Galicia is an autonomous community in Spain, located in the northwest. It borders Portugal in the south and has a distinct culture that has been influenced by both the Spaniards and the Portuguese. Overall, however, Galicia has its own unique identity. That makes it a great place to visit, and with several wonderful cities, we highly recommend it.
Facts about Galicia
Galicia, also known as Galiza in their own language, is an important region in Spain. It is the seventh largest by area, although not very densely populated. Galicia has approximately 2,7 million people which is equal to 6% of the entire Spanish population.
The area known as Galicia has been populated for thousands of years. Celtic people have populated Galicia, still with connections to this day – something they are usually very proud of in the region.
Galicians also have their own language. Galician is similar to Spanish and Portuguese, and is used daily by a large percentage of the population there. However, practically all Galicians also speak regular Spanish.
Galicia is a very green area. There are plenty of forest, trees and plants. There are plenty of mountains and possibilities of hiking. And then, of course, Galicia has a long coastline – perfect if you want to go to the beach when the weather is good!
Why you should travel to Galicia
Galicia is not such a typical travel destination. It receives a lot of visitors thanks to the Santiago pilgrimage, but aside from that, it is one of the least visited regions of Spain by foreigners. If you’re not in Santiago de Compostela, will see plenty of Portuguese tourists, but very few from other countries.
And that is a huge reason to visit it – Galicia is severely underrated. It hasn’t been hit by mass-tourism, even though it is by far one of the nicest places in Europe.
Galicia is also fairly budget friendly. Hotels and holiday apartments are affordable. Galicia also offers high quality food. Especially seafood lovers will enjoy it.
Many of the cities in Galicia have great histories behind them. The people are friendly and open – proud of their community, and happy to tell about their rich history, while also being interested in hearing your story.
Overall, Galicia is one of the absolute best places you can go for holidays.
Major cities in Galicia
Galicia has many interesting cities. The most well known is Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the region. Every year, thousands of pilgrims are walking to Santiago de Compostela, with many different starting points. Some cross northern Spain after starting in the French pyrenées. Others take the route from Portugal.
Santiago de Compostela is a beautiful city. The cathedral is the main attraction, although the entire old part of the city is extraordinary.
Vigo is another great city. It is the most populated in Galicia, and it has a huge port. Vigo has a really nice vibe, the people are extremely friendly, and there are plenty of opportunities for shopping. You can also visit some of the parks in the city – or watch the entertaining football team Celta Vigo play their matches.
A Coruña is almost as big as Vigo, but a bit far away. However, Renfe has a direct route, so you can quickly get between the two cities with train anyway. There is a even a stop in Santiago de Compostela on the way.
Like Vigo, A Coruña is a coastal city with an important port. It is known as one of the most beautiful cities in Spain, and in the central part, it is quite prestigious.
Ourense and Lugo are some other important cities. Ourense is the third largest in Galicia (after Vigo and A Coruña). Lugo is famous for its Roman heritage and definitely worth a visit.
The city Tui is right on the Portuguese border, and you can get off the bus there if you are coming in from Portugal. It is small, but very nice. Tui is famous for its food.
We recommend visiting any city in Galicia, as they are all amazing – and if you get the chance to visit several cities during the same trip, definitely do it. Santiago de Compostela is – because of the history and architecture – the most common choice. And it is a great place to start. But be sure to also check either Vigo or A Coruña – and perhaps also a trip to Lugo.
More articles on Galicia
We have plenty to tell about Galicia, and this serves as an introduction.
Later on you will find articles about each major city in Galicia, along with other interesting insights about different things related to this region.
If you have any questions or remarks on Galicia – please let us know in the comments!