The historic centre of Santiago de Compostela has been listed since 1985 as a World Heritage Site. Together with Rome and Jerusalem, it is one of the 3 great pilgrimage centres of Christianity, since it is traditionally considered to be where the Apostle Santiago was buried.
Each year, its Cathedral is the arrival point for hundreds of thousands of pilgrims who make the so-called Camino de Santiago. At the same time, it is a distinguished student city, with a University that is among the best in Spain.
Below we present a small guide on what to see in Santiago de Compostela, focusing on its old town, so that you can visit its most interesting highlights, which can be done in a pleasant walk during a weekend getaway.
The heart of the Galician capital and the place where it is located its famous Cathedral, the Rajoy Palace, the current seat of the town hall, the San Jerónimo College, and the Parador de Santiago, known as the Hoste of the Catholic Kings. A lively square that is always full of pilgrims, it is the first place to visit in Santiago de Compostela.
The Cathedral of Santiago of Compostela
The place where the tomb of Santiago the Apostle is located, according to tradition, presents a mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque architectural styles. In addition to the Plaza del Obradoiro, 3 other squares surround the temple.
In the Plaza de la Inmaculada (Immaculate Square) you can see the Monastery of San Martiño Pinario, of Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles, whose construction spanned from the 16th to the 18th century.
In the Plaza de Quintana is the first Town Hall, the Cemetery of the Canons, and the founding monastery located.
Finally, the Plaza de las Platerías, in the southern part of the Compostela Cathedral, which owes its name to the goldsmith workshops that were located there since the Middle Ages. The Casa del Cabildo stands out, with typical baroque geometric ornaments, and the Fuente de Los Caballos.
Rua do Vilar
Leaving the Plaza de las Platerías, we will encounter this well-known street that houses the Pilgrim's Welcome Office and the Tourist Information Office of Santiago, as well as numerous noble houses of Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical styles. Among all the constructions, the Casino de Santiago stands out.
On Calle Nueva, the baroque Casa Das Pomas and the Pazo de Santa Cruz, built in the 19th century, stand out, as well as two of the most important cultural landmarks to see in Santiago de Compostela; the Main Theatre and the Theatre Hall.
University and Food Market
The people of Compostela call the Faculty of Geography and History, simply, the University, and it is located in the square of the same name. Bordering it, you reach the Church of San Fiz de Solovio, and next to it the Mercado de Abastos. With great daily activity, except on Sundays, since the second half of the 19th century, it is an ideal place to buy some excellent Galician products, and even to taste some specialities of the extraordinary Galician cuisine, a true national monument for the palate in some of its establishments.
Among the places to see in Santiago de Compostela, the wonderful Parque de la Alameda stands out. You arrive at this beautiful green space, lung of the city, leaving through the Porta Faxeira, the old gate of the now-defunct walled enclosure, where you can not only enjoy its wonderful natural surroundings, but also some fantastic views of the historic center of Santiago de Compostela. Framed between elms and oaks.
Visiting Santiago de Compostela is an unrepeatable cultural experience, where you will always find an animated city with the joy of its pilgrims and students, in which it is impossible to get bored. And without a doubt, touring the center of Santiago with a free tour is a great idea to have a good time and meet people.