From Gijon to Aviles, Camino del Norte, Stage no. 18




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Basic Details

  • Starting point: The old center of Gijon (with a couple of good hostels).
  • Ending point: Palacio de Valdecarzana, Avilles (city center).
  • Availability of alternative routes: Not really. The only real alternative is the two days alternative, going fro Villaviciosa (the city 28 kilometers ahead of Gijon) to the city of Oviedo (the capital of Asturias), and later return to Aviles from Oviedo. We talk a bit about this option in the guide for previous stage of Camino del Norte. This detour is marked with yellow arrows, and about 25% of the pilgrims follow this alternative.
  • Distance: 26 km (download GPS here).
  • Elevation difference: +307m, – 296m
  • Link to online map: Official Camino route: here.
  • Difficulty score: 2/5.
  • Beauty score: 1/5.
  • Terrain/asphalt: 15%/85%
  • Next stage: Camino del Norte, stage no. 19, Aviles – Muros de Nalon.
  • Previous stage: Camino del Norte, stage no. 17, Priesca – Gijon.


Elevation profile for the route

– There is a quite big and steep climb once you leave the suburbs of Gijon. However, it is no doubt the only part of the stage that is at least a bit nice, with some greenery among the hum and smoke of many neighboring factories. After this climb and descent, the walk is fairly easy and almost flat all the time. It posses other challenges though, mostly of mental character…


Advanced info about the stage

  • Trail marking: Shabby to say the least, but since you stick to the road most of the time, and there isn’t really a way out of it, you almost cannot get lost. Exiting Gijon also isn’t as difficult as exiting other big cities on the Camino, since you follow the same main street (Careterra de Aviles) all the time from the center, until you reach the railroad tracks.
  • Natural places worth seeing: Nothing really, expect of the nice park in the center of Aviles, called Parque de Ferrera (see the picture in the gallery below to get an idea). The park is very central, less than 5 minutes walk from the pilgrim albergue, and a nice refreshment for the senses after walking this specific stage of the camino, one that many people call the “ugliest part of Camino del Norte“. And although I see a meaning in walking this part of the pilgrimage as well (see the “few tips at the end” section for my explanation), I no doubt agree that speaking about nature and smells and sounds, it is the ugliest part of the Camino del Norte.
  • Historical, architectural, and culinary places worth seeing:
    • Center of Aviles, with some nice fountains (see the picture below), a few historical buildings, and all in all a good vibe. Aviles isn’t nowhere near as touristic as many other places on the coast you have passed by until now, hence it doesn’t get crowded even in the height of summer season. Just if it interested you, it is also the coastal city on the Camino de Santiago with the lowest prices for flats, and basically hundreds of flats for sale all the time. Hence if you wish to live on the Camino and on the coast but lack resources, you can definitely get a flat in Aviles. There are habitable flats sold for below 20,000 euros in Aviles. Believe me you won’t find something similar easily in any coastal city in Spain or France or Italy…
  • Camping/bivouac options on this stage: None really. As much as I’d love to give you some idea where to camp on this stage, I cannot really come up with any. There aren’t any good spots, even in the relative proximity of the camino (within 3 km detour). Your best bet for camping is in the organized camping Las Gaviotas Asturias, which is a nice dog friendly camping near a nice small beach of Santa Maria del Mar, with decent reviews. However, bear in mind that reaching this camping means walking 11 kilometers extra from Aviles onward, on the Camino. The camping itself is almost 3 km detour from the Camino, but you do not have to walk back the same way, and can continue over little roads to connect with the Camino later on. All in all it isn’t ideal, but if you have to camp, from whatever reason, this is the only option I can recommend. I also suggest you to call in advance, to make sure the camping is open, since it has a relatively short opening season in the summer.
  • Dog friendly score: 1/5. No need for further comments. The stage is simply bad for dogs, with busy roads and many cars, horrible smell (bear in mind that dogs are much more sensitive to smells than we human beings are), and even a few unchained dogs in the zone between Gijon and Tabaza (that aren’t very friendly to say the least). All in all, this stage should be avoided (perhaps taking the train from Gijon to Aviles) if you have a dog with you. From Aviles things get much better for dogs.
  • Special remarks: No special remarks, but make sure to check the “few tips at the end” section at the bottom of this post.


