Things to do in Santiