Santiago de Compostela: The pilgrim city

One of the most famous cities in the world for the millions of pilgrims that each year receives, Santiago de Compostela remains among the 5 most visited cities in Spain. North of Galicia where wind and rain often affect this beautiful city, you can find people from all over the world, faithful or just curious to experience the charm of the pilgrimage. In this chapter, I will give you advice on how to fully live the city even you have decided not to get here by walking. Book here the Free walking tour of Santiago.


Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela


Apart from the millions of pilgrims who come to the city every day, Santiago has an airport (SGC), only 20 minutes from the city center. Did not you rent a car? Do not worry every 10min a local bus leaves for 6 € return ticket, that will leave you in the main points of the city. The closest stop to the historic center is Plaza de Galicia.

The train is another very convenient way to get to the city, I leave you some routes offered by the company Renfe:

Madrid – Santiago de Compostela = from € 28, duration 5h20.
La Coruña – Santiago de Compostela = € 6, duration 40min.
Vigo – Santiago de Compostela = € 9, duration 2h.
Pontevedra – Santiago de Compostela = € 10, duration 1h.


Convent of Belvís
Convent of Belvís


Getting around the city is easy, the historic center is not that big. As a result, I do not recommend taking public transport.

Have you chosen to spend a night in Santiago de Compostela? Personally, I choose an Airbnb apartment, but I can not recommend any hotel in particular. There are 322 hotels If you need advice on how to book your hotel read here!


Alameda Park
Alameda Park


Santiago can easily be visited in 2 days unless you have just arrived from the Camino de Santiago and want to rest for several days. I suggest you start with the Alameda Park, south of the city. Famous for its observatory at the top of the hill where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Cathedral of Santiago.

Other historical buildings of the city are the Convent de San Francisco de Santiago, the Monastery of San Martiño Pinario and the Monastery of San Paio de Antealtares. Visiting these holy places is not always possible, take a look at the timetable. Another good point is Plaza Quintana, where we can admire the side entrance to the cathedral.

Arriving at the Obradoiro plaza we find the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, Fonseca  Palace (opening times), the Town Hall, with the beautiful Parador hotel.


Fonseca  Palace
Fonseca  Palace


The Cathedral of Santiago is a sanctuary open every day of the year, from 7:00 to 20:30, access through the Platerías gate. To book your ticket, read here the various combined access that they offer, I particularly recommend that on the roofs.

The Mass of the Pilgrim is celebrated every day at the main altar of the Cathedral of Santiago at 12:00. As a symbol of welcome, at the beginning of the celebration, we proceed to read the list of pilgrims arrived in Santiago who have gone to request the Compostela in the previous 24 hours.

In the Holy Years (when July 25 falls on Sunday) the popular Botafumeiro comes. An immense incision (53 kilos and 1.5 meters high) of brass that needs eight people to swing it. Inside the cathedral, suspended at 20 meters in height, it reaches a speed of 68 km / h.



Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela


Galician cuisine is famous, not only for octopus but for many other typical dishes, and also for wine. The typical dishes that you can find in this area are Caldo Gallego, Pulpo a la gallega, Empanada gallega, xoubas (sardines), zamburiñas (same family of the scallops).

If you want to go out for dinner Plaza Cervantes is full of bars, like the Rua Do Franco, you will find everything (watch out for the prices). Take a trip to the market, in this case, it will be the Mercado de Abastos de Santiago, full of local products.


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