The Campo Valdés baths, dating back to the 1st century AD, and other reminders of Gijón's time as an ancient Roman port remain visible downtown. Gijón was almost destroyed in a 14th-century struggle over the Castilian throne, but by the 19th century it was a thriving port and industrial city. The modern-day city is part fishing port, part summer resort, and part university town, packed with cafés, restaurants, and sidrerías.
This friendly, folksy, and romantic chalet was founded in 1891. When the weather cooperates, the terrace is a perfect spot for roast beef, rice with clams, or fabada asturiana. The restaurant is 3 km (2 miles) east of town.
This steep peninsula, the old fishermen's quarter, is now the hub of Gijón's nightlife. From the park at the highest point on the headland, beside Basque artist Eduardo Chillida's massive sculpture Elogio del Horizonte (In Praise of the Horizon), there's a panoramic view of the coast and city.
Dating back to the time of Augustus, Gijón's baths are under the plaza at the end of the beach.
Muséu del Pueblu d'Asturies
Across the river on the eastern edge of town, past Parque Isabel la Católica, this rustic museum contains traditional Asturian houses, cider presses, a mill, and an exquisitely painted granary. Also here is the Museo de la Gaita (Bagpipe Museum). This collection of wind instruments explains their evolution both around the world and within Asturias.
Playa de Poniente
The capital of the Costa Verde, Gijón, overlooks two attractive sandy beaches that are large enough to avoid overcrowding in summer. Playa de Poniente (Sunset Beach) is tucked into the city's harbor, a horseshoe-shaped curve of fine artificial sand and calm waters that's wonderful for a stroll as the evening draws in. Amenities: lifeguards; showers; toilets. Best for: sunset; swimming; walking.
Playa de San Lorenzo
Gijón's second popular beach, on the other side of the headland from Playa de Poniente, is a large stretch of golden sand backed by a promenade that extends from one end of town to the other. Across the narrow peninsula and the Plaza Mayor is the harbor, where the fishing fleet comes in with the day's catch. As long as the tide is out, you can sunbathe. The waves are generally moderate, although the weather and sea currents can be unpredictable along the northern coast. Amenities: food and drink; lifeguards; showers; toilets; water sports. Best for: sunset; swimming; walking.