Santiago de Compostela

Visit Santiago de Compostela: Your Travel Guide

Not often do you hear of a city where everyone loves the rain. It falls on medieval cobbled streets, runs down Renaissance and Baroque edifices and pitter-patters on café awnings. It makes the city glisten. Whether rain or shine, pilgrim or non-believer, Santiago de Compostela will surprise you.

Things to Do in Santiago de Compostela

Cathedral of Santiago
This cathedral is the endpoint of Christendom’s holiest pilgrimage. It lies at the end of the “Camino de Santiago” (Way of St. James), an ancient walking route trodden by believers from around Europe. It’s customary for pilgrims to lean on the stone pillar just inside the doorway, indented after a thousand years of weary travellers have rested against it.
Praza do Obradoiro, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Monday-Sunday 07:00-20:30
Hospital of the Catholic Monarchs
Isabela and Ferdinand are two of Spanish history’s biggest names. These 15th-century monarchs ordered the construction of this hospital. Like a modern-day spa without the treatments, it was a point of rejuvenation for worn-and-weary pilgrims who’d arrived in the city via the “Way of St. James”. It’s a hotel these days, but maintains its magnificent original door.
Rúa de San Francisco 1, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Monday-Sunday 12:00-14:00 and 16:00-18:00
Raxoi Palace
This palace literally can’t be missed. Flanking Obradoiro Square with its imposing neo-classical façade, this long building is one of the city’s most monumental structures. The details on its reliefs are best seen from the outside. The reliefs on its central portico depict the mythical “Battle of Clavijo”, a key concept in the Christian expulsion of the Muslims from Spain.
Praza do Obradoiro, 157015 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Monastery of San Pelayo
Don’t come expecting “monastic silence”. Home to an order of nun’s since the 12th-century, its silence is often interrupted by the bells of Mosteiro de San Paio de Antealtares next door – and the hymns sung at almost every night at 19:30. The atmosphere is moving, since so few congregate here during the week. Buy fresh cookies from the nuns at the hatch along Via Sacra.
Praza da Quintana de Vivos, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Monday-Saturday 10:30-13:30 and 16:00-19:00
Monastery of San Martin Pinario
Imagine being in the city centre and not seeing anybody! Some forty nuns live inside this 16th-century Benedictine Monastery, barred from all contact with the public. You can access several deserted he side-chapels, which are famous for their over-the-top paintings by the artists Andrade, Toro and Velasco. They’re worth seeing to understand just how “Baroque” the Baroque can be!
Praza da Inmaculada 3, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Tuesday-Sunday 11:00-13:30 and 16:00-18:30
Museum of Pilgrimage
Good things come in small packages. This pint-sized museum is the perfect place to learn about the city’s culture – and its famous sites of Catholic pilgrimage. Its exhibitions cover the gamut of religious artefacts, from golden triptychs to stone deities across eight separate rooms. Housed in the 14th-century “Gothic House”, it’s only a few metres from the cathedral.
Praza de Praterías, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-14:00 and 16:00-20:00, Sunday 11:00-14:00. Changes seasonally.
Praza de Abastos
Ever tried Galician-style empanadas? To make these pie-like staples, buy flour and butter to make the dough, spices and oil from the artisans, and potatoes from the country folk. Add meat and tuna for two of the most traditional fillings, and voila! Even if you’re not cooking, there’s plenty of cheese, chorizo and fresh food to graze on at the city’s largest Farmer’s Market.
Rua Ameás, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Monday-Saturday 07:00-15:00
Alameda Park
Cygnets graze in the vegetation around Alameda Fountain. Even though it’s in the heart of the city, the air is still and sounds few in this park. Its land was spared from development four-centuries ago. Since then, generations of children have walked here hand-in-hand with their parents. There's plenty of space for picnicking beside its flowerbeds, plane trees and oak groves.
Paseo Central de Alameda, 15702 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Museum of Galician People
A surprise waits just beyond the city’s walls. Tucked away inside the Convent of Santo Domingo de Bonaval, this museum describes the lives of the Galician people, residents of the Iberian Peninsula for two millennia. Their material culture is depicted in costumes, paintings and sculptures. There’s also an interactive exhibit that takes you on an exciting virtual pilgrimage.
San Domingos de Bonaval, 15703 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Tuesday-Saturday 10:30-14:00 and 16:00-19:30, Sundays 11:00-14:00
Gelmirez Palace
Who was the Archbishop Gelmirez? After his official residence was ransacked, he ordered this palace’s 12th-century construction to hold him – and a legacy of archbishops in the centuries that followed. The upstairs dining room is famed for its magnificent corbels, the structures upon which its vaulted ceilings rest. They depict the rituals of courtly dining in vivid detail.
Praza do Obradoiro, 15704 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Open Monday-Friday 10:00-19:15, Saturday-Sunday 10:00-14:00 and 16:00-19:15

