Gijon vs Oviedo

Old May 22nd, 2024, 03:03 PM
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Gijon vs Oviedo

Hi everyone. Looking to decide whether my wife and I would use as our base Gijon or Oviedo? In either area, do you require a car to get around? Any suggestions for hotels and restaurants would be greatly appreciated.

happy travels
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 03:13 PM
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Restaurants we liked while staying in Oviedo, but I think that Gijon as a port city would be more interesting.



Barzana de Quiroz has a take the the Asturian fabada based on chestnuts instead of beans. It's one of the bui9ldings on the right:


If going to Leon (we did a day's excursion there), here are two more eating places:



Last edited by Michael; May 22nd, 2024 at 03:23 PM.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 10:53 PM
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Two very different cities, Oviedo is the capital of Asturias. Gijón is a bit bigger, coastal, both with lots of atmosphere. Oviedo offers preromanesque churches nearby (San Miguel de Lillo and Santa María del Naranco), Gijón has a beach (but this is the north and beach weather is not always an option). I´d use Oviedo as a base, Uber is very irrelevant in Spain, but in both cities you go walking everywhere.
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Old May 22nd, 2024, 10:57 PM
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I like the Hotel Alcomar in Gijón because its location seems perfect, central and at the same time next to the beach.
https://www.hotelalcomar.com/EN/home.html
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 03:21 AM
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mikelg gave you the perfect explanation of the difference.

I´ve stayed in both and will use Oviedo again as a base rather than Gijón because I'm a museum-monument fan.
But I'll make a day trip to Gijón. It's an easy drive. In Gijón we stayed at the Hotel El Môderne, but it´s not next to the expansive San Lorenzo beach. It's closer to the Poniente beach. For dining we liked the very traditional and atmospheric sidreria La Galana.

Oviedo to me is a very pretty, immaculate city that is so easily walkable and enjoyable. It has an excellent Fine Arts Museum with works by El Greco, Zurbarán, Ribera, Murillo, Goya, Sorolla, Zuloaga, Picasso, Dalí and native son, Regoyos, a fine Cathedral with a Cámara Santa, lots of interesting sculptures, a bustling market, El Fontán (with Sun. flea market on the square), along with those 3 pre-Romanesque churches, 2 outside of town and 1 within the city, San Juan de los Prados (Santullano).

Plus if you are an architecture fan, there are other pre-Romanesque churches that can be toured in the area, but you would need a car. We didn't have enough time to explore the city's Archaeological Museum, which is also very worthwhile.

Centro Prerrománico Asturiano

And Oviedo also has the lovely park, Campo de San Francisco.

The Ovetenses have a sweet tooth so there are lots of fine bakeries and pastry shops, lke the venerable Camilo San Blas on Jovellanos, where chef José Andrés filmed, that sells its famous carbayones (almond boats) and Rialto, from 1926 on San Francisco, famous for their moscovitas, chocolate covered almond cookies and Bombones Peñalba for its chocolates. In addition to the very lively market Mercado Fontán, there´s a lovely gourmet shop, Coalla, with branches in both cities (as well as in Madrid).

And it's always fun to do the cider house ritual at night (in both cities), but in Oviedo it's very easy as they are all lined up in a row on both sides of the Bulevar de la Sidra or "cider house row". Our favorite there's the very authentic La Finca Agrobar, serving farm to table, km. 0 dishes. Others: Tierra Astur, very large, a chain, good for groups, and El Ferroviario.

Other dining that we've enjoyed: Casa Fermín, arguably the city's best with 2 Repsol suns, Ca Suso (very creative, with 1 Repsol sun), the classic Restaurante Taberna Del Arco both for its popular bar and its dining room. There´s also Michelin-starred chef Nacho Manzano's new-ish NM and his casual, more affordable Gloria (with a Gijón branch).. Oviedo is a great restaurant city.

Hotels in Oviedo: the Grande Dame Hotel de la Reconquista (a former 18th century hospice), now a Eurostars, where the Royal Family stays during the Princesa de Asturias awards. In the same vicinity there´s the attractive Barceló Oviedo Cervantes, where we'll probably stay when we return, and the 3-star Fruela, which has an excellent central location.

On our last trip with a car (for an easy in-and-out for touring) we stayed at the flamboyant, space-shop looking Eurostars Palacio de Cristal at the congress center, the work of architect Calatrava, to experience a stay in a Calatrava-designed hotel, a bit "over the top" in design but with very large & comfortable rooms, some facing the mountains, but it's a bit too removed from the action, although the center is only a 20-minute walk.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 04:37 AM
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To this excellent recommendations by Maribel (and I support Oviedo as a base), I like to stay in Hotel Fruela, very much in the city center but on a quiet street, in front of twin hotel Hotel Spa Munia...more expensive as it offers a spa, but Fruela is just perfect, close to everywhere. As an anecdote, the area called El Vasco, close to el Ferroviario (the railway) is called that way as it used to be the place where the train station to Bilbao was located (the Basque railway, transporting coal from the Asturias mines to the Bilbao foundries). Cider is natural, not carbonated and not too sweet, very different to that in the US and other countries.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 05:18 AM
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You don't mention when you would go to Oviedo (or Gijón) but for anyone reading this thread, the Fiestas de San Mateo in Oviedo will run this year from Friday, September 20 to Thursday, September 26, with concerts, tents offering cider and bollos preñaos (buns filled with chorizo), evening fireworks and general fun.

