Our opinion of Gijon
If you are in Asturias and have time to spare, then Gijon is certainly worth a visit. That said, if your schedule is limited and you have to choose between Gijon, Oviedo and Aviles, regrettably Gijon is probably the city to leave out.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Gijon, but as a tourist destination it lacks the grandeur of Oviedo and the expansiveness of Aviles’ old quarter.
Gijon, like many cities throughout the world, lost much of its old district through its late nineteenth and early twentieth century prosperity. This new found wealth saw many of the city’s old buildings demolished to make way for newer and more commercially suitable structures. It was the economy’s gain, but heritage’s loss – a story duplicated throughout the first world.
Good things about Gijon
If you can schedule Gijon into a trip or holiday, then expect a truly cosmopolitan city and one that has evolved on a large scale. Gijon’s old town is small, but with its location adjacent to the marina it makes a nice place to spend an hour or two.
Also worth seeing are the massive University building and the beautiful botanic gardens that lay a mere stone’s throw away. Combined together, these two attractions can easily fill half (and possibly a full) day.
Gijon is not thought of (by non Spaniards at least) as a beach destination, but its large and arcing San Lorenzo beach is superb. If the weather is good and the temperatures are warm, Gijon can offer a tourist a mix of sun, sand, heritage and horticulture that will satisfy most. The province is also a great retreat for anyone wishing to go walking with numerous paths and routes through many scenic locations.
Gijon also scores top marks for its multi language tourist information and for the number of (and ease of finding) its numerous tourist offices. We were able to pick up 7 different “subject matter” guides to Gijon (all in English) and city street and attraction maps appear in all these guides. This really makes Gijon easy to navigate and saves time wasting as you hunt for a museum, beach or garden.
There is nothing wrong with Gijon, it just has slightly less of the “good stuff” than its counterparts of Aviles and Oviedo.