The Coastal Way
Stage 8: Gijón/Xixón - Avilés
Route of 24.65 kilometers that connects the two main coastal cities of Asturias, the Camino crossing their councils, as well as those of Carreño and Corvera de Asturias.
This stage allows you to get to know industrial Asturias first-hand, both when leaving Gijón/Xixón and, above all, on the long approach to arrival in Avilés. It cannot be forgotten that the Principality was during the 19th and 20th centuries one of the mainstays of Spanish industrialization and that it was precisely the central area of the region that was most intensely transformed as a result of the establishment of large factories, especially the steel mills. . The ports of El Musel in Gijón/Xixón and that of the Avilés estuary largely explain this industrial concentration, as well as the proximity and good rail connections with the Caudal and Nalón mining basins, which supplied the necessary energy sources to the large manufacturing complexes.
For this reason, in the route of the Camino de Santiago throughout this stage the typical Asturian rural landscapes will coexist, with green valleys and small and scattered towns and villages (especially in the intermediate section through the municipality of Carreño), with the large factory complexes, not exempt from an undoubted patrimonial interest, for what they suppose of testimonies of the economic engine that turned Asturias into a manufacturing power. Likewise, the working-class settlements promoted by companies and by the State in the 20th century constitute other elements of relevance alongside those that the Jacobean route will run.
The stage circulates for the most part on stretches of paved road, with a lot of the route coinciding with verges of local or regional roads. The percentage of path with gravel or dirt surface is very small. Between the councils of Gijón/Xixón and Carreño, you must ascend to Monte Areo, which means having to overcome a difference of more than 150 meters in the five kilometers that separate Veriña from the top of that mountain range, in which a large tumular necropolis has been preserved from Neolithic times, which can be seen at a very short distance from the Camino de Santiago. From that point, a descent begins, marked in some points, towards the interior of the municipality of Carreño, in the most purely rural area of the stage, in which it runs through a village of great beauty, such as Santolaya, as well as among extensive meadows with hardly any constructions. Shortly after, the tour of the peri-urban area of Avilés will begin in Tabaza, parallel to large communication routes and between industrial facilities and very interesting working-class towns. At the end of the stage, in Avilés, it will be possible to contemplate part of its estuary from the Camino, with the facilities of the Óscar Niemeyer International Cultural Center.
Although it is believed that this coastal route was less traveled by medieval pilgrims than the inland path that passes through Oviedo, there are documentary references that allude to their passage through this area, and there was a hospital in the town of Candás, Carreño’s capital. through which the official Way does not currently travel. There is evidence of the existence of other assistance centers in Villar (Tamón parish), already in the 13th century, as well as modern shops that marked the route, for example, in the current Gijón/Xixón neighborhood of El Natahoyo. Avilés, meanwhile, was during the Middle Ages the main maritime port of Asturias, closely linked to the city of Oviedo, with which it was linked by a branch of the Camino de Santiago. The port of Avilés was part of the network of ports that marked the maritime pilgrimage to Santiago, from the French of La Rochelle to those of Ribadeo or La Coruña, with numerous references to pilgrims passing through the town of Aviles on this coastal route. In addition, the city had a pilgrims’ hospital since 1513, located on Calle del Rivero and which would have its own cemetery to bury the pilgrims who died in this town, until the closure of the center in the 19th century.
The stage begins in Gijón/Xixón’s Plaza de Europa, next to the buildings of the old Gijón/Xixón Palace of Justice and the so-called Casa Rosada, both members, together with the nearby Gota de Leche, of a healthcare complex developed in this area of Gijón/Xixón since the beginning in the middle of the 20th century.
- Related item: Casa Rosada
Further on, after turning to the right along the so-called Acerona (Palacio Valdés street), testimony of the old wall from the early nineteenth century that surrounded the center of Gijón/Xixón, the Camino runs next to the great building of La Gota de Leche.
- Related item: Gota de Leche
The Camino continues along the so-called Acerona (wide street inherited from the wall built in the initial decades of the 19th century to face the Carlist threat) until it reaches, at the end of this street, after leaving the Plaza del Humedal on the left, at the church of San José, rebuilt after the civil war, located right next to the tallest building in Gijón/Xixón, the Bankunion tower, built in the midst of Gijón/Xixón’s development in the 1960s.