When to Go to Santiago de Compostela

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Traveler's Reviews & Photos

10
Exceptional
The historic precinct of the city is beautiful and not too busy. The walks along the streets to the cathedral through the narrow streets have an ancient and stylish feel. The countryside around the city from Sarria & Lugo is lush and green. The Camino pilgrims add interest and vibe to the city.
Pauline
Australia
June 17, 2017
10
Exceptional
Amazing place. The cathedral is a great place for spiritual nourishment. The masses and confessions available enable you to deepen your faith. If you take a day trip with the commercial tours, you also get to visit Muxia and Finnistere , which are beautiful.
Daphne
Singapore
June 17, 2017
10
Exceptional
Spent a week in Spanish language school in Santiago then 5 days walking the Camino returning to Santiago. Loved the city and can't wait to return.
Jan
United Kingdom
June 17, 2017
10
Exceptional
Great glimps of medieval space y architecture. Friendly tourist service.
Miami traveler
Spain
June 16, 2017
10
Exceptional
Very nice historical city centre with an impressive Cathedral and tourist area.
Michel
Canada
June 16, 2017

Accommodations and Hotels in Santiago de Compostela

San Francisco Hotel Monumento

9.2 Wonderful

Score from 1,336 reviews

$135

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    144 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    136 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    119 related reviews
Eurostars Araguaney

8.7 Excellent

Score from 1,312 reviews

$104

Average price per night
  • “wonderful staff”
    71 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    57 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    49 related reviews
Pousadas de Compostela Hotel Virxe da Cerca

8.8 Excellent

Score from 1,344 reviews

$99

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    60 related reviews
  • “beautiful building”
    57 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    41 related reviews
Smart Boutique Hotel Literario San Bieito

9.3 Wonderful

Score from 1,642 reviews

$128

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    103 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    78 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    62 related reviews
Parador de Santiago - Hostal Reis Catolicos

9.1 Wonderful

Score from 1,826 reviews

$207

Average price per night
  • “beautiful building”
    212 related reviews
  • “location was great”
    137 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    70 related reviews
Hotel Universal

8.1 Very Good

Score from 1,984 reviews

$60

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    74 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    43 related reviews
  • “very clean”
    36 related reviews
Hotel Miradoiro de Belvís

8.9 Excellent

Score from 1,833 reviews

$72

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    91 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    68 related reviews
  • “safe parking”
    63 related reviews
NH Collection Santiago de Compostela

9 Wonderful

Score from 1,196 reviews

$115

Average price per night
  • “location was great”
    28 related reviews
  • “excellent quality of food”
    27 related reviews
  • “wonderful staff”
    25 related reviews
Hotel Windsor

8.4 Very Good

Score from 1,598 reviews

$45

Average price per night
Discover Santiago de Compostela

Popular Neighborhoods in Santiago de Compostela

City Center

99 properties

The end of the Camino and the start of any journey to the city. Arriving pilgrims are greeted with a clash of old and new – the Renaissance-style Parador Hotel and neo-classical Rajoy Palace, with touts and t-shirt vendors waiting outside. Dart down the side streets to café and restaurant-filled Quintana dos Mortos or Platería for quieter climes.

El Ensanche Zona Nuova

33 properties

A district with modern edge. Contemporary apartment blocks and wide shopping avenues define this area, which has been in development since the ‘70s. It’s best seen by foot. Shop for big brand clothing on República de El Salvador, and grab a drink at one of Roxa Square and Galicia Square’s cool cafés.

