Santiago de Compostela, Spain: attractions, photos, reviews, how to get

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Santiago de Compostela, Spain: attractions, photos, reviews, how to get
Santiago de Compostela, Spain: attractions, photos, reviews, how to get

It is believed that a trip to Spain is inferior if the tourist has not visited the capital of Galicia, the city of Santiago de Compostela. More than a million visitors come here every year from all over the world. The city, along with Rome and Jerusalem, is the most important point of pilgrimage, and its historical center is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Today you will get to know Santiago de Compostela (albeit virtually) and its main attractions in more detail.

General characteristics

There is a legend according to which, after the martyrdom of the Apostle James, the boat with his headless body, launched across the Mediterranean Sea, returned to the Spanish coast, to the place where he had previously preached. A few hundred years later, a hermit monk who lived nearby discovered the incorruptible remains of Jacob. The guiding star showed him the way to them. On thein the place where the relics lay, a chapel was built, and later a basilica, which became a place of pilgrimage for Christians from different parts of the Earth and the end point of the path of St. James. This place is located in the city of Santiago de Compostela, which has since become an important shrine of the Catholic world.

Today, the capital of Galicia is not only a shrine, but also a modern prosperous city with a population of about 100 thousand people. It is divided into two parts: the old one, which contains the main number of historical sights, and the new one, which is considered the administrative center of the region. Hotels in Santiago de Compostela are found in both parts. The city's economy is constantly growing and strengthening, largely due to tourism. The prestigious University of Santiago de Compostela annually attracts a significant number of applicants. It was founded back in 1525.

Sights in Santiago de Compostela

How to get to Santiago de Compostela

There are various ways to get into the city:

  1. On foot from neighboring cities and countries. Every year, hundreds of tourists from all over the world go to Santiago de Compostela along the pilgrimage route of St. James. The route starts from Germany, France, Portugal and other European countries - it all depends on the physical abilities of the tourist.
  2. On the plane. The nearest international airport is located ten kilometers from the city, in Lavacolle. It receives flights from major Spanish and European cities.
  3. On the bus. The local bus station operates both domestic andinternational shipping. It can be reached from Germany, Portugal, Belgium, Romania and France. You can also use the bus to get from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid and other cities in Spain.
  4. On the train. Orreo train station provides short, medium and long distance transportation. Her services are suitable for those who are looking for an answer to the question: "How to get to Santiago de Compostela from Madrid, Bilbao or French Hendaye?" These routes run daily. With one change you can take the train to Paris, Barcelona and Lisbon. Trains between neighboring cities in the region run several times a day.
  5. By car. There are quite a few car routes in Santiago de Compostela, and most of them are quite scenic. The AP-9 highway connects the city with the Portuguese border, as well as the cities of A Coruña, Ferrol, Pontevedra and Vigo. Two roads lead to the rest of Spain from Galicia: A-6 (through the province of Lugo) and A-52 (through the province of Ourense). You can get to France from Santiago de Compostela via the N-634 motorway, which runs along the northern coast of the country.

It's time to get to know the sights of the city.

St. James Cathedral

This landmark is the most impressive Romanesque building not only in Santiago de Compostela, but also in Spain. This cathedral also represents the extreme point of pilgrimage for the adepts of St. James. The cathedral, which is more than a thousand years old, has an area of ​​more than 10,000 m2, so there is always enoughplaces for travelers and pilgrims. Its altar is decorated with the image of St. James and a canopy. In addition, the cathedral has a museum, which presents a rich collection of treasures that have accumulated within the walls of the building over the long history of its existence. This architectural structure is more often found in the photo of Santiago de Compostela and is one of the symbols of the city.

Cathedral of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela

Church of Santa Maria a Real do Sar

The church was built in the 12th century and has been well preserved to this day. The temple attracts primarily with its slightly sloping facades of the towers, the columns supporting the domes and the original altar, made in the Romanesque style. In addition, there are a number of religious items endowed with archaeological value.

Church of Saint Mary Salome

This church was built in the 12th century. Style - baroque. The temple is decorated with a number of sculptures created by students of the local university, and a huge image of the Virgin Mary on the vault. In the 18th century, a tower was erected, which also belongs to the church.

Monastery of Saint Francis

The modern building of the monastery was erected in the 16th century in the then popular Baroque style, but its history began four centuries earlier. The place where the attraction is located is called Val de Dios. Tourists come here to see the monument to St. Francis, created by the popular sculptor Ferreiro, as well as the religious museum, which displays valuable artifacts brought from the Holy Land. All museum exhibitsdate back to the Paleolithic.

Monastery of Saint Francis in Santiago de Compostela

Museum of the Galicians

This institution presents a rich collection, with the help of which you can get acquainted with the history, culture and life of the Galicians. Traditional costumes, traditional handicrafts, ancient sculptures and paintings, archaeological artifacts - all this and much more can be found here. The museum was organized in 1977 in the building of the monastery of Saint Domingo. The monastery itself is also recommended for visiting. Especially famous among tourists is its cemetery, where people who have contributed to the development of the region are buried.

Eugenio Granella Foundation Museum

The Foundation owns an impressive collection of surrealist works of art. There is not enough space in the museum building for the entire collection, so the exhibits on display change frequently. Here you can see the work of such popular artists as Max Ernst, Man Ray, José Hernandez, Esteban Frances, and Paco Pestana. The Foundation also has its own shop, where everyone can buy the work they like.

Contemporary Art Center

This attraction was opened in 1993 in an interesting building designed by the Portuguese architect Alvero Siza. It features both permanent and portable exhibitions. Recently, various cultural events have been regularly held at the Center: literary evenings, artistic discussions, artistic web shops, and more.

