Santiago de Compostela Cathedral (A Coruña)

Santiago de Compostela

The final destination of St. James’ Way

A Coruña

For centuries, thousands of pilgrims have travelled on Saint James’ Way every year, finally reaching the capital of Galicia and entering the iconic Cathedral. According to tradition, this is the burial place of the relics of James the Apostle, discovered in the 9th century.

But Santiago de Compostela is very much a living city, with other attractions for travellers, pilgrim or not: countless restaurants and bars where you can enjoy the delicious seafood of Galicia, a UNESCO World Heritage old town centre, daring contemporary art… There's plenty to do in this city which combines history with a younger modern side.

Life around the Cathedral

Perhaps the most special place in Santiago is Plaza del Obradoiro. Life in the city seems to revolve around this point, the site of the Cathedral, Raxoi Palace, and the luxurious Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, said to be the world’s oldest hotel. On this square you’re likely to see pilgrims with their inevitable walking sticks and scallop shells. There is a ritual for visiting the Cathedral for the first time: admire the Portico de la Gloria, embrace the figure of Saint James on the main altar, go down to the crypt, go up to the rooftop (what a view!) and if you’re lucky, see the botafumeiro (an enormous censer) in action—they only use it on religious holidays or if requested in advance. Around the Cathedral, every step is a discovery, with other very charming squares such as Praterías (with the best view of the belltower, La Berenguela) or Quintana with its pretty stairs and other monuments like the imposing Monastery of San Martiño Pinario. It’s curious that even the far outskirts of the city seem as if they were designed for admiring the Cathedral. An example is the quiet Alameda Park and the viewing point of Monte do Gozo, with sculptures of pilgrims which have starred in so many photographs.

Fine dining and the modern city

To be tempted by delicious smells and tastes, and see why Galicia’s food is so famous, there’s nothing like a visit to the Mercado de Abastos food market, the second most visited place in the city. Here you can buy and taste seafood fresh from the rías, cheeses and Padrón peppers, or try the famous tapas. You can also feel the real atmosphere of Santiago on Calle Franco and Calle Raiña, in the heart of the old town, where locals and visitors have been enjoying tapas “since forever” and where you will find plenty of restaurants for trying octopus “a feira”, scallops, Santiago cake or wines like Albariño, considered one of the world’s best white wines.Beyond the winding streets and the stone mansions, the modern side of Santiago can be seen around the university area, in its art galleries, and above all in two places: the Galician Contemporary Art Centre and Cidade da Cultura by the New York architect Peter Eisenman, one of the most surprising examples of Galicia’s contemporary architecture.Many people say that taking the Way and arriving in Santiago is an adventure that can change your life. This city certainly seems capable of keeping you here.

Don’t miss it

What to visit

Select from the list or hover over the map to find out about points of interest.

What to do

Other ideas for your trip

Practical information

How to get there - transport information

Select the means of transport to see how to get there or how to get around at your destination.

How to get to aeroplane

  • Santiago Airport is 10 kilometres outside the city.

  • There are taxis and bus services between the airport and the city. The bus service runs from the airport to Plaza de Galicia, with stops at the Pazo de Congresos, Capilla San Lázaro and the bus and coach station.

  • Bus to the city centre: 30 minutes.

  • Car to the city centre: Approximately 15 minutes on the N-634.

  • More information

How to get to train

  • Trains run from Santiago de Compostela Railway Station to Madrid, San Sebastián, Hendaye and Barcelona.

  • You can also change trains to reach Bilbao, Portugal and Paris. Book tickets

  • The No. 6 bus from Plaza de Galicia goes to the station.

  • The Transcantábrico, a luxury tourist train, travels slowly through northern, Green Spain to Santiago de Compostela. More information

How to get to bus

  • Coaches run from Santiago de Compostela bus and coach station to countries including Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Romania.

  • Coaches also leave every hour for other towns in Galicia, like Vigo, Pontevedra and A Coruña.

How to get there by road

  • The A-6 and A-52 motorways connect Galicia to the rest of Spain and link to Santiago via the AP-9.

  • The A-8 motorway connects Galicia and France via the Cantabrian coast.

How to get around in bus

  • Over 20 city bus routes connect every part of the city. More information.

  • The No. 5 bus from Plaza de Galicia goes to the coach and bus station.

How to get around in train

  • The tourist train (actually a type of bus) starts from Plaza del Obradoiro and tours the whole historic quarter.

  • More information

How to get around in other means of transport

  • By taxi. Find information here on how to contact the 24-hour teletaxi service.

  • Vehicle rental.