Accommodation options on today’s stage

* The infographic displays the number of pilgrim hostels (only pilgrims allowed), hostels (anyone allowed, shared rooms), and other accommodation options (hotels, pensions, etc, private rooms) in each point along the route, together with price range. For exact explanation of the pictograms we use check the explanations page. Below the infographic you will see our recommended picks (up to 3 pilgrim options and 1-2 “privacy” options, maximum five) for the stage, together with important information (but not too much info, just what you need :-)).

Recommended places to sleep along this stage

Pilgrim options:

  1. Albergue de Peregrinos Pedro Solis, Aviles (km 26). 56 beds in one huge room, 9 euro/bed. On the entire stage from Gijon this is really the only pilgrim place. Certainly some things could be better (for example when the place is full–which can happen in summer, the 2 toilets aren’t enough for 56 people), but for the price it is a good albergue for one night. Location is great, check-in from 1pm, closes at 10pm (this is very strict, so if you hope for long night out in Aviles, book another place). Doesn’t accept reservations, works on “first come first serve” basis.


Privacy/luxury options:

  1. Apartamentos Galiana 6, Aviles (km 26). Location and reviews on Google maps here. A beautiful stylish apartment in the center of Aviles, with the best reviews in the city. You can stay alone for 80 euro, but it gets much more economical if you take a few pilgrims with you (price for 4 people, which is the max capacity, starts from 140 euro in low season). The reviews speak for the place, and there’s not really anything to improve… Check-in from 4 pm, recommended way of reserving the place:
  2. Pension Serafin, Aviles (km 26). Location and reviews on Google maps here. The economical option for privacy stay in Aviles. Quite far from the city center, but you can get a private room for 35 euro. Sure, for this price for a private room you cannot expect miracles, but the price is really good for a city like Aviles, and the place will serve its purpose for one night.  Check-in from 3pm, recommended way of making a reservation:

Pictures from the stage

– Big factories, some of them abandoned, others full of life and smoke and bad smell, will accompany you for the majority of today’s walk.

If you find any information on this page incorrect or outdated, or have a suggestion how to improve it for fellow pilgrims, please let us know. Thank you for helping the pilgrim community, and buen Camino 🙂

– Some of these are a remainder of the past, when we haven’t yet extracted all the coal and iron from Spanish soil… Now empty, one can only imagine that not that much long ago, hundreds of people worked in this building alone.

– Another factory, as you can see on the chimney, it is still in operation. And one can smell it from quite a distance too…

– River area in Aviles, the last kilometer of today’s walk, offers some refreshment from the industrial landscape that we have walked through all stage long. One can spot some nice water birds as well, as you can notice on the far bank.

– Interesting fountain in the center of Aviles.

– A small pond in a nice and green park in the center of Aviles, just 5 minutes walking distance from the pilgrim hostel.

Few tips at the end

  • Though there’s not much to see on this stage, and it tests one’s lungs with ugly factory smell, there is still a specific beauty to walking it. Perhaps to acknowledge, deep in one’s heart, that just like Camino de Santiago, our entire life cannot have only nice and beautiful days. Sometimes we have to get through the “ugly days”, in order to reach the better tomorrows, and enjoy all the beauty the life (or the Camino) has to offer. Many pilgrims skip this stage taking a train or a bus (there’s at least one bus or train every hour, typically more), but I still recommend you to walk this stage (the only exception is if you walk with a dog or with another pet). Once you are in Santiago, you will be grateful that you eventually did it all, walked every single mile, not taking any shortcuts with buses, trains, taxis and so on. 15 years ago, 90% of pilgrims reached Santiago without benefiting from the help of any public transport on their way from Irun. Nowadays maybe 10%-20% do so. But you can be one of them, the real pilgrim :).
  • In contrary to Gijon, there is a pilgrim albergue in Aviles. For 9 euros it is a pretty decent option with basic installations that are modestly clean though. Location cannot be better–it is right at the edge of the city center. There are almost 50 beds and since many pilgrims skip Gijon Avilles stage altogether, you should not have a problem getting a bed here, even in the high season.

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