Center for Contemporary Art inSantiago de Compostele

Bishop's Palace

The building was built in the Romanesque style, as evidenced primarily by the original portico that peeps through the façade. The most interesting rooms of the palace are the dining room and kitchen, located on the second floor. Here, on the large columns supporting the arches, scenes of various medieval celebrations are depicted.

Rajoy Palace

This palace was built in 1766 as the official residence for the children of the church seminary and choir. Its project was developed by the famous Spanish architect and designer Lemeyer. The facade is decorated with a series of bas-reliefs depicting the victory of Clavijo, which is considered an important event in the history of the region. The interior of the building was furnished in the Rococo style by the same Lemayer.

Casa da Parra

Casa de Para was designed by Domenico de Andrade in the 18th century, built in the Baroque style. Today, it hosts exhibitions where you can get acquainted with various artifacts discovered in different years during the excavations of Santiago de Compostela. These exhibitions also present documents that in one way or another relate to the history of the city.

Fonseca College

The college is located near Obradoiro Square and is one of the most impressive architectural landmarks of Santiago de Compostela and Spain in general. It was erected in 1522 in the Renaissance style and became the first building of the local university. One of the facades of the building depicts Santiago Alfeo, who is considered the patron saint of the college. Inside the building is the famousSala a Grados library. It used to be the headquarters of the Seminary Padre Sarmiente, whose members edited the Declaration of Autonomy for the region. The college is surrounded by a picturesque garden where sculptures by Manolo Paz meet.

Fonseca College in Santiago de Compostela

Alameda Park

Alameda Park has been one of the favorite vacation spots for residents of Santiago de Compostela and visitors to the city since the 19th century. It offers an excellent view of the western side of the city, including its old part. The park is also famous for its oak and eucalyptus groves, colorful flower beds and beautiful fountains. It also has convenient picnic areas.

Obradoiro Square

Obradoiro is the main square of Santiago de Compostela and one of the largest in all of Galicia. The attraction is located in the historical quarter of the city, but is not its geographical center. It overlooks the main facade of the cathedral. The square is surrounded on four sides by historical buildings, which are said to have embodied four aspects of the life of the city: the cathedral (church) mentioned above, Paso de Rajoi (government), Hostal dos Reis Católicos (bourgeoisie and doctors), Colegio de San Jerónime (university). Each building has its own architectural style. Obradoiro was once open to cars, but is now pedestrian-only, like much of the historic district.

Hostal de los Reyes Catholicos

This is the name of the palace-hotel of the Catholic Kings, located on the squareObradoiro. Once this building was a hospital, and then the world's first hotel. Today, it is considered one of the most luxurious paradors in Santiago de Compostela and Spain in general. Paradors are hotels located in ancient buildings.

Hostal de los Reyes Católicos is remarkable not only for its location - the building is one of the most popular examples of Galician architecture. Its façade, designed by Enrique de Egas, is full of sculptures, family coats of arms and a composition of narrow windows. The building has four pretty courtyards. Two of them date from the 16th century and two more from the 18th.

Hostal de los Reyes Católicos in Santiago de Compostela

During its existence, Hostal has been transformed several times. Its construction was initiated by the Spanish king in the distant 15th century. Then it was planned to place a hospital or an inn for pilgrims in the building. In front of the facade of the building there was a narrow corridor, fenced with a rope. He testified that any person persecuted by law could find refuge in the building. This rule could be violated if the owner of the Hostal gave permission to capture this person.

In 1953, the building was converted into a luxurious parador. Today it is one of the four iconic buildings that frame the city's main square.

Quintana Square

Quintana Square is also a tourist attraction in Santiago de Cospostela. In size and importance, it is second only to Obradoiro. The area, which was built on twolevels, borders on the Cathedral of St. James. This lively area is sometimes referred to as the "Square of the Dead" as it was the site of a cemetery in ancient times.

The main part of the square is a rectangle, one of the sides of which goes into a staircase leading to the second level. From the west side, where the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is located, there is an excellent view of the Royal Gate.

Once on Quintana at night, not far from the baroque clock tower, you can see the appearance of a pilgrim. However, if you get closer to it, it turns out that it is just a shadow cast by the tower. According to local legend, a priest, dressed up, was waiting for his beloved nun here, but did not wait. Now he comes here every night hoping to meet her…

Cultural City of Galicia

This is the name given to the complex of cultural buildings built in Santiago de Compostela under the direction of the architect Peter Eisenmann. The construction of this attraction was very expensive and complex and required a professional approach at every stage. The fact is that according to the project, each building was supposed to resemble a hill, and each window decorating the external facade should have an original shape. In 2013, a little over 10 years had passed since the start of construction, due to high costs, it was decided to abandon the construction of the last two buildings.

"Cultural City of Galicia" in Santiago de Compostela

Natural History Museum

One ofattractions of Santiago de Compostela, located on the territory of the Vista Alegre Park is the Museum of Natural History. The collections presented in this institution allow visitors to get acquainted with the exhibits of the XIX-XX centuries, which are relevant to the environment of Galicia and its biological diversity.

Each of the ecosystems considered in the museum is presented in the form of an exact reproduction. Especially for children, all kinds of interactive platforms are being prepared here and master classes are held. With their help, a child can easily and naturally plunge into the complex and fascinating world of nature.


As the reviews show, Santiago de Compostela is one of the must-see cities in Spain.

Tourists say they come here to:

  1. Immerse yourself in the atmosphere of the ancient city, which is recognized as the heritage of mankind.
  2. Discover medieval iconography and impressive sculptures.
  3. Soak up the student atmosphere at one of the oldest universities in the world.
  4. Walk through the maze of medieval streets and squares.
  5. Taste fresh octopus, lobster, oysters and sea urchins.
  6. Discover the architecture of the city, harmoniously combining medieval and modern styles.

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