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- 26 Jan 2020, 3 nights
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Set in northern Spain, Gijón is the Asturias region's largest city. It's known for lively culture and nightlife, plus golden-sand beaches and historic buildings dating back to the Roman era. In the evenings, locals take a paseo (evening walk) along the pretty harbourfront, where the sidrerías (cider bars) fill up. For outdoorsy types, there are hiking trails out of the city and plenty of opportunities along the coast for watersports, such as windsurfing and kayaking.
You'll find Gijón hostels scattered throughout the city centre. You can stay in a surf hostel close to the beach, modern rooms 5 minutes' walk from transport hubs and the main square, or a chic Gijón hostel with sea views. Some options have free breakfast, and most have a kitchen where you can prepare your own food. Most are within walking distance of restaurants and bars. Look out for hostels in Gijón with features such as individual lights in dorm rooms, or lockers for extra security.
Most visitors head to Gijón's Centro district, which is where you'll find most of the city's attractions, like Cimavilla, with its colourful buildings, narrow alleys, and sidrerías. Once a sleepy fishing town, there are a few historic sights here, including Roman ruins. Gijón's shopping is concentrated around the areas of Calle Corrida, Calle de los Moros and Paseo Begoña. The city has two main beaches; Playa de San Lorenzo is the largest (and a popular spot for watersports) while Playa de Poniente is smaller and more laid-back.
One of Gijón's most imposing buildings is the fortified 18th-century Revillagigedo Palace, which now houses an arts centre. You can learn more about the city's past at a museum in the 16th-century Clock Tower, or see elaborately decorated traditional grain storage buildings at the Muséu del Pueblu d’Asturies. The city's well-preserved Roman baths date as far back as the 2nd century BC. Head up to the Cerro de Santa Catalina Park for views out over the sea and city, and the iconic sculpture Elogio del Horizonte.
Asturias Airport is 40km away from Gijón. Buses run hourly from the airport to the city centre and take around 45 minutes. Gijón Railway Station is well-connected to other Spanish cities, and you can catch a direct train to Madrid (journey time: around 5 hours). Within the city, it's easy to get around on foot (from one side of Cimavilla to the other, it's less than 15 minutes' walk), or on the extensive bus network.