Santiago de Compostela Cathedral © ReservasdeCoches
The small city of Santiago de Compostela is a big
destination for the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims that trek
there every year along The Way of St James. Santiago de Compostela
is located in the northwestern corner of Spain in the autonomous
community of Galicia and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage
While it represents the culmination of many a
spiritual journey, the town has a lot more to offer than just an
end point for pilgrims. The spectacular and awe-inspiring Roman
Catholic cathedral, and burial place of St James, in the centre of
town is a showstopper.
Other sights of interest throughout the small
Galician town include the Cathedral Museum, Pilgrimage Museum,
Museum of Galician People, Galician Centre of Contemporary Art, the
Praza do Obradoiro, the Rajoy Palace, and Praza de Quintana.
The cathedral's history is particularly interesting,
having passed from Christian to Moorish and back to Christian
occupation between 1060 and 1211. However, the grave of St James,
beneath the cathedral, remained untouched throughout this
The Cathedral Museum provides visitors with
interesting stories about the cathedral and cloisters, and the
Pilgrimage Museum provides a fascinating account of the history of
the Way of St James as well as maps of the various routes
The easiest way to get around Santiago de Compostela
is on foot. As thousands of pilgrims make their way to the central
cathedral, thousands more walk through the city getting to know its
streets and quaint alleyways lined with family-owned shops,
boutiques, and delicatessens.
Some of the best areas to walk and shop in Santiago
de Compostela are Zona Vella (the Old District), for exquisite
ceramic souvenirs, Zona Nova (the New District), for clothes and
other brand name items, and Area Central in Fontinas for more
fashion shops and grocery stores. The city has a cheap and
efficient bus service and taxis are also available, but they are
expensive and not really necessary.
Santiago de Compostela is ideal for visitors to Spain
who want to experience something different. It may not be off the
beaten track - in fact it is the culmination of thousands of
well-trodden paths - yet the town has retained an aura of
spirituality and mystique that can only enrich a Spanish tourist
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