Aviles is a calm, relaxed and unexpected town. It is the perfect example of “You can’t judge a book by its cover”
Originally an industrial town, it is surrounded by the factories of the giants of the international Steel and Chemical markets such as Arcelor Mittal and Du Pont.
Once you pass the industrial scenes and get to the heart of the town you would be amazed by what the English writer Paul Richardson referred in his article for The Guardian “The Cinderella” of Asturias. This is a city with an old history, nice beaches, busy port, amazing gastronomy, incredible art scene and very welcoming people. And this is just 10 minutes from the Airport of Asturias.
Aviles was granted city status by King Alfonso VI. The Historic Center is crossed by very popular streets like Galiana, La Ferreria or Rivero where you can feel centuries of history through their buildings from the Middle Ages to the present day. In fact the city’s old district was declared of Historical and Artistic interest in 1955.
Walking their streets you will find amazing historical buildings with different architectural styles of Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Art Nouveau. such as The Marques de Camposagrado, Valdecarzana, Marques de Ferrera Palaces, the Eladio Muñiz, García Pumarino or Arias de la Nozeda’s House.
If you are interested in Religious buildings you can’t miss the Alas’ Chapel, the Padres Franciscanos Church, The Building of Aviles City Hall, St. Francis‘s water spouts, San Nicolas de Bari Church, The Old Church of Sabugo or The Carriona Cemetery which for some is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Spain.
The streets are full of bars, taverns, restaurants and tapas bars and they offer a mix of traditional or creative Asturias and Spanish cooking. Aviles has a very important fishing port and therefore you will enjoy the most wonderful fish dishes and fresh seafood on offer. Also, you can not go to Aviles without trying their most popular cheeses La Peral and Gorfoli.
Arts and Culture are well represented throughout Aviles but none more so than the neo-baroque, Italian style Palacio Valdes Theatre, where you not only can enjoy the beauty of the old fashioned style coliseum theatre but also some very fine theatre productions such as Shakespeare’s The Tempest or Richard III delivered last year in original version by the acting troupe of the Old Vic Theatre in London.
It is also highly recommended that you take a visit the «Centro Cultural Internacional Oscar Niemeyer» (Centro Niemeyer), the amazing contribution of famous architect Oscar Niemeyer to the city of Aviles described by him by «a square open to the sea for all the men and women of the world, a place for cohabitation, education, culture and peace». The centers exhibition spaces, meeting rooms, cinema, auditorium and cafeteria have played host to Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey, Jessica Lange, Brad Pitt, Stephen Hawking, Paulo Coelho and Julian Schnabel. Woody Allen held the worldwide premiere of the movie «Cassandra’s Dream» at the centre and he is also the President of Honour of the Film Centre where he is a content advisor.
The Route of Santiago meets at Aviles via two routes. On one side, there is the “Northern Route” which runs along the Atlantic coast joining the small fishing villages along to the Cantabrian Sea. The other route called «El Salvador Route» starts from the “French Way” in the city of Leon, which travels into Asturias to visit in the cathedral of San Salvador in Oviedo and the relics of the Holy House. Then from Oviedo the route meanders toward the Aviles route and continues along eventually joining the coastal road before moving on to Santiago de Compostela. Both routes meet up at the city centre and it is at this point where you will find the Pilgrims’ Hostel.
For nature lovers, Aviles is just beside the Council of Castrillón which is well know as the area of the seven beaches, one of them being the most important dune system in Asturias, Espartal beach. Other beaches of special importance for their spectacular locations are the Beachs of Bayas and Deva, both having been declared Natural Monuments due to their landscape, vegetation and ornithology.
Aviles also offers plenty of activities such as surfing, biking, trekking and golf to mention but a few.
People of Aviles are fun, warm and welcoming. They love to celebrate and to enjoy their town and the outdoors. The most popular parties are their very original Carnival, the bonfires of San Juan, and the “Bollu Day” where they enjoy locally made Sweet Bread Roll and council hosts a massive lunch on the streets which is open for all to attend.
In July in Aviles, you can enjoy the “The Interceltic Festival”, declared to be of Touristic Interest and the “Festival of Narrative of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror CELCIUS 232”.
For more information you can read the article by Paul Richardson for The Guardian Newspaper
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