Santiago de Compostela Travel Blog

A long-time pilgrimage site as well as a university town…The capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, is much more than just the Camino de Santiago’s terminus. Here is our list of the top things to do and see in Santiago de Compostela, so let us take you on a tour of this lovely mediaeval UNESCO World Heritage city.

Although this city in Spain’s northwest is small, it is incredibly charming, unique, and beautiful. If you are travelling the Camino de Santiago, take your time celebrating your accomplishment and exploring Santiago, the city of St. James as well as a city rich in culture, history, and cuisine.


The Praza do Obradoiro and Santiago Cathedral will, of course, be your first encounters with the city after walking the Camino. Whether you are religious or not, we encourage you to attend Pilgrims Mass at this magnificent example of Romanesque and Baroque religious architecture. If you’re lucky, you could even get to witness the Botafumeiro in operation!

We suggest seeing the recently rebuilt Portico da Gloria, taking one of the wonderful cathedral tours to learn about its history, or going on the rooftop tour for a special vantage point of the city.


Although Santiago Cathedral is its crowning glory, Santiago Old Town offers a wealth of additional attractions. Enter to view the magnificent Hostal dos Reis Catolicos if you are coming from Praza do Obradoiro. 500 years after it was established as a pilgrim hospital, it is still a luxurious Parador hotel and welcomes travellers.

Take your time to explore the UNESCO-listed historic district, admiring its charming arched streets and lovely buildings as you go. From the large squares to the tiny nooks and laneways, you’ll discover the area’s beauty layer by layer. Depending on the time of day, Santiago de Compostela takes on a different appearance, so if you go for a walk in the morning, you’ll experience a completely different vibe than if you go out in the evening when bars and restaurants start to come alive with groups of friends having a drink, some dinner, and a good time.


If the Cathedral is the city’s spiritual centre, then Abastos Market, another Old Town institution, unquestionably captures its soul. It is the second most popular tourist destination in Santiago and is frequently crowded with tourists who are enthralled by the variety of delicious animals on the show as well as residents doing their shopping. Although there are several hip bars and eateries bringing Galicia’s traditional cuisine to new exquisite contemporary dimensions, this is hardly a hipster tourist destination. While adapting to the times, Abastos continues to be a fully functional food market for the residents of Santiago and for any outsiders curious about Galicia’s culinary customs.


Alameda Park is the most well-liked park in the city and a great spot for hanging out, jogging, playing, strolling, or simply watching people. You can enjoy wonderful views of the cathedral from the Alameda and see noteworthy monuments honouring significant Galician authors and other well-known figures, like the neighbourhood sisters known as “As Marias,” playwright Ramon Maria del Valle Inclan, and poet Rosalia de Castro.


One of the first universities in Europe was founded in Santiago de Compostela in the fifteenth century. The Old Town is filled with numerous former university buildings, some of which currently house faculties. The Pazo de Fonseca, a 16th-century structure that is now a part of the university library, is one of the must-sees. During the academic year, students still account for nearly a third of the city’s population, giving it a distinct personality and environment.


Since there have been pilgrims, which spans many hundred years, souvenirs have been offered for sale and purchased in Santiago. For instance, Praza de Praterias gets its name from the silversmiths who settled there in the Middle Ages to produce and market a variety of silver souvenirs to pilgrims. Today, you may get both more modern styles and traditional silver chains with scallop shell motifs. 

Since ancient times, scallop shells, black amber, leather products, and amber have all been offered as gifts to pilgrims and tourists in Santiago. Prints, pottery, t-shirts, and other small memories inspired by city life are available in local artists’ small shops all across the city.


Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the food-obsessed Galicia region, is home to a wide variety of eateries and pubs serving local and foreign cuisine to suit all tastes and budgets, from modest bars that offer free pinchos to unique cafes and Michelin-starred restaurants. 

In several Old Town establishments, you can get a complimentary “pincho” of food along with your drink. Although the city’s two most well-known bar streets are Rua da Raina and Rua do Franco, there are excellent bars located all over the place.

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