You pass in front of the facade of the temple, then turning to the right, along Pedro Duro street, which leads to the coast, after crossing the Marqués de San Esteban street and its arcades. This street was designed in the mid-nineteenth century, in imitation of the great Parisian boulevards, connecting the historic center of Gijón/Xixón with the North railway station, the head of the third railway line inaugurated in Spain. In this street numerous buildings of great interest are preserved, many of them from the beginning of the 20th century, being represented the different architectural styles that developed at that time: modernism, eclecticism, various historicisms (such as neo-Renaissance, neo-baroque), deco architecture and the rationalist.
When you reach the coast, at the old port area of Fomento, turn left, passing through Pedro Rodríguez Sampedro street, through the Poniente beach promenade, a sandy area recovered in the 1990s, after having For more than a century, this space has been part of an industrial field, especially dedicated to shipbuilding (in frank decline since the 1970s, with only one active shipyard remaining today and the remains of the old Naval Gijón/Xixón remain after the arenal). If you leave the Camino and turn right you will reach the historic district of Cimavilla, declared a Historic Site in ???, the origin of the city of Gijón/Xixón and where it is possible to contemplate, among many other monuments, the Chapel of Los Remedios , testimony of the old pilgrims hospital of the town.
The Jacobean route continues along the Poniente seafront, passing the beach and leaving the Asturias Railway Museum on the left, located in the old Norte de Gijón/Xixón station, already on Juan Carlos I avenue.
- Related item: Museo del Ferrocarril
Further on, to the right, after passing a modern administrative services building and housing blocks designed in the shape of a ship, you can see the facilities, now in disuse, of the Naval Gijón/Xixón shipyards. At this point, you must go around the intersection of roads that forms in the Plaza del Padre Máximo González, continuing along the Avenida de Galicia, on the right, passing by an old chapel, in the facilities of the Revillagigedo educational foundation.
- Related item: Capilla de Revillagigedo
Continue straight ahead along this avenue, in the heart of the Natahoyo neighborhood of Gijón/Xixón, leaving the temple of San Esteban del Mar on the right.
- Related item: Iglesia de San Esteban del Mar
Further on, you pass by an area of one-story buildings, in a state of abandonment. These are old citadels or workers’ slums, very active in the first decades of the 20th century. Then, and after leaving the Pedro Sabando Suárez park on the right and views of the large towers of the still active shipyards of the Bazán-Gijón/Xixón company (formerly Juliana Constructora Gijonesa), the temple of San Esteban del Mar is left on the right ???.
You arrive at Cuatro Caminos, a crossroads of roads that come from other neighborhoods of the city and that go to the right to the port of El Musel. The Camino continues straight ahead, along Avenida de la Argentina, in the La Calzada neighborhood. Shortly after taking this road, the Ateneo de La Calzada building, the great cultural center of the neighborhood, and the Príncipe de Asturias school are left on the left.
- Related item: Ateneo de La Calzada
Continue along this avenue until you reach the modern building of the church of Fatima, preceded by a monument to a former parish priest of the same.
- Related item: Iglesia de Fátima
After the church, continue straight ahead, leaving a service station on the left and soon arriving at the Cristasa warehouse, an old glass foundry factory now converted into a municipal business center. Shortly after, a park and the Miguel de Cervantes school are flanked.
- Related item: Nave de Cristasa
You pass over the train tracks (which run at a lower level of the Camino) and you reach the intersection with Avenida de Los Campones, continuing straight ahead, through an area where residential buildings gradually give way to industrial facilities and service. Continue straight ahead at the crossroads of the road that leads to Campa Torres, to the right, where an old fort from the Asturian period is located, transformed in Roman times, and which is considered the origin of the settlement of the current city. of Gijón/Xixón. Just past the crossroads there is a gas station on the right. Continue along the sidewalk of the AS-19 regional road until you reach a flyover over the train tracks, where the sidewalks disappear, having to drive along the shoulder of the road. You pass that junction, in the area known as Puente Seco, and you come to a roundabout, with another gas station on the right. Go around this roundabout along the pavement at this point and continue straight on, descending along the shoulder of the road, and next to a row of houses on the right, at an underpass from the highway that leads to another roundabout. Just after passing the underpass, before entering the roundabout, the Camino deviates to the right, along an initially narrow dirt path that ascends until it reaches Camín de la Estación, a local road with little traffic, along whose shoulder it continues. This road is at an upper level of the autonomic road, which continues, in parallel, allowing to contemplate a panoramic view of the infrastructure junction and of the San Martín de Veriña chapel, located at a height on the left, highlighting the tall metallic bell tower that a few years ago it was built next to the building. Also visible are part of the facilities of the Arcelor Mittal steel complex, the former Ensidesa, a factory built in the late 1960s in the Veriña valley.
