00-19.00.
- Cost: 3 euros for adults, 2 for children and seniors.
Santa Catalina is a promontory in the northern part of Gijón, known for the hill (it offers beautiful views of the city) and the port. The central part of the peninsula is the Cerro de Santa Catalina, a high stone wall that used to protect an ancient fortress from enemy raids.
The main attractions also include the chapel of the guild of sailors and the ancient oceanfront development.
However, all of the above attractions are not the most important. Most tourists go to this part of Gijon to visit the hill of the same name – from here you can enjoy incredible views of the ocean. There is also a sculpture with the symbolic name “Compliment to the Horizon” at the top.
Simadevilla is the main district of Gijón and is located in the heart of the city. In fact, this is the Old City, where you can see the ruins of the walls and thermae built during the Roman Empire. Most of the surviving buildings date back to the 15th-16th centuries.
The area is located on the Santa Catalina Peninsula (there is also a port), and almost all the locals are sailors. Tourists love this area for its unique atmosphere and beautiful views from the hill.
The Gijón Oceanarium is the only one in Spain where you can see all five vertebrate groups. The attraction was opened in 2006, and the exposition is regularly replenished.
The aquarium is divided into 12 zones, each of which corresponds to a particular river or sea. Thanks to this it is very easy and interesting to perceive the information:
- The Bay of Biscay.
- The rivers of Cantabria. Cantabria is a province in northern Spain, famous throughout the country for its picturesque streams and full-flowing rivers.
- The Atlantic Ocean, home to dolphins, sperm whales and harbor porpoises.
- North Sea. Shrimp, trout fish, salmon and clams can be seen in this part of the exhibit.
- Coral reefs are the most colorful and beautiful part of the oceanarium.
- Red Sea. This part of the oceanarium will introduce you to jellyfish, morays, stingrays and sharks.
- Indian Ocean. Here you can see giant turtles.
- The Pacific Ocean is home to penguins, octopuses, sea turtles and giant squids.
- The Arctic Ocean is home to herring, cod, and sea bass.
On weekends, the oceanarium usually hosts workshops and seminars for children. Anyone who bought a ticket can visit them.
Tourists speak very highly of the attractions – note the good service, lack of queues and the incredible beauty of the underwater world. Visitors consider the open pools where you can peek from above and actually touch the sea creatures to be a big plus.
- Location: Playa De Poniente, S/N, 33212 Gijón, Spain.
- Open hours: 10:30-18:30.
- Cost: 15 euros for adults, 12 euros for children and seniors.
Beach (Playa de San Lorenzo)
San Lorenzo is the only beach in Gijón which meets all safety measures. The surface is sandy, there are no stones or shells. Since Gijon is a port city, there is often trash and leaves in the water. The entrance to the water is gentle, so the place is good for families with children.
Length – about 1.5 km, width – at least 60-70 meters. There are always a lot of people on the beach, but there is enough space and everyone can relax comfortably. On some days the waves rise quite high, thanks to which the beach is also loved by surfers.
Note that the view of the beach of San Lorenzo varies greatly during the day. Because of the tides, in the morning the beach looks like a long and wide strip of golden sand and in the evening it disappears completely.
Around 16:00-17:00, those who swim in the sea, beach workers are asked to get out of the water and watch the tide from the shore. Warning signs are posted on the beach, and many lifeguards are vigilant to ensure that no one enters the water.
As for infrastructure, the beach itself only has toilets and showers. There is one aid station and there are four lifeguard towers. There are no cafes, restaurants and bars, as the beach is urban and all the necessary institutions are within walking distance.
Weather and climate
The climate in Gijón is Atlantic – one of the most stable and comfortable in Europe, because there are no sudden changes in weather and excessively low or high temperatures.
The hottest month is August, with daytime temperatures of +22-23 °C. In January (and this is the coldest month) the thermometer does not fall below +12 ° C. During the summer months, the water temperature ranges from +16 ° C in June to +20 ° C in July and August.
The humidity in Gijón is always high, so it can feel like +28°C.
There are about 80 hotels and hostels in Gijon – the city is not a tourist city, so there are few places to stay. It is necessary to book a room 2-3 months before arrival.
The average room rate at a 3* hotel in high season for two people ranges from $60 to $80. The price includes a delicious breakfast, a restaurant on the first floor and free on-site parking. The owners also promise that the room will have all the necessary appliances and a beautiful view of the city.
Choosing a suitable apartment is easier than a hotel – there are about 150 apartments for rent in the city. The average price for a night for two in high season – from 40 to 60 dollars. The price includes all the necessary equipment in the room, basic necessities and 24-hour support from the host.
How to get there
Gijon is located on the north coast of Spain, 870 km from Barcelona and 470 km from Madrid. The closest major cities are Oviedo (30 km), Aviles (26 km) and Villaviciosa (31 km).
Despite the relative remoteness of Gijon from other Spanish cities, it is not difficult to reach it – there are regular buses and trains. In addition, 40 km from the city is an international airport, which regularly receives flights from Geneva, Barcelona, Prague, Paris, Malaga, London, Ibiza and Brussels.
Gijon is connected by bus to cities such as Oviedo, Carreno, Aviles, Madrid, Ciero, Villavisiosa, Llanes and Leon. The carrier is usually either ALSA (official website – www.alsa.com) or BILMAN BUS (official website – www.bilmanbus.es).