All about it here-
https://www.barcelo.com/guia-turismo...-mateo-oviedo/
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 06:30 AM
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And I forgot to mention that Oviedo has been selected as the "Spanish Capital of Gastronomy" for 2024.
https://www.foodswinesfromspain.com/en/food/news/2023/november/oviedo-named-spanish-capital-of-gastronomy-for-2024

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2024/mar/04/oviedo-asturias-spain-new-capital-of-gastronomy

Last edited by Maribel; May 23rd, 2024 at 06:38 AM.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 01:44 PM
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We loved Oviedo, our first stop in a visit of about three weeks to Asturias. We stayed at the NH, where the biggest plus was its proximity to the restaurant CASA FERMIN, and a wonderful bakery whose name I've forgotten. I don't even know if the hotel remains the same....the draw was the location. We did not have time to visit Gijon, however. Next time!!
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 05:17 PM
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As an anecdote, the area called El Vasco, close to el Ferroviario (the railway) is called that way as it used to be the place where the train station to Bilbao was located (the Basque railway, transporting coal from the Asturias mines to the Bilbao foundries).

Nice story but probably apocryphal given that the French expression is chemin de fer, the German word is Eisenbahn, and the Italian is Ferroviario; all of them alluding to the iron rails.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 10:23 PM
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Not at all apocryphal. El Vasco was the railway that linked Asturias and its coal mines with foundries in the Basque Country, and its station occupied what is called know El Vasco mall, filled with restaurants. El Ferroviario is a "ferrocarril", the Spanish word for "railway". So this is the real truth and not an invented story.

https://www.lavozdeasturias.es/notic...2649725199.htm you may google translate these news.
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 11:39 PM
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The Fine Arts Museum in Oviedo is wonderful, as Maribel writes!

It was in that museum that I discovered the Japanese/French painter Foujita, and his glorious cats:

https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/foujita-cats/


https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/cachopo-cabrales-and-carbayones-asturias-and-the-best-steak-in-the-world-1534666/
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Old May 23rd, 2024, 11:40 PM
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My apologies. I misread your comment. Re-read mine and you might figure out my twisted logic.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 02:44 AM
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The first photo of post #2 is of "Casa Poli" on the coast, just 10 km east of Llanes in Puertas de Vidiago off the N-634. It would be about an hour, 15 min. drive northeast of Oviedo.

It's very well known as a highly atmospheric chigre or Asturian cider house, family-run, serving very traditional. dishes in a rustic, homey environment inside an 1833 farmhouse. It's been in business for almost 30 years and is extremely popular, doesn't take reservations and gets mobbed on summer weekends, so often there can be a long wait for a table (first come, first served). But it's considered a "must stop" by many on the coastal highway, N-634.

We bid our time waiting for a table by walking down to see the famous bufones de las Arenillas, one of the several blowholes (and the largest) along this coast. Casa Poli serves lunch only from 1-4:30.

The dish with chestnuts is pote de castañas.
Casa Ramallo in Quirós, in an old stone, 4-floor house, is one of the well known restaurants that serves this very traditional and hearty dish. Casa Ramallo would be about a 45-min. drive south of Oviedo, a nice country drive.
Typical ingredients (although each cook will have his/her own spin): chestnuts, potatoes, chorizo, morcilla, panceta, cabbage (berza), pimentón, garlic and onion.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Michael
My apologies. I misread your comment. Re-read mine and you might figure out my twisted logic.
No problem, I´m not a native English speaker so my posts are somehow "contaminated" by my Spanish and may lead to misinterpretations!
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Old May 24th, 2024, 02:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Maribel
The first photo of post #2 is of "Casa Poli" on the coast, just 10 km east of Llanes in Puertas de Vidiago off the N-634. It would be about an hour, 15 min. drive northeast of Oviedo.

It's very well known as a highly atmospheric chigre or Asturian cider house, family-run, serving very traditional. dishes in a rustic, homey environment inside an 1833 farmhouse. It's been in business for almost 30 years and is extremely popular, doesn't take reservations and gets mobbed on summer weekends, so often there can be a long wait for a table (first come, first served). But it's considered a "must stop" by many on the coastal highway, N-634.

We bid our time waiting for a table by walking down to see the famous bufones de las Arenillas, one of the several blowholes (and the largest) along this coast. Casa Poli serves lunch only from 1-4:30.

The dish with chestnuts is pote de castañas.
Casa Ramallo in Quirós, in an old stone, 4-floor house, is one of the well known restaurants that serves this very traditional and hearty dish. Casa Ramallo would be about a 45-min. drive south of Oviedo, a nice country drive.
Typical ingredients (although each cook will have his/her own spin): chestnuts, potatoes, chorizo, morcilla, panceta, cabbage (berza), pimentón, garlic and onion.
To this, I´d add Casa Manolo in Cué, one of those "chigres" that Maribel mentions and a real "must do" while in Asturias.
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Old May 24th, 2024, 02:52 AM
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eks,
That "best steak in the world", Bodega El Capricho, in Jiménez de Jamuz (León) where you and I had our chuleta de buey, has just made the number 2 slot in one of those often controversial "best" lists this week, "The World's 101 best steak restaurants". (don't know why there are 101 rathen than 100. Here's the list.
https://www.worldbeststeaks.com
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