Aviles, Asturias, Spain
Situated on the Cantabria coast and just west of the centre of Asturias, Aviles is easily reached by main highway and (before long) a new motorway that will link it to the Basque Country and also to la Coruna in Galicia.
Geographically Aviles runs longitudinally on a narrow and level stretch of land near the "Aviles' canyon" where it faces the Bay of Biscay to the north whilst sitting to the west of Cape Penas. The Penas river is one of two rivers that run through the town. The old town is set off the left hand bank of the river.
Aviles’ location places it only a short distance from the other two major cities of Asturias, namely Gijon and Oviedo, and provides it with access to local beaches and the ocean.
Tourism in Aviles
Aviles is considered the third most important city in Asturias when viewed in economic and populous terms, but it is probably number one on most visiting tourists' lists, mainly due to its beautiful and extensive old district.
Aviles is actually set in the smallest of the Asturian principalities, but that should not deter any prospective visitor from taking a look. This architecturally rich hamlet probably possesses the most appealing of all of Asturias’ old towns and has a wealth of monuments and building treasures, many dating back centuries.
For those with an interest in architecture, a walk through Aviles throws up one impressive building after another and, whilst few are on a grand scale in themselves, they combine together to create a feel of the past.
The street scene in Aviles continually changes from the quaint and frequently colourful terraces of balconied town houses, to the grander civic buildings with ornate stone corbelling and colonnaded stone arches. The old town of Aviles is a genuine treasure and unusually for an old quarter is bright and full of colour.
The heart of the old town
Within the historic quarter of Aviles there are a number of streets that are of particular tourist interest and many interconnect through courtyards and plazas as well as the town’s central park.
Aviles is highly colourful and although many buildings are constructed in light coloured sandstone, many others are rendered and painted in lemon, yellow, orange or a pastel shade of red, green or blue.
Quite a significant number of the streets in the old quarter are narrow and dark, but they frequently open out on to large and airy squares and it is in these courtyards that most of the larger examples of the city’s civic heritage appear.
For the tourist Aviles is a great city to explore, not just because of its heritage, but because of the close proximity of its interesting and attention worthy buildings. Nearly all of these occupy a compact area that sees pedestrianized paths and side streets run off a couple of squares, the plaza de Espana and the plaza de Mercado, or the parks of Ferrera and Muelle. Once in this part of the historic district it is almost impossible to miss out on any of the city’s main sightseeing attractions.
Outside the old town
Although it is clearly the historic quarter that attracts most of the city’s visitors, the newer expansions of Aviles cartwheel out from the old town and offer excellent shopping, eating and a few further points of tourist interest.
Modern Aviles is very prosperous with a large financial sector and this accounts for the high levels of preservation and renovation in the old town. What visitors will also see is an energetic new city that is constantly busy and that has an almost cosmopolitan air to it.
Aviles has top branded boutiques, restaurants offering a variety of international cuisines and a large commercial centre. A further advantage is that it is not blighted by an industrial district like Oviedo or Gijon. Large scale industry gave way to more high tech businesses some time ago and Aviles has few unsightly areas – or at least few that the typical tourist will encounter.
To explore Aviles in more detail, in both words and images, use the menu in the box to the top right of this page.
From there you can navigate to pages about the city’s old town and buildings as well as finding out about the history and climate of this fascinating and beautiful location.