Travel Guide to Galicia
If you choose Galicia for your next trip, I can promise you will never regret it! As for me, it’s one of the best regions in Spain. Galicia has incredible nature with its magical forests, wild and unique landscapes, Cantabrian Sea and Atlantic ocean. You will get surprised by the number of beautiful places and sights, world-class seafood and super friendly Galicians.
Not enough reasons to start already packing your backpack? Check out this Travel Guide to Galicia and get rid of any doubts.
Visit the most spectacular beach in Galicia
Playa de las Catedrales or Cathedrals Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in Spain. This natural monument is a mix of amazing rock formations and caves which you can explore during the low tide (from 10 am to 3 pm).
You can also seize the opportunity to swim in the Cantabrian Sea. But be aware that its waters are much cooler, so it can be quite challenging even in August.
The entrance to the Cathedrals Beach is for free, but the maximum number of people who can visit Playa de las Catedrales is limited nowadays. During the summer months, September, and Easter holidays you’ll need to reserve an access in advance. You can do it on the official website.
And also, walking on Cathedrals Beach you will find many sea animals on the rocks like mussels, oysters, goose barnacles, and others. Don’t try to touch and even more to pick them from rocks, it’s forbidden, the fine is 600 euros. What about taking pictures, this you can do easily and without any fine.
Feel yourself a pelgrim in Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is definitely a must-visit place during your trip to Galicia. This city has its own magnificent atmosphere: narrow charming streets, famous over the world sightseeings and the deep history. In 1985 Santiago was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is always full of tourists from all around the world.
You can ask: “Why?” Every year thousands of pilgrims walk across Spain through different routes. But all these routes lead to Santiago de Compostela which is the ending point of “Camino de Santiago” (Way of Saint James). Many pilgrims do their “camino” for religious reasons, others in search of adventures.
Enjoy walking in the historical city center taking photos of beautiful sights, have caña and tapa in some bar and of course, try famous and super delicious “tarta de Santiago”.
Discover mysterious Parque do Pasatiempo
Close to La Coruna in the municipality Betanzos, you can find the first thematic park in Galicia – Parque do Pasatiempo. I’ve been in many parks around the world and this one is one of the most memorable and unusual, in my opinion.
The Parque do Pasatiempo was created by Juan Garcia Naveira who like many other Galicians emigrated to Argentina in the mid-nineteenth century. There he made a huge fortune and decided to return to Betanzos to put money into his town and create the Parque do Pasatiempo. In this park, he wanted to show everything he had seen in his travels to his countrymen.
In Parque do Pasatiempo you will see different untypical and symbolic figures like a scuba diver, a wall with 41 clocks that mark the time zones, camels, a huge lion on the top, and many others. Also, you must visit the caves the park hides. One of them you can find in the “Mosque of Mohamed Ali” which reminded me somehow of the “Sagrada de Familia”, maybe by its unusual way of looking inside.
Parque do Pasatiempo is obviously a hidden gem of Galicia that not so many travelers know about.
Get sure to come at least 1,5 hours before closing, as there are lots of things to discover and take pictures of.
Summer: from 9 am to 9 pm
Winter: from 9am to 6 pm
Get on top of Torre de Hércules
Built by the Romans in the late of 1st century A.D., Torre de Hércules is the oldest lighthouse still in use in the world. It’s a must-visit place in La Coruna not only because it’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, but mostly because of the stunning view on the surroundings and the sea.
To see the Tower of Hercules inside you can every day. The ticket costs 3 euros, but on Mondays, the entrance is for free. But be aware to come early because in summer months the tickets run out quite fast.
Stroll the longest seafront promenade in Europe
Here in Coruña you can also stroll the longest seafront promenade in Europe. Thirteen kilometers path got nowadays the favorite outdoor gym for the inhabitants.
If you’re in a good shape, you can challenge to walk all promenade or if not, just some part of it. But believe me, it is worth it. The Paseo Maritimo (its Spanish name) is not crowded at all, so you can fully enjoy your sidewalk with the beautiful views, Torre de Hercules that lays on the way, el Portiño – small fishers neighborhood, and stunning sunset over the Atlantic.
The promenade has also a special line for bicycles, so renting a bike at one of the bike shops on the beachfront avenue can be a great option to discover the surroundings.
Get impressed with Roman walls in Lugo
Once visiting Lugo don’t forget to visit its most important sightseeing of the city – Roman walls which were constructed in the 3rd century! Isn’t it incredible? This wall is the only one in the world that is complete. So, that is not surprising why it’s in UNESCO’s World Heritage List and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Galicia.
The Roman walls surround the historical city of Lugo and have more than 2km in length, 85 towers and ten doors in the walls. Don’t miss an opportunity to stroll atop the wall and catch the best view on Lugo and beyond.
Buy fresh seafood at Mercado de Abastos
Knowing Spanish cuisine cannot dispense with visiting a local market. You can find it in all the cities in Galicia. Being in Santiago de Compostela don’t miss an opportunity to see Mercado de Abastos. It’s one of the largest markets in all of Spain. Vendors come here from different corners of Galicia and sell their products here. You can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses and of course, delicious fresh seafood.
For example, when we visited it this August we bought “percebes” (goose barnacles). Normally the price for “percebes” in other parts of Spain goes around 100-300 euros for kilo, depending on the season. In Mercado de Abastos we bought them for 30 euros per kilo. Seafood in the north of Spain cost much cheaper, so get the chance to fill up on it here.
You can also buy Galician oysters and eat them right in the market. Just for 1,5 euro (1 piece) the vendor will open it for you and serve with the lemon.
Working hours of Mercado de Abastos:
Monday: from 9 am to 2 pm
Tuesday-Saturday: from 7 am to 3 pm
Visit Santiago de Compostela Cathedral
Having arrived in Santiago de Compostela, the place you must visit is Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, the most important symbol of the city. It’s incredibly beautiful and huge inside and I highly advise you to see it on your own.
It has its unique atmosphere that you can especially feel while having been on “La misa del Peregrino” or Botafumeiro. “La misa del Peregrino” is a special mesa devoted to the pilgrims that have finished their way, “camino”. It runs every day at 12:00.
And what is also very special about the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela it is its Botafumeiro, giant thurible or censer. Seeing it swinging through the soaring leaves unforgettable impressions. Botafumeiro is used every Friday at 7:30 mass.
Since I was 7 years-old little girl I went for my first trip to abroad which made me fall in love with traveling and made it my passion for all my life. I like to discover different cultures, people, the way they look and behave according to their traditions, new places and incredible views, new food, and new flavors. And I want to share my discovers with you here in my blog. In addition to it, I'll give you the tips how to make your trip a "varied experience" and how to travel in a cheaper way.
Let's discover the world together 😉
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