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What to see in Avilés

When planning a visit to Avilés, people usually think of the Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre – an innovative architectural space that has become a beacon for art and culture not just in the industrial town of Avilés, but in the whole of Asturias. However, Avilés has much more to offer. Many people consider it Asturias’ Medieval town on account of its authenticity and how well it has preserved the historical features of its streets, plazas and stone houses.

What to see in Avilés

The town’s industrial past means it has amassed a great wealth and an outstanding heritage. Here are some places you might like to visit in Avilés:

  • Old town: Declared a Historical and Artistic Site in the Spanish heritage registry in 1955, the old town in Avilés is one of the prettiest urban centres in the whole of Asturias. Its central feature is the Plaza de Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.
  • Avilés estuary: This natural estuary connects the town with the sea, next to the separate community of San Juan de Nieva with its beautiful sandy beach.
  • Parque de Ferrera: The largest park in Avilés and also one of the prettiest and well-landscaped in Asturias, with a British-inspired design. Before opening its gates to the public the park was the hunting estate for the Palacio de Ferrera.

 

 

  • Palacio de Valdecarzana: The oldest civic building in Avilés, dating back to the 14th Also known as the Casa de las Baragañas, this Gothic-style palace was purportedly the residence of a rich local trader.
  • Parque del Muelle: This was Avilés’ most prized green space until the Parque de Ferrera was opened to the public. It’s a symbol of the wealth that the city has amassed since industrialisation from the 19th century onwards.
  • Iglesia de los Padres Franciscanos: This small Romanesque-style 12th-century temple is the jewel of the town’s religious heritage. It is abundantly decorated with sculptural motifs on the capitals and in the relief and low relief on the walls.

aviles asturias

Oscar Niemeyer International Cultural Centre

The magnificent Centro Niemeyer deserves a section all of its own. This innovative architectural complex came from the mind of the brilliant Brazilian architect who the centre is named after, following his success at the then Prince of Asturias Awards in 1989.

Oscar Niemeyer gifted the project to the Principality of Asturias as a way of showing his gratitude for the relationship that was established between himself and the autonomous community on account of winning such a prestigious prize.

The whiteness of this collection of geometric buildings stands out against Avilés’ old town and the typical industrial architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries that dominates much of the estuary.

centro niemeyer asturias

The whole complex comprises the following elements:

  • Plaza: A public space designed to sit seamlessly within the town. It provides the setting for concerts and other big cultural events.
  • Multiuse building: Houses the Film Centre, meeting rooms, offices, shops, an education centre and a gastro-pub, among its other functions.
  • Dome: A huge exhibition hall welcoming all art forms and sectors.
  • Auditorium: The stage can be rotated to face the interior seating area or the outdoor plaza to accommodate large audiences.
  • Tower: An 18-metre-tall viewpoint looking over the estuary. It also has a restaurant.

Where to eat in Avilés

Avilés sits practically at the mid-way point along the Asturian coast and is one of the region’s main ports. It’s therefore no surprise that fish and seafood feature heavily in Asturian cuisine. The riches of the sea are served up in some of the best dishes you’ll find in restaurants in Avilés. Here’s our pick of the town’s top eateries:

  • Casa Tataguyo (Plaza Carbayedo, 4): A classic of Avilés since 1845, both in terms of its decor and its approach to food. The fish is good here but so are the stews of tripe and longaniza (homemade sausage), not to mention the traditional pote asturiano.
  • Ronda 14 (Alfonso VII, 20): One of the most extraordinary restaurants in town. Make sure you don’t miss out on Liman chef Mario Céspedes’ fusion of Peruvian and Asturian cuisine.
  • Sidrería Yumay (Rafael Suárez, 7): Avilés more than holds its own in the world of Asturian cider. This is a revered cider house where, in addition to the local tipple, you can be sure to enjoy some of the best local cuisine including rice dishes and seafood.
  • Real Balneario (Avenida Juan Sitges, 3, Salinas): This haute cuisine establishment sits on the outskirts of Avilés. Head chef Isaac Loya del Río is part of a family that swears by quality raw ingredients and authentic cooking methods.
  • Yume (Estación, 27): This place has breathed new life and ideas into the local restaurant scene with its ever-changing menu packed with Asian influences. It’s been a welcome addition to Avilés.

Information of interest

How to get there

  • By car: Avilés is 35 km from Oviedo. The journey time is around 30 minutes on the A-66 and A-8 motorways.
  • By bus: The Oviedo-Avilés line has a journey time of around 30 minutes between respective bus stations.
  • By train: You can also get to Avilés from Gijón by train (operated by Feve). The journey takes around 40 minutes and there are several departures daily.

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