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Bucket list destination:

Santiago de Compostela

  • Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain

Last updated: 18 June, 2023
Expert travel writer: Dana Facaros

The beautiful granite city at the end of the Camino is one of Europe’s original tourist destinations.

Along with one of the greatest cathedrals in Spain, it has a historic centre so perfect it could be a film set, filled with the joyous atmosphere of a finish line as pilgrims from around the world relax after their journey.

It often rains, but this makes its granite buildings glisten, making them even more beautiful. There are art-filled churches and museums, great restaurants and bars, a university and outside the centre, a new City of Culture by Peter Eisenman to adore or deplore.

Tours, tickets & transfers


Our selection of the best Viator tours of this destination, plus helpful tickets and transfers

Old Town of Santiago de Compostela Walking Tour

    • Ticket to participate in a 2 hour walking activity through the main streets of Santiago de Compostela Old Town • Includes the main squares around the cathedral • Local places you won't find in tourist guides: Mercado de Abastos, narrow streets, hidden squares • The best views of the Cathedral from the Alameda Park.

    Price €1

    Min age 0

    Rating 4.66 / 5 [224 ratings]

    Tour supplied by:

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    Tapas Tour of Santiago de Compostela

      The best way to get to know a city is accompanied by a local guide who knows all the aspects of interest. Combining history, popular culture and part of the local gastronomy is the best way to experience a place. You can also meet people from different places and with different cultures, our tour is open, you can participate dynamically with questions and interacting with other people. Welcome to Santiago and on your way! :)

      Price €35

      Min age 12

      Rating 4.65 / 5 [95 ratings]

      Tour supplied by:

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      Website >

      Guided Tour of the Old Town with an Official Guide

        Enjoy this amazing tour with official guides to experience the city like a local, getting to know the fascinating history of Santiago, the beautiful squares around our Cathedral and the food market.

        Price €10

        Min age 0

        Rating 4.85 / 5 [81 ratings]

        Tour supplied by:

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        Website >

        Santiago de Compostela Private Walking Tour with Cathedral Ticket

          Explore Santiago de Compostela, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site, next to a local licensed tour guide. You will discover, explore and learn the history, legends and secrets of this wonderful city next to a local expert. This famous pilgrimage site in north-west Spain became a symbol in the Spanish Christians' struggle against Islam. Destroyed by the Muslims at the end of the 10th century, it was completely rebuilt in the following century. With its Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque buildings, the Old Town of Santiago is one of the world's most beautiful urban areas. The oldest monuments are grouped around the tomb of St James and the cathedral, which contains the remarkable Pórtico de la Gloria. Your guide will provide you with interesting historical and cultural insights into each landmark and help you discover hidden gems.

          Price €155

          Min age 0

          Rating 4.91 / 5 [23 ratings]

          Tour supplied by:

          Viator Logo
          Website >

          Travel advice

          When to go

          Unlike some destinations, Santiago stays open all year. The busiest season runs from Easter to October, when thousands of footsore but happy pilgrims arrive.  Crowds are biggest in July and August, especially for the feast day of St James, on 25 July, and especially if it’s a Holy Year (next ones are 2022 and 2027), when hotel and restaurant reservations can be hard to come by.

          Summers rarely get too hot, and winters temperatures rarely dip below freezing. The rainiest months are October through January, when the city deserves its nickname the ‘Urinal of Spain’! But even though you’ll need rain gear and it can get windy, winter is a great time to visit to feel more like a local than a tourist. April and May and September are probably the nicest months – the weather is good, and it’s not very crowded.

          Getting there and away

          Santiago’s airport is 15km east and linked to the centre and the town’s railway station every half hour by Empresa Trulusa buses. By taxi, the journey takes about 20 minutes, depending on the traffic.

          Santiago also has rail links to the other cities of northern Spain, with frequent trains from A Coruna and less frequently from Leon. Taxis in town are easy to find; many offer tours around the area as well.

          Getting around

          Although the suburbs sprawl in every direction, the historic centre – home to all the main sights, and mostly pedestrianised – is quite small, so walking is your best option. There are plenty of taxis if you need them.

          If you’re driving, leave your car in one of the large public parking garages on the fringes of the centre and walk into the city. The closest to the cathedral are Parking San Clemente Plaza del Obradoiro and Parking Xoan XXIII.

          Where to stay

          If it’s your first visit, try to stay in the historic centre or within walking distance of the sights, restaurants and bars. If you’re touring by car you might consider a hotel on the outskirts for the sake of the parking; there are several choices around the Parque de Domingos de Bonaval, a ten-minute walk to the Cathedral.  There are quite a few hotels out towards the convention centre 3km to the east, but don’t expect much in the way of atmosphere.

          Where to eat or drink

          Appropriately for a pilgrimage symbolised by a scallop shell, Santiago is famous for seafood. There are some great places specializing in it near the Mercado de Abastos, while pedestrianised Rua do Franco is lined with dozens of tapas bars as well as top-rated restaurants. The popular food court, the Mercado La Galiciana at Rua de Gomez Ulla, features international dishes (with a Galician touch), bars, and frequent live entertainment.