- Related item: Capilla de San Martín de Veriña
The Way heads, leaving a detour to the road to the left and to the right several buildings, a bread basket and a power station, to the Veriña railway station, running between it and the group of houses that stand in front of the itself, among which there is some bread basket and granary.
- Related item: Veriña
You get off from the station to a junction with the AS19 regional road, having to continue straight ahead, in the direction of Puao, after crossing the train tracks (there is a control of barriers for the passage of them). Continue along the shoulder of this road, passing under a gas pipeline and crossing the Aboño river twice. In this way, you reach a flyover over the train tracks. After crossing, continue to the right, towards the town of Muniello, which you cross following the road.
- Related item: Muniello
At the end, a sharp curve makes you turn to the left, going up between more houses and leaving a detour to the town on the left, until you reach a crossroads where you take the path to the right, the so-called Camín Rebesosu , which ascends between eucalyptus trees, leaving the Cadueño fountain on the left. Shortly after, we continue to the left, along the Camín de Guimarán a Villar, between meadows and through an area where the road runs between two deep slopes of earth, which lead to a stop, in the place of Zarracina, where There are a few houses and some granaries that allow us to contemplate a wide panorama of the steel factory and the southern neighborhoods of Gijón/Xixón, contrasting this industrial and urban landscape with the meadows that develop at the foot of the Camino in this already rural area.
- Related item: Factoría de Arcelor
You continue straight ahead, between meadows, leaving another house with two granaries on a curve and ascending along the Camín de Guimarán to Villar and then along the Camín Real, until a crossroads, with several houses around it, where you continue to the left. You leave on the right hand side, further ahead, two road deviations and another on the left hand side. There are several single-family homes in this area, some of them with granaries, continuing to the left the perspectives towards the steel factory.
In this way, you reach another crossroads, with a vegetable island in the middle, continuing the route along the path on the right, which begins a steep ascent, between houses and some granaries and bread boxes, with sebes and stone walls delimiting the route that gradually narrows, as it enters a wooded area, with eucalyptus and other species, towards Mount Areo, already in the municipality of Carreño. A little further on, the path gives way to a dirt and stone track, along which it will continue for the following kilometers.
Monte Areo marks the dividing line between the councils of Gijón/Xixón and Carreño and is an area in which an important concentration of burial mounds from the Neolithic period is located, which make up one of the main necropolises of this historical period preserved in Asturias, which has determined the declaration of this area as an Asset of Cultural Interest. Different paths emerge from the Jacobean route that lead to some of these tumular structures.
- Related item: Necrópolis tumular del Monte Areo
After becoming a track, the Way circulates between eucalyptus trees, giving way later to a flat area, in which, together with this species of Australian origin, the wide flat meadows stand out. You pass several detours to the right and left, continuing the path westward for more than 1.5 kilometers, all through a more or less flat terrain with occasional views, on the right, towards the Carreño coast, as well as various existing industrial facilities in Aboño and the port of El Musel itself.
Some isolated construction is located on the left hand side of the Camino, there is a section in which the route narrows sharply, until it ends at a curve in a track, continuing in a slight ascent to the right, next to a ship built with blocks of concrete. For a few meters, the firm becomes concreted, then again being a dirt and stone track that, between heather and eucalyptus bushes, begins to descend towards a concrete track to which the Camino joins, continuing to the right, between greenhouses, in an area known as Ramos.
At a curve this track joins a local road, continuing to the right, next to the ruins of a house on the right and a building on the left. At the next crossroads, turn left, beginning a steep descent along an asphalt path, between eucalyptus trees, with views to the right of the Guimarán valley. This path soon leads to the lavadero de les Xanes fountain, on the right hand side, to access which you have to go down some stairs. From this area a panoramic view of the town of Santolaya and its farmhouses is contemplated.
- Related item: Fuente lavadero de Les Xanes
The descent continues, passing in front of a farmhouse with a granary on the left, in the neighborhood of Sopeña, then entering the Camino in the town of Santolaya, continuing straight on at a crossroads with another perpendicular road and turning right after a house dated in 1911 with two floors with a central porch and bread basket.
- Related item: Santolaya
Then a short descent begins that leads to the regional road ???. Cross this road and continue straight ahead, towards Prendes, on the local road CE5. After crossing, on the right, the church of Santa Eulalia del Valle is located, surrounded by a green space delimited by a stone wall, to which a sacramental altar and a fountain are attached.
- Related item: Iglesia de Santolaya del Valle
We continue along the road to Prendes, soon leaving the Ponte de Piedra washhouse on the left, crossing the river Pervera shortly after by a bridge with a single span, built in stone blocks, extending to the right and left wide meadows, in a flat space that allows you to contemplate various isolated homes, among which stands out, on the right, the great house-palace of the Díaz Caneja family, dating back to the 18th century, which has a chapel and is surrounded by a large stone wall, and something further to the right another old construction also with its own chapel.
After crossing the small stone bridge, continue straight ahead, leaving a detour on the left, and arriving at the neighborhood of La Maquila, with several houses with some granaries and bread boxes, being some old houses, of Mariñana typology.
- Related item: La Maquila
You come to a crossroads with a road and continue to the left along Vega, following this road for a little less than 800 meters, leaving different detours on both sides of it. It is a very flat area, between wide meadows and some houses, among which the old house of La Torre stands out. On this route you will also find some large agricultural warehouse.
- Related item: La Torre
You climb slightly towards Los Celleros, another neighborhood in this parish. After a stone house, take the detour to the right, continuing the route along an asphalt path with wide views, in a route in which slight ups and downs occur. We pass a detour on the left and later another two on the right. The surrounding landscape, always dominated by meadows, gradually narrows. After the second detour to the right that you do not take, and which connects with a road that leads to Logrezana, you pass another detour on the left and climb a small slope, between bushes and trees.
We continue straight ahead, without taking any of the detours that appear, and the detour begins towards the town of Tamón, yours from whose church of San Juan Bautista begins to be seen from afar. It continues until reaching an underpass of the railway, configured as a stone structure with a central span through which the transit materializes. At the exit, in the area known as Xunta la Iglesia, the church appears in front, at the top, towards which the route is heading, crossing a small stream and ascending a slope that leads to the AS-326 road, after having left a granary on the right. The Camino continues to the right, and the church can be accessed to the left after a short detour of just twenty meters.
The Jacobean route now begins a long run towards Avilés, coinciding to a large extent with the itinerary of the AS-326 regional road, next to the Cantabrian highway and in an increasingly industrial environment.
Shortly after reaching the AS-326 road in Tamón, continue along the sidewalk along its shoulder until you reach an underpass on the highway, which you take by turning left. You arrive after the passage to a more rural environment, continuing along the sidewalk until you reach a first detour to the right, which you take.
The Camino now runs along a narrow asphalt road that, between some houses, meadows and even a wooden shoe rack, leads to an underpass of the railway. The places of Cai la Vega and La Veliella are crossed, leading to a road that goes towards the roundabouts that join the highway. You cross that road and continue straight ahead, along a path that ascends towards a large warehouse next to which a recently built bread basket stands. When you reach the nave, you turn right, following the Camino next to another bread basket and a small group of houses. After one of them, the route turns abruptly to the right, joining a dirt track that leads to a pedestrian walkway that crosses the A66 motorway, until it joins the AS19 regional road, continuing the route to the left. Continue along the shoulder of this road, first along a narrow shoulder that then gradually widens.