Local Tips for Santiago de Compostela

Monte do Gozo
Andrea by Andrea

Chocoholic Andrea is a keen photographer who draws inspiration from mountain scenery.

Located on the outskirts of Santiago, this famous hill is part of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. ‘Monte do Gozo’ means ‘hill of joy’, so called because this is where pilgrims get their first glimpse of the city. It’s a great spot to enjoy a picnic and take in wonderful views.

  • Monte do Gozo, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña
Noia
Richard by Richard

Richard has lived in both Valencia and Barcelona, and loves the Spanish climate, people and food.

Noia is the closest coastal town to Santiago de Compostela, just 38 km away. It’s located on the Ría de Muros estuary and surrounded by amazing beaches, beautiful green countryside and traditional villages. Take the 40-minute drive or bus ride there to get a true taste of Galicia!

  • Noia, A Coruña
Outdoor gigs
Ángela by Ángela

Ángela loves getting lost in big cities and discovering small urban art galleries.

Santiago has a wide variety of traditional music, from Celtic bagpipes to university bands. The city council also organizes open-air concerts all around town, often showcasing local jazz or rock musicians. Many of these are free – pick up an events guide from a tourist office for details.

  • Rúa do Vilar, 63, 15705 Santiago de Compostela
Granxa do Xesto Park
Virginia by Virginia

Born in France but based in Spain, Virginia enjoys exploring the parks of every new city she visits.

Half park, half forest, Granxa do Xesto is situated on the slopes of Monte Pedroso. After the 25-minute walk from the city centre, you’ll find paths winding between peacefully trees and man-made pools. There’s also a picnic area and a café with wonderful views over Santiago.

  • Santo Ignacio Monte, 93, Santiago de Compostela
Tapia natural pools
Rafael by Rafael

Whether it’s on the beach or in the park, sun-worshipper Rafael re-energizes by catching some rays.

Located a 15-minute drive from the city, this natural swimming area is formed by the River Tambre. As well as pools for adults and children, you’ll find hiking trails, a bar and lawns where you can sunbathe. Strong swimmers can also jump over the wall into the rushing river itself.

  • Praia Fluvial Tapia Aldea Vilouta, 10, 15870 Vilouta, A Coruña
Queimada
Katherine by Katherine

Dance lover Katherine swapped Scotland for Spain 5 years ago and hasn’t looked back since.

Queimada is a traditional Galician liqueur that’s supposed to convey special powers to those who drink it. As it's prepared, a spell is recited and the alcohol is set alight. It's not sold everywhere but you might find it in Babel, a cosy bar in the historic centre – book ahead to be sure!

The shadow pilgrim
Raquel by Raquel

Sporty Raquel lives near Barcelona but has fond memories of Santiago’s beautiful sunsets.

Every night a pilgrim stands in Plaza de la Quintana, wearing traditional garb and carrying a staff with a scallop shell. But this pilgrim is an unintentional trick of the light, made up of shadows cast by nearby buildings. Look out for him in the corner underneath the clock tower!

  • Praza da Quintana, 15704, Santiago de Compostela
Sarela River Walkway
Sandra by Sandra

Sandra loves the great outdoors and spends her free time seeking out new hiking routes.

Although it’s right on the edge of the city, this woodland trail seems like another world. You can follow the River Sarela past historic bridges, waterwheels and tanneries from Ponte Sarela to Carme de Abaixo, surrounded by nature and shaded by native oak, birch and willow trees.

Read our FAQs on this destination –>

Recommended in Santiago de Compostela

The architecture is exquisite and full of ancient art, statues, relics of the past and of course, St. James burial tomb. Two masses: 10:30 am in English for the perigrinos, and the 12:00 mass in Latin. We were forturnate that the botofumeria was used during the noon mass the day we arrived.

Watch the weather forecast it rained a lot during our stay. Tourist tours sometimes can inhibit individual sightseeing but can be avoided as street are quite wide

Start at Fonseca Square, right next to the Cathedral and just wander! Take note of the the old shop signs as you walk - very cute!

Amazing choice of reasonably priced restaurants in the centre serving regional Galician cuisine. I.E. Plenty of fish.

There are so many pilgrims reaching the end of their journey. I have great respect for anyone making such an effort.