Rail transport in Spain is well developed, so you won’t have any problems getting to Gijon. You can get to the city from almost any major settlement with a railroad.
In fact, there is only one rail carrier in Spain – RENFE. On the official website (www.renfe.es) you can buy tickets and find out the exact schedule.
All prices on the page are for December 2019.
- Be prepared for the fact that all information in museums and botanical gardens is presented only in Spanish.
- The best souvenir store in the city is located at the entrance to the botanical garden.
- Book a hotel in Gijon 2-3 months before you arrive – the best rooms sell out quickly.
- Your trip to Gijon in Spain will not take long, because the best rooms sell out quickly.
Attractions in the center of Gijon:
Author: Maria Protasenya
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The city of Gijon – the pearl of Asturias
The second most important Asturian city after the capital Oviedo, Gijon is spoken of only in superlatives. It is the largest, oldest and greenest municipality in the Principality.
Gijon is located on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, an area of almost 200 square kilometers, 600 meters above sea level, on the site of a former fishing village founded by the Celts in the 5th century BC.
Today it is a modern port city with a population approaching 300 thousand people. One of the most successful megacities of Northern Spain with a well-developed infrastructure, it is known for its vibrant nightlife and crazy weekend fiestas.
Weather in Gijón
The mild Atlantic climate contributes to this activity. It is never as hot as the rest of the Iberian Peninsula. The air temperature rarely rises above 28 degrees in summer and does not drop below five degrees in winter. True, the weather in Gijon is often rainy. The swimming season lasts from June to August.
During the rest of the months the ocean is cool. The water temperature in Gijon ranges from 12 to 15 degrees, but this does not prevent lovers of surfing to carry out their training.
Although Gijon is not the most popular beach resort, there is a great opportunity to spend time on the coast. Arbejal, Poniente, and of course San Lorenzo are considered the best beaches in Gijon. Stretching almost 3.5 kilometers along the sea, San Lorenzo is more suitable for extreme athletes.
The beach is characterized by strong currents and sharp differences in depth. The beach of Poniente with imported sand from the Sahara is better for lovers of noisy entertainment. The traditional celebration of the holiday of San Juan, burning fires all night and walking thousands of holidaymakers, there is a festival of cider. For a quiet holiday, you will not find anything better than Arbeyal. By the way, all the beaches of Gijon awarded the highest mark of distinction – the Blue Flag.
Port of Gijon
The Port of Gijon El Musel is one of the largest in Spain. Its first dock was built at the end of the XV century. Two centuries later, Gijon received the right to trade with the Spanish colonies in America. And at the end of the XIX century the first coal was unloaded in the port of Gijon in Spain. Today about 3 thousand ships call at the port of Gijon annually. And its cargo turnover exceeds 17 million tons. Cruise ships of any displacement also visit El Musel.
Sights of Gijon
The city was destroyed almost to the ground during the Civil War, but you do not have to think long about what to see in Gijon. One of the oldest buildings is the Roman baths.
These constructions appeared in the second century and up to now have kept the ancient frescos and heating system developed by antique engineers. The brightest example of the XX century architecture is the complex of buildings of the Workers’ University of Gijon.
It is considered the largest building in Spain. The area of the campus is 11 hectares. And the central tower is 130 meters high. It is a quarter of the height of the famous Big Ben in London. The university was opened in 1946 to give higher education to the children of workers who died in the coal mines. Today it is home to the Center for the Arts and Industrial Creativity, one of the faculties of the University of Oviedo, the Higher School of Performing Arts and the Conservatory.
The university bell tower has an observation deck that offers a beautiful view of the city and its surroundings. It is from here that the most spectacular photos of Gijón are obtained.
One of the most picturesque places is Isabel Park in Gijon, named after Queen Isabella I of Castile, or Isabella the Catholic. It was laid out in 1941 in a swampy area by landscape architect Ramón Ortiz.
Today, 15 hectares of the park are occupied by rides, flower gardens, sculptures and a large pond in which swans, geese and ducks nest and peacocks strut along its banks.
For a thrill it is better to go to the Plaza de toros de El Bibio in Gijon. This is an active bullring . It was built in 1888 and holds almost 10,000 spectators! The highlight of the event is in August, when the city celebrates its patron saint Madonna of Begona. In 1992 the El Bibio arena was declared a historical and architectural monument.
Real estate in Gijon
Recently, the city of Gijon has been attracting more and more tourists not only by the attractions of Gijon, but also by the lucrative offers for rentals.
Gijon real estate, i.e. apartments that can be rented on vacation, is considered one of the most affordable in Spain. So, a 15-day stay in an apartment in Gijon will cost just over 500 euros. In Marbella, for example, the price is three times higher.
If you are planning a trip to Spain, visit the northern cities of Spain or spend time on the southern beaches of the country, the company “Spain Like Russian” will help you organize your trip the best way. We offer more than 100 services: from arranging visa and booking a hotel in Spain to yachts renting and individual sightseeing programs. Contact us by phone or email, and save yourself the hassle!
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Tags: spain, vacation, asturias, real estate, gijon, museum, port, trip, water, sea, surfing, beaches, weather, temperature, climate, city, attractions, swimming, waterfront, north, what to see, isabel park, plaza de toros de el bibio, working university of gijon