Gijon is an industrial port city located on the north coast of Spain. Despite Gijon being the largest city in the autonomous region of Asturias, it doesn’t attract tourists like comparatively sized Spanish cities. It feels somewhat undiscovered, a diamond in the rough. Although it is not a tourist hotspot, it has a unique charm, and plenty to do and see. So, it begs the question is Gijon worth visiting?
Below we discuss what makes Gijon a great place to visit, and a few reasons we would give it a miss. We will leave it up to you to decide if it’s worth visiting.
There is plenty to see and do in Gijon
Gijon has a rich maritime history worth discovering. Perhaps the most fascinating part of the city is the Cimadevilla, the old fishermans quarters. Perched on a small clifftop looking over the San Lorenzo Beach, this unique settlement feels like it’s been frozen in time. The Cimadevilla is the epitime of Asturian charm, and really must be seen to be believed.
Whilst in Gijon, make sure to check out the local art and architecture. Furthermore, why not fully embrace the local way of life and try some cider? For the most authentic Asturian experience grab a beverage in a traditional cider bar, called ‘sidrerías’.
To discover all the best things to do and see in Gijón, check out the post below.
Amazing beaches worth visiting in Gijon
Gijon is home to 3 stunning beaches, all with their own unique charm.
If you are a surfer you will love San Lorenzo beach, which attracts surfers locally and from afar. This 1.5km stretch has soft golden sand and rolling waves. It is a great beach that can be enjoyed by all. It is undoubtedly the best beach for watersports in Gijon. When visiting we saw surfers, SUPs, Sea Kayakers, and ever wild swimming make the most of the water.
The other beaches in Gijon are slightly quieter. Firstly L’Arbeyal Beach, this beach is located the furthest from the city centre and therefore doesn’t draw the same amount of crowds as San Lorenzo beach. Nonetheless it is still popular amongst locals. There is a kid’s play park on the beach, beach volleyball nets, and even outdoor exercise machines. It is well-equipped for a fun family day in the sun. Finally, there is a small Aire (campervan parking) on the beach drawing a steady stream of tourists to the area. To find out more about the Aire click the link below.
Finally, Paseo Marítimo de Poniente, this beach is an artificial sheltered sandy bay beside the marina. It is well known for its surrounding nightlife.
Gijon makes a great day trip
One great thing about Gijon is that you can essentially complete it in a day. This is due to Gijon being reasonably compact, with every landmark and sight worth visiting being within walking distance of each other.
So if you are looking for a place to discover in a tight time frame Gijón is perfect. Although Gijon makes a great day trip, we wouldn’t necessarily stay much longer, unless you are a surfer. Pesonally, we felt like we had seen everything within a couple of hours exploring the city and were left hungry for more.
The area surrounding Gijon
The area surrounding Gijon is undeniably stunning. In fact, the whole north coast of Spain is absolutely gorgeous and well worth visiting. This makes Gijón a great base to explore more of Northern Spain.
With that being said, Gijon was arguably the most anti-climatic pit stop on our tour of the north coast. Particularly when there are so many more impressive beaches within 30 miles of Gijon, and an even more exciting city to visit – Oviedo.
So is Gijon worth visiting?
Although we typically take a positive stance on every place we visit, Gijon did not make our hearts skip a beat. For that reason, we DON’T think it’s worth visiting.
Gijon is great place to visit for a quick 24-hour trip, or even as a short stay en route to somewhere else. It has history, culture, and even a few good beaches. Gijon is also a family-friendly destination with plenty to keep kids entertained. It is truly hard to put your finger on what is lacking, but it feels like something is missing when visiting Gijon!
Although we did enjoy our 2 days in Gijon, we felt MORE than ready to move on. Quite frankly, it did not leave a lasting impression. However, with that being said, if you are into water sports – in particular surfing, then visiting Gijon will undeniably be worth it to you.
Alternative nearby destinations to Gijon
If you are simply looking for a city break in Northern Spain, we recommend Oviedo. Although it is not on the coast, it is a quaint town with a lot of old-world charm. It is particularly buzzing when the local market is in full swing.
If you are looking for a relaxing beach trip we recommend hiring a car and discovering the north coast at your own pace. We stumbled across numerous almost empty beaches whilst on our road trip. Our personal favorites include:
Both of which are within a 2 hour drive from Gijon. Best yet, if you have a campervan, you can park overnight at these spots. Both boasting fabulous views stretching out over the Bay of Biscay.
Although Gijon is a good surfing destination, we still think there are better options on the north coast of Spain. In Particular, San Sebastian. This charming town is not only has great surf culture, but has much more to do when you’re not riding the waves.
Whilst you’re here, why not check out some of our other posts about Northern Spain, whether you are looking to discover on of the many cities, including Bilbao, San Sebastian, or even the semi desert region of Bardenas Reales. Or best yet, why not check out our Basque Country Road Trip?