All the last 100 kilometres of any Xacobean routes, end in the region of Galicia. That’s why the pilgrimage to the shrine of the Apostle Saint James is so important in this area and we can find references to the Camino all the time. Today we would like to talk about the top 5 towns to visit in Galicia and what camino you have to walk to visit each one of them. Do not miss these beautiful places on your Way to the Cathedral of Santiago, you will be surprised for their beauty. Buen Camino with Galiwonders!
Top 5 towns to visit in Galicia
Galicia is quite a popular region because of its green landscapes, that catch the eyes of all those travelers that come to visit it every year. Also, it is the final part of all the Camino de Santiago routes, leading to the beautiful town of Santiago de Compostela. Its gastronomy and also the kindness of the locals with all visitors, make it a very attractive tourist destination. There are many picturesque villages, both in the coast and in the mountains, where anyone will be welcome to enjoy the traditions, and the local festivals that take place all throughout the year (particularly in summer season). But today, we would like to talk about the most interesting cities of Galicia. Here you have our top 5.
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Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela can be considered as a jewel, particularly to all those who enjoy culture and architecture. It is a really well known tourist destination, not only for national tourist but also internationally. We must not forget about the religious value of the town, which is the destination of a pilgrimage that dates back from the Middle Ages.
The old quarter is the most popular part of the city, but there’s also a modern area, with different state-of-the-art architectural expressions (such as the City of Culture), the University… there are many hidden corners to be discovered around the town. Santiago de Compostela was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site; this fact contributed to make it an internationally-known destination.
Santiago is the end of all the Caminos de Santiago, except for the Finisterre Way. In this case, in fact, the city of Santiago represents the beginning of the route. You will always find many pilgrims on the main square (Plaza del Obradoiro) celebrating the end of their pilgrimage and admiring the wonderful Cathedral after their hard journey. The atmosphere that you can breath in this square is something unique and there is a special feeling of satisfaction among pilgrims for their achievement. Once in Santiago there are plenty things to do and places to visit. We obviously recommend you a visit to the interior of the Cathedral (recently renovated outside and inside), you can go to ask your Certificate of the Compostela at the Pilgrim’s office, taste some delicious food in one of the many restaurants of the historic centre and have a walk in the mercado de Abastos to see its incredibly fresh products.
The city of A Coruña means for a lot of people endless beaches, an elegant promenade, large avenues, and trendiness. There, we will be able to visit the oldest Romand lighthouse that is still active, the Tower of Hercules. Also, Maria Pita Square, Riazor Beach… for all these reasons, A Coruña is one of the most popular destinations of Galicia. The city has many things to offer to its tourists such as: the beach, the museums, the shops, the restaurants, the aquarium, ect. You won’t get bored during your stay in this city full of life!
You can start here your English Way, although the most common starting point is Ferrol, because otherwise you won’t walk enough kilometres to be able to request your certificate of the Compostela at the end of the Camino.
Pontevedra is located in the Southern part of Galicia, and it is one of the most iconic stops of the Portuguese Way. From a touristic point of view, it is becoming a really popular town, both for national and international visitors. Both the Portuguese Coastal Way and the Portuguese Way (interior) cross this town so you will be able to visit whichever camino you will choose. In the recent years some pilgrims chose alternative routes that start in Pontevedra, such as the Route of the Father Sarmiento and the Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Way.
The town is quite interesting because of its history, culture, architecture… The old quarter is really well preserved, and there are many nice squares around. This famous destination of the Rías Baixas presents many cultural activities and organize several events all over the year. You will always find the streets of the centre full of people walking and kids playing. In fact, almost the entire old town is closed to the traffic and people can move freely. Here you will also be able to find some of the best gastronomic offers of the entire region.
Vigo is the largest city of Galicia (close to 300,000 inhabitants) and is located in the Southern part of the region. From here you could start the last 100 km of the Portuguese Way and be able to get the Compostela Certificate at the end.
Even tough this town has been traditionally linked to the industry, over the past few years there’s been a transformation, and it’s becoming a tourist destination. This is due to the popularity of the Cies Islands, the white sand beaches we can discover around, the gastronomy… And many other activities we can enjoy in this city.
Lugo, the starting point of the last 100 km of the Primitive Way , is a really nice town to discover if you are planning a day tour from Santiago (it less than 1 hour and 30 minutes away from the capital of Galicia). The Roman wall, the parks, the churches… it is the perfect spot to get lost around its stone-made streets. Also, it is one of the most popular stops of the oldest route leading to Santiago: the Camino Primitivo (or Original Way). Here you can taste some delicious and elaborated tapas, served with your drink, and enjoy the night atmosphere (especially in summer time).
For more information about tours in Galicia, please do not hesitate to contact us.