Galicia is an autonomous community located in the northwestern part of Spain. The Galician culture is very unique – most people describe it as a mix of Portugal and Spain, but they also have their own traditions that are unlike anywhere else.
Most travelers that visit Galicia absolutely love it and wish to stay there forever. It is arguably the most underrated area of Spain, since it is packed with nice cities. Here are the best travel destinations in Galicia!
Vigo is the largest city in Galicia and one of the most underrated cities in all of Spain.
It has a charm that is hard to describe. Vigo is a port city and located right by the Atlantic Ocean. The city is surprisingly modern and has a lot of different attractions. If you are into shopping, there are several options. Vigo is full of bars and is great for a night out. Beaches are close, and you will also find many green areas in and around Vigo. The people are friendlier than anywhere else in Spain. If you like seafood, it might be the best destination in the entire world.
Overall, Vigo is simply awesome, and it is highly recommended that you visit it. It is close to the Portuguese cities of Porto, Braga and Guimarães, all of which are also recommended.
Check our guide to hotels in Vigo if you intend to visit the city.
Santiago de Compostela
The capital of Galicia and by far the most visited city.
Santiago de Compostela is the final destination of the famous pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago. It attracts visitors from all over the world, as it is a very historic city with several legends related to it.
The old part of Santiago is very historic. A walk around this area is incredible. The main highlight is the cathedral, but the small shops and cafés are also interesting. The architecture is unique, and it is hard to find anybody that visited Santiago and did not like it. It is located quite central in the region, and it is a good base for exploring the rest of Galicia.
In another article, we are covering where to stay in Santiago de Compostela.
A coastal city in the north of Galicia. Modern and historic at the same time, with plenty of great attractions.
A Coruña is one of the most expensive cities in the north of Spain, particularly in the central part. It is known for its great nightlife and very fresh air. It is an underrated destination – like almost all the cities in Galicia – and you can easily spend a week here and have a lot of fun.
It used to be the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia. Today it is a busy port and there is a lot of business activity in the city. A Coruña has trams and city trains, but no metro. The city hall and the marina are some of the most famous landmarks, and you will also find Estadio Riazor, home of the football club Deportivo La Coruña, one of the few Spanish clubs that have been crowned champion.
If you’re going to Santiago de Compostela or Vigo, take a day in A Coruña, and you will not regret it. You can also make A Coruña the main city of your stay. It is such a scenic city with great architecture being bordered by majestic nature.
Lugo is an ancient city. It is located inland, somewhat in the middle part of Galicia. Lugo is entirely surrounded by Roman walls – it is the only city in the world that still has completely intact walls from Roman times.
By no means a large city, Lugo has just shy of 100.000 inhabitants. However, it is great for sightseeing, since you will find many old buildings, dating back thousands of years.
Lugo was first founded by the Celtics and then taken over by the Romans. Today it is obviously a Spanish city, where its main activities are based on services.
Aside from the Roman walls, you should also see the cathedral, the city hall, the palace of arts, and the interactive museum of Lugo. There are two great festivals each year, in June and in October, so those are perfect times to visit Lugo.
Tui can also be classified as one of the best travel destinations in Galicia. It is located right by the Portuguese border and it is usually the first Galician city you see if you are coming in from Portugal.
It is a very old city that has been inhabited since pre-historic times. Tui was first a Celtic city, then Roman, before it suffered several Viking raids and became an important point for the Nordics. Now it is obviously a Spanish city, but also highly influenced by Portuguese culture.
There are several reasons to go to Tui: It is a very charming place with interesting architecture and beautiful views. The Miño River runs through the city, and it is connected by bridges to the Portuguese city of Valença. Tui is famous for its cuisine, and you will find restaurants all over Spain that are inspired by the food from this city.
Ourense is an important stop on the Camino route. It is also the third largest city of Galicia.
The main attraction is the hot springs. Ourense has one of the greatest amounts of geothermic water in Europe, so you can have a natural bath outdoors! There are ancient Roman baths in Ourense, and speaking about the Romans, the bridge Ponte Vella is a gorgeous sight.
While Ourense is not a modern city by any means, it is nice to visit for a day or two, since it has a very unique style. There is a medieval quarter with narrow streets and old buildings. You will see many small plazas around Ourense, and there are some great arcade shops in the centre of the city. It is a very interesting place to go shopping!
A port city, very close to A Coruña. Mostly known as being the birthplace of Spanish general and dictator, Francisco Franco. It is yet another old Galician city with many nice sights.
The highlight is the centre of the city. The streets are beautiful and there are some major plazas. Ferrol has a typical Spanish vibe, compared to the other cities that are more Galician in their nature and attitude.
In the past, Ferrol was a very important port, and it has a castle at the harbor. It was an important city for ship-building. It was also the main starting point of the English Camino, as many English pilgrims would start their journey to Santiago from Ferrol.
Definitely a great city to visit. You can stay here for a while and enjoy it – we recommend staying right in the middle of the city – but you can also do a day-trip to Ferrol if you’re visiting A Coruña.