As one of Spain's autonomous regions, Galicia stands apart from the majority due to their pride in speaking their own language and practicing their distinctive culture. Many say that the place feels more like Ireland than Galicia due to the people's preference for their Celtic heritage. Their love of food is also evident in the variety of dishes they present, from the delicious seafood to the savoury meats. Washing it down with a crisp, white Albariño with the trumpeting sound of bagpipes also add to the unique ambiance.
Travellers going to this northwestern part of Spain will find the Atlantic on its shores. The southern end of Galicia also borders Portugal, which has its own range of distinctive attractions as well. With a craggy coast and a mild, wet climate, Galicia makes a fascinating destination for tourists to visit, especially for those who have already seen Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and other major Spanish cities.
What to see & do
Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, attracts more tourists than other town or city in the region. It is especially popular for pilgrims as the city was once an important centre of the Christian faith in the Middle Ages. One will see here the famous Cathedral, with its moss-covered spires and statues, which has been restored many times since it was built in the 11th century. Those going to see the Cathedral these days will find the Portico de la Gloria inside the west entrance, which features about 200 Romanesque sculptures. The main altar is also magnificent, as well as the tomb of Santiago, which are most frequented by pilgrims.
After finishing a tour here, one can move to the Museo de Pogo Galego in the northeast of Old Town. One will see here a convent house where visitors will see exhibits on Galician life and arts such as the fishing boats and bagpipes. From here, tourists can then look for Alameda, the largest of the green parks in the city, as well as the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, Casa do Cabildo, and more.
Other than Santiago de Compostela, other towns await in Galicia where one can find more of the attractions that make Galicia fascinating. Those who want to see beaches can check out the view in the Rías Altas where the towering cliffs and powerful waves make such compelling scenery. There are also medieval towns to find here with farmhouses scattered on the vivid green fields such as the Betanzos, where one can start the sightseeing at Praza dos Irmáns García Naveira. From here, one can venture to various destinations such as the Old Town and the Museo das Mariñas where one can find displays on the Galician life, from everyday household items to culturally significant relics.
A Coruña, an isolated city on a corner of the Galician coast, can be an interesting city to visit. It has the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Roman lighthouse called the Torre de Hercules. Mistakenly attributed to the Greek hero, the lighthouse is still a sight to behold with its 234 steps that allow climbers to check out panoramas of the cotu and the coast. Those who want to see the natural environment here can venture to the Monte de San Pedro, a hilltop park some ways beyond the northwest of the city centre.
How to get around
Travellers will find a variety of public transport in Galicia. Santiago de Compostela features a wide range of options, which allow tourists to venture to different parts of the region. Buses are available in the city centre for those staying in the city. Those who want to check out other areas in Galicia can board the train station alight from the stops at Pontevedra and Vigo. Buses going to other towns can also be found here, which makes it relatively manageable to go around the region.
Driving can also be an option for those who want to travel on their own. This can prove to be convenient for those with detailed itineraries to remote corners of Galicia. Travellers might need to present an international driver's licence, however, when applying for a rental.
How to get there
Those who want to visit here can schedule regular or seasonal connecting flights to Santiago de Compostela Airport. Airlines serving here include Aer Lingus, Air Europa, easyJet, easyJet Switzerland, Iberia, Iberia Express, Ryanair, SATA International, Swiss International Air Lines, Turkish Airlines, and Vueling.