Galicia is one of the regions of Spain with more history behind it. Its capital is famous for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, but the city and its surroundings hold many more secrets for the traveler.
1. Guided tour of the old town of Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is one of the most visited cities in the world. The reason is the pilgrimage of the Camino de Santiago that thousands of travelers (religious or not) make on foot every year from different points of northern Spain that culminates in its cathedral that houses the remains of the apostle.
However, the city of Santiago de Compostela has much more than its Cathedral and the best way to discover it is by taking a guided tour of the historic center of the city. The best of all is that many of these tours are based on the concept of free tour, so the price will not be a problem.
What this tour consists of
In a free tour, the traveler is only obliged to pay the reservation fee and you can do it online to secure your place, which is highly recommended considering the high demand for these tours.
An expert guide will take you and a group of 30 people maximum through the most relevant places of the city while telling you its history from a dynamic and practical point of view, far from the information you can find in any guidebook. Once the tour is over, you are the one who sets the price for the guide's work.
In Santiago de Compostela, this tour focuses on the old part of the city, is available in English and Spanish and lasts about two hours. The group departs from a meeting point located in the center of the city (often the cathedral square). From there the tour covers:
- The main squares near the cathedral
- The streets of the old town
- The food market
- The hidden monuments of the center
- The Alameda Park
Why I like this option
If you only have a few hours in the city, my recommendation would be to dedicate them to this tour. First because the city is within walking distance and this tour will show you everything you have to see and second because the atmosphere that the guides create with the group and their recommendations and stories have an added value that you will not find in any other tour.
Ana's Traveller Tip
In Galicia, whether in summer or winter, it rains very often and the tours are not usually cancelled due to rain. Don't forget to bring an umbrella and appropriate footwear.
2. Excursion to Finisterre from Santiago de Compostela
In ancient times, Cape Finisterre was thought to be the edge of the known world, being the westernmost point of continental Europe. It is also the last point of the Camino de Santiago. You can visit the place and its surroundings on a day trip to Finisterre from Santiago de Compostela.
When you reach Cape Finisterre you will see a cliff washed by the so-called Costa de la Muerte (Coast of Death) due to the number of shipwrecks that occurred there in the past. The view is breathtaking, especially if the sea is rough, and you will need warm clothes regardless of the time of year. But the tour does not end here.
What this tour consists of
On the excursion to Finisterre, an hour's drive from Santiago, you will also see some of the most beautiful landscapes of Galicia, fishing villages, the Ézaro waterfall and Galician places of worship, among other points of interest.
The tour will be guided by a professional guide who will take you in an air-conditioned vehicle from a meeting point in the center of Santiago de Compostela. The tour will last one day and is available in English and Spanish.
Lunch is not included in the tour price, but you will have time to eat at your leisure during the tour. I recommend that you ask your guide for recommendations because Galician food is famous throughout the country and the prices are quite affordable.
3. Excursion to the Rias Baixas from Santiago de Compostela
When we talk about the Rías Baixas, we refer to a group of beaches and coastal areas located on the west coast of La Coruña about 50 minutes away from Santiago by road. To get there it is convenient to know the roads in the area, so I recommend this organized tour to the Rias Baixas from Santiago.
You can book online your place for the day that best suits you and an expert guide will pick you up at the meeting point in the center of Santiago. It includes a boat trip along the estuaries with mussels and wine tasting. You can do the tour in English or Spanish and you have the possibility to cancel for free with 24 hours notice if your plans change.
- Pontevedra and its historic center, one of the best preserved in Galicia. Here you will find monuments such as the ruins of Santo Domingo or the church of La Peregrina.
- Combarro; a town whose buildings can be taken as an example of popular architecture. It is here where you will take the boat ride with tasting included.
- The beach of La Lanzada, one of the most famous and extensive of Galicia. As a warning I will tell you that it is common to find cloudy weather and very cold water on the beaches of Galicia, but the natural beauty is still breathtaking.
- The town of Cambados, with a 17th century square, its arched bridge, its popular buildings and its famous church of San Benito.
4. Excursion to Lugo from Santiago de Compostela
Another essential excursion from Santiago de Compostela is the day trip to Lugo and the beaches of Ribadeo. With this experience you will get to know the northeastern part of Galicia that borders Asturias passing through the inland city of Lugo. It will be a trip of less than two hours and you will see unique natural landscapes.
This excursion covers one of the less known areas of northern Spain, so it is ideal to avoid crowds and get in touch with nature.
What this excursion consists of
During the whole day you will be accompanied by an expert guide who will tell you about the history of all the places you are seeing. The price of the excursion is 60 euros and includes the services of the guide, the visit fees and transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle from a meeting point in the center of Santiago de Compostela. This is what you will see:
Lugo as your first stop. This city with more than two centuries of history was one of the greatest exponents of the Roman Empire and is known for both its walls and its cathedral, two monuments that you will visit on this tour with a professional guide.
It is one of the most charming places on the Galician coast. The image you will see there will be opposite to the grandeur you will find in Santiago de Compostela.
The Beach of the Cathedrals
The Natural Park of the area and natural sites such as the famous Playa de las Catedrales, a spectacle to behold unlike any other beach you have seen to date.
5. You may also be interested in
If you are going to make a trip to Santiago de Compostela and its surroundings, you can not stay without visiting the jewel in its crown, the Cathedral of Santiago, so I recommend you to take a tour and be amazed by its architectural beauty. If you want more information take a look at this article about the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. Visit the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.