The three Asturian cities of Oviedo, Gijón and Avilés form a golden triangle offering urban excitement in this natural paradise
Firmly centred on its port and the sea, Avilés looks westwards and is the closest of the cities to Cabo Peñas, the most northern point in Asturias.
Its out-of-this-world Old Town still bears the marks of the intense lives of its inhabitants, from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, up to today. From historic streets, like Calle Galiana, to fishing neighbourhoods like Sabugo, the gardens of the Palace of the Marquis of Ferrera, and the childhood home of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the conquistador who claimed Florida for Spain- there’s treasure in every corner of Old Avilés.
The city’s cutting edge is demonstrated by the Niemeyer Centre, on the other side of the estuary, which has been converted into one of Asturias’ leading cultural spaces.
Gijón is Asturias’ number one city for beach and summer life. Famous for its casual, laid-back atmosphere and its love of cider, Gijón is ideal for a dip in the sea and exploring the many paths around the city.
What better plan than losing yourself in the streets of the fishing district, with its abundance of sunny terraces, cider bars and restaurants, and stopping off at the marina?
Follow that with a visit to the city’s excellent museums, such as Campa Torres, the Veranes Roman villa and the Laboral City of Culture, not forgetting the Jovellanos Theatre, for a fantastic, varied cultural voyage.
A stroll through the Cabo San Lorenzo Park for a panoramic view of the city, before finishing the day off by sampling the city’s excellent seafood cuisine, which is also known as Jovellanos (in homage to Enlightenment figure Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, who was born there), brings an unforgettable trip to a brilliant climax.
Laboral ciudad de la cultura, Gijon. © Noé Baranda
The capital of the Principality of Asturias, Oviedo is at the very heart of the region. At one with its surroundings, Oviedo is a modern metropolis with all the charm of a classic city.
This peaceful capital’s must-sees include the Old Town, where visitors can discover the secrets of its history, inextricably intertwined with the Kingdom of Asturias and the emergence of the Camino de Santiago.
Its nationally and internationally renowned museums include the Museum of Fine Arts and the Archaeological Museum.
Not forgetting, of course, the green lungs of the city, the Campo de San Francisco, and the lively Calle Gascona in the Old Town, lined with cider bars.
Last but not least, no one can leave Oviedo without visiting Santa María del Naranco and San Miguel de Lillo, the two most famous monuments to pre-Romanesque Asturian art, found in the foothills of Monte Naranco and offering panoramic views of the city.
Santa Maria del Naranco, Oviedo. © Benedicto Santos