There is so much to see in Santiago & the people are so friendly.

Celebrations/relief of arriving pilgrims.

The cathedral is famous for pilgrimages

Transportation

Santiago de Compostela Transportation

Air - Aeropuerto de Santiago

Located around 10 km north-east of the city, Santiago Airport is easily accessible by bus. Green shuttle buses run every half hour, leaving the airport from 07:00–01:00, and leaving Plaza de Galicia in the city centre from 06:00–00:00. Buses stop along the way at the main bus station and train station. Tickets cost EUR 3 single or EUR 5.10 return. Alternatively, a taxi from the airport to central Santiago costs EUR 21 and should take 15–20 minutes.

Taxi

Taxis are a convenient way to get around Santiago, particularly at night when transport options are limited. Taxi drivers can also suggest sightseeing routes or places to visit in the surrounding area. Taxi fares are metered, with a minimum charge of EUR 3.70 during the day, EUR 5 from 22:00–07:00 and EUR 4.25 at weekends and on public holidays. Prices then rise by EUR 0.95–EUR 1.18 per km travelled. A small extra fee also applies for each piece of luggage.

Train

Santiago’s main train station is located just south of the city centre, around a 15-minute walk from the cathedral. It offers frequent regional services to Pontevedra, Vigo and Ourense, as well as high-speed trains to La Coruña and Madrid. The station has ticket counters and machines, shops, cafés and ATMs. It opens daily from 05:00–00:30.

Bus

Santiago’s extensive bus network criss-crosses the whole city. Most lines run from around 07:00 until 23:00 during the week, with reduced hours at the weekend and on public holidays. A single ticket costs EUR 1, but it’s better value to pick up a 10-journey, 20-journey or 30-journey pass, depending on the length of your stay. All tickets can be purchased directly from the driver.

Car

Driving isn’t advisable in Santiago itself, since the city is so compact and the entire city centre is a pedestrian-only zone. However, a car can be useful if you’re planning to explore the surrounding area. Car hire companies can be found at Santiago Airport and in the city centre. Paid public parking is plentiful, even close to the historic centre. To drive in Spain, you’ll need an international driving licence or a valid driving licence from another EU country.

Food in Santiago de Compostela

Top Restaurants in Santiago de Compostela

Upscale Dining
Japanese
La Tacita D'Juan
Mid-Range Fare
Spanish
A Curtidoria
Upscale Dining
Japanese
Casa Marcelo
Mid-Range Fare
Local
Bierzo de Enxebre
Mid-Range Fare
Local
María Castaña
Mid-Range Fare
Local
Barrola
Cheap Eats
American
A Vaca
Mid-Range Fare
Local
Cafe Altamira
  • Rúa Altamira 18, 15704, Santiago de Compostela A Coruña, Spain
  • Open every day 13:00-15:00 and 20:30-23:00
  • 0034 981 55 85 42
Mid-Range Fare
Local
A taberna do Obispo
Mid-Range Fare
Spanish
Acio
  • Rúa das Galeras 28, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
  • Open Monday-Saturday 13:00-16:30 and 20:00-00:30
  • www.acio.es
  • 0034 981 57 70 03
Mid-Range Fare
Local
O Curro de Parra
Upscale Dining
Spanish
Casa Elisa
Upscale Dining
Local
Pedro Roca
Upscale Dining
Local
Abastos 2.0
  • Ameas 4. Praza de Abastos 15703, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
  • Open Tuesday-Saturday 13:30-15:30 and Friday-Saturday 21:00-23:00
  • www.latacita.com
  • 0034 981 56 20 41
Cheap Eats
American
J de Joker
  • Rúa Nova de Abaixo, 4, 15701 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, España
  • Open every day 12:00-16:00 and 19:30-00:00
  • 0034 981 07 18 01
Cheap Eats
American
J de Joker
  • Rúa Nova de Abaixo, 4, 15701 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, España
  • Open every day 12:00-16:00 and 19:30-00:00
  • 0034 981 07 18 01
Cheap Eats
Local
A Taverna do Ensanche
Upscale Dining
Local
Restaurante Roberto
Upscale Dining
Local
Restaurante Roberto
Find accommodations in Santiago de Compostela

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