Situated on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, and with one of the world’s finest natural ports, the Galician gem of Vigo has been an important part of Spain’s maritime industry for centuries. Boasting a wonderful historic quarter, modern marina and pretty centre, this city is alive with attractions.
The historic old quarter – like many of Vigo’s other attractions – is a great example of the influence the sea has had on the city. Located around the port, the Cidade Vella has narrow streets lined with old fishing houses and large markets selling locally caught seafood. The Collegiate Church of Santa Maria is a neoclassical cathedral built on the site of a grand gothic church that was burnt down by Francis Drake.
In the newer part of town, La Colegiata de la Santa Maria la Mayor is a fine 16th century church with an authentic Renaissance façade. The Pazo de Castrelos, dating from the 17th century, is home to the Quiñones de León Municipal Museum and contains a vast collection of paintings and artefacts that demand discovery. Elsewhere, the Castro de Vigo archaeological site has reconstructed ancient dwellings.
Vigo is a firm favourite with many visitors. Its mild climate, renowned estuary and golden beaches of the Rías Baixas, fine mariscada (seafood platter) cuisine and expansive culture all add up to something very special.
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. It is known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and the alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James. His remains reputedly lie within the Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela, consecrated in 1211, whose elaborately carved stone facades open onto grand plazas within the medieval walls of the old town.
Nicknamed the ‘Fishing City,’ Vigo is one of the largest and most important fishing ports in all of Europe and is known for its freezing and canning industry.
Cies Islands National Park
The Cíes Islands are the Vigo estuary’s greatest treasure: an amazing national marine-terrestrial park and one of the country’s most beautiful places, which is why the Romans named them the islands of the gods. They consist of three islands: Monte Agudo, O Faro and San Martiño. The Cíes are part of the Atlantic Islands National Park, a beach paradise with crystalline waters, in a natural environment that makes a unique wildlife observatory.