Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is a famous pilgrimage city in the north of Spain. People from all over the world walk this pilgrimage route which usually starts in France, although some start even further away. Each year thousands of pilgrimages make it to this city to visit the tomb of Santiago Apóstol (St James the Apostle). He is believed to have been one of the main apostles and he is mentioned in the New Testament. It is believed that his remains were buried in the Santiago de Compostela. In the 9th century a hermit rediscovered his tomb. And since that moment Santiago has become one of Europe’s main Pilgrimage destinations.
Santiago is a great city for history and cultural enthusiast. The city originates from the 5th century and the Roman era. After that it belonged to different kingdoms and empires that took over the reign in the region. It is now one of the biggest cities in the region of Galicia. Galicia is a unique province in Spain with its own culture and language.
Things to do and see
Embrase the Galician culture
The Galicians are often believed to be closer related to the Celtic peoples of Ireland and Great Britain than to the Spanish. The Galician culture still shows a lot of Celtic elements, like traditional kilt clothing and pipe music. It is not just the culture that will remind you of the British Isles also the green lush hills and rainy weather give the city and its surroundings a Celtic atmosphere.
Explore Galician city
There are many things to see in this beautiful Galician city. At the centre of the city is the Praza do Obradoiro, this where freemasons used to have their working places. At this square you will find the elegant Pazo de Raxoi palace. The palace is now the city hall of Santiago. The Cathedral Santiago de Compostela is a Cathedral of impressive beauty. It forms the heart of the city. It is the most distinctive landmark of Santiago de Compostela and the main sight for pilgrimages. There are daily pilgrimages masses held in the cathedral.
Visit local museums
In Santiago there are some excellent museums. In the Museum of the Galician People you can learn everything about the interesting roots and heritage of this mysterious people. The CGAC (Galician Centre of Contemporary Art) museum has a great selection of contemporary art with changing exhibitions. If you want to get to know the city you can go on a tour with a small train. The train will take you along the main sights of the city and will help you find your way around.
Enjoy beautiful parks and local attractions
Apart from history and culture the city of Santiago is also a very green city. All around the city you will find beautiful parks with fountains, ponds, and playing grounds for children. Santiago is also chil-friendly city. You can take your kids on vacation here. Around the city there are many indoor and outdoor swimming pools. There are also several leisure and adventure parks.
Taste famous local dishes
In Santiago de Compostela is also known for excellent gastronomy. Seafood in Galicia is some of the best seafood that you can get in Spain. Apart from great restaurants you can also find some fantastic food markets in the city. Pay a visit to the Mercado de Abastos in the old town. This market is known for its excellent take away food and tasting possibilities. Taste some of the famous ‘Tartas de Santiago’, ‘Piedras de Santiago’, and ‘Caprichos de Santiago’. Merengue, almonds, and chocolate are favourite ingredients in these local bakeries. Also famous are the convent dessert made by nuns from local convents.
The nightlife of Santiago de Compostela
The nightlife of Santiago de Compostela is one of the most cultural nightlife in the country. There is always something cultural going in Santiago. Locals go out on any day of the week. The city is also popular with student and young urban professionals which adds to its vibrant character. At night the city turns into an atmospheric fairy-tale like décor. The historical buildings are lit up by soft lights and the city is gently buzzing with the sounds of people enjoying the last hours of the day. The best places to go to in the evening and at night are Plaza de Platerías and Plaza de la Quintana squares. Here you will find street artists. Sometimes shows take place spontaneously. On and near to the squares you can find great bars and restaurants.
Best time to visit
Tourists visit Santiago de Compostela from May to September
Getting there and around
Girona is an easy city to get around. The city is not too big, which makes it easy to get around by foot. Also the local public transport is good. One of the best things about Girona is that it is located in between many more excellent places for visiting. To the north from the city you will find the Pyrenees, to the south Barcelona and to the east only half an hour away there are the famous beaches of the Costa Brava. All of these can be visited on daytrips. Girona is an excellent choice as a basecamp for getting to know the wider Catalan and Costa Brava region.
To get around in the city independently you can rent a bike. If you would like to explore the region rent a car. To get to Girona you can take a direct flight to Girona Costa Brava Airport. From here you can take a bus to the city. Ryan Air has cheap flights to this airport. Girona is also easy accessible by train, bus, or car.
Santiago is also home to some beautiful festivals, being a pilgrimage city most of the festivals are related to religion. A main festivity is the Easter Week procession. The main festival, however, is the celebration of the life if St. James the Apostle. This festival takes place on the 24th of July. During this festival you will find music and fireworks all around the city.