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Aviles is in the province of Asturias in the Asturias and Cantabria region of Spain. It is not far from Oviedo, the capital of Asturias.
Aviles has a charming and well preserved medieval centre that is well worth visiting. Take your time to wander through its streets admiring the often brightly coloured architecture and stopping regularly to sample some excellent tapas.
Aviles once had a grim reputation as a polluted highly industrialised city but its heavy industry gave way to high tech and now even outside of its historic centre it is a thriving commercial centre with good shops and restaurants.
However it is for the medieval historic centre that you will want to visit and you won't be disappointed. The old town is very colourful with pale sandstone buildings standing side by side with buildings rendered in pink, lemon, green, blue etc. Its narrow streets regularly open out into large sunny squares surrounded by arcaded buildings many of which are bars and restaurants and offer lovely spots to stop and people-watch. The pedestrian streets of Galiano and Rivero are particularly lovely.
The medieval heart of Aviles is situated around the Plaza de Espana and the Plaza de Mercado. The Plaza de Espana is the main square and on one side is the splendid town hall and also on the square is the 18th century Palacio de Ferrara which was once a fine mansion and is now a stunning hotel - if you want to treat yourself stop here for your visit!. Surrounding the Plaza are lovely 14th and 15th century buildings.
The key religious buildings are the Iglesia de San Fransisco with its Renaissance cloister and its frescoes and the Romanesque Iglesia de San Nicolas de Bari that has a beautiful 14th century chapel. The old 13thcentury church of Sabugo is also charming.
Aviles has some beautiful palaces including the 17th century Baroque Palace de Camposagrado, which was fortified against English pirates! Aviles even has a Modernist palace, the Palacio de Balsera.
The Ferrera park has some lovely gardens including a lovely French-style garden. It is a lovely place to wander and enjoy the tranquility.
Aviles has been declared a Historic Artistic Site because of its interesting architecture. It is now adding to its architectural reputation with a beautiful new arts centre designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer.
The Centro Niemeyer has been built on a once run down part of Aviles and is part of a transformation into a Norman Foster designed "green city" on the other side of the estuary from the medieval centre. It is easy walking distance from the medieval centre and is a great addition to a trip to Aviles.
Places to Visit Nearby
The old town of Gijon known as Cimadevilla has charming fishermens houses and cobbled streets.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Asturias and Cantabria guide.