Continue along the shoulder of this road for almost two kilometers, parallel to the highway, which runs to the left, and to the industrial facilities of the Arcelor Avilés steel plant that follow one another on the right. This road leads to the neighboring council of Corvera de Asturias. Shortly after the council change, several catering establishments appear on the left, in the place of Silvota. You go through a viaduct over the highway tracks and you reach the town of Gudín, in the Trasona parish, with the Fertiberia facilities on the left.
- Related item: Gudín
In Gudín it is possible to continue the journey along a sidewalk for more than 600 meters. On the right bank of the Camino there are several houses with one and two floors, some of them with wooden corridors on the upper floor. Various granaries and bread baskets are also preserved in this town.
The section of sidewalk leads to a roundabout, which is skirted, continuing the route in the direction of Avilés. As soon as you pass this roundabout, you cross the road and continue to move away for a few hundred meters from the AS19 road. Thus, the path continues along a paved road perpendicular to the regional road that after 60 meters turns right and passes through the El Pedrero neighborhood, between two-storey houses (some of them of a certain age, built between walls of stone, with a corridor on the upper floor) and several granaries and bread baskets, several of which have cut decoration on their colondras.
- Related item: El Pedrero
This route through El Pedrero, ends up converging, after leaving a gas station on the right, again on the AS19 road, in the nucleus of San Pelayo, next to the Trasona parish church (with its cemetery on the other side of the highway, accessing to the same by a pedestrian walkway over it).
In front of the temple there is a small green space, with intertwined trees ???, which connects with the small chapel of San Pelayo.
- Related item: Capilla de San Pelayo
It continues along a sidewalk, crossing a small stream, and arriving at an underpass of the highway (with decoration based on painted panels alluding to different heritage assets of this parish of the Corvera council). We cross, leaving the underpass on the left, and continue straight ahead along a sidewalk, surrounded by buildings and with the Arcelor Avilés facilities on the right.
On this route, you circulate next to the La Marzaniella housing blocks and different facilities such as a medical office located in a mountain-style building.
- Related item: La Marzaniella
After these buildings, continue along the sidewalk, reaching the council of Avilés. You pass under three viaducts and you reach the town of Garajes, soon appearing, on the left, the detour to Llaranes.
- Related item: Garajes
Continue straight ahead and you reach the old Ensidesa Hospitalillo.
- Related item: Hospitalillo de Ensidesa
After the Hospitalillo, continue straight ahead, along a sidewalk parallel to the train tracks (on the right hand side) and warehouses and houses on the left, in the area called El Cruce. You reach a communications junction, already at the entrance of the city of Avilés, with the detour to the right towards the port area of the estuary. The route continues straight ahead, under the existing viaduct at this junction (before reaching which it is necessary to change the sidewalk, going from right to left, in order to continue on the sidewalk enabled for the passage of this communication junction), reaching a esplanade where there is a gas station and a large car park, continuing, with views of the Óscar Niemeyer cultural center, on the right, straight ahead, in the city of Avilés, along Avenida del Marqués de Suances.
- Related item: Centro Cultural Internacional Óscar Niemeyer
Continue along this street, arriving at the Plaza de los Oficios, after which you take Cervantes Avenue, which leads to the old El Aguila flour factory, today a municipal pilgrims’ hostel.
- Related item: Antigua fábrica El Águila
At this point, next to a recently built stone transept, turn to the right, continuing the route along Calle del Rivero, which ascends between arcaded houses towards the historic center of Aviles and where a pilgrims hospital was founded in 1513. called Our Lady of the Assumption, at the initiative of the clergyman Pedro de Solís, coming to have a chapel and its own cemetery that served as burial for pilgrims who had the misfortune of dying in this town, far from their place of origin. On the street there are buildings with arcades, many of them built in the 18th century, when this road became an extension of the original hamlet of Avilés.
On your way, you pass on your left the access to the Ferrera park, the great green lung in the center of the city, as well as the Caños de Rivero fountain and the Cristo chapel.
- Related item: Caños de Rivero
- Related item: Capilla del Cristo de Rivero
- Related item: Parque de Ferrera
- Related item: Palacio de Llano Ponte
Higher up, on the right hand side, is the old palace of the Llano Ponte, already in the vicinity of the Plaza de España, presided over by the City Council and the end point of this stage. In this square, the existence in the Middle Ages of a hospital for the sick and pilgrims dedicated to Saint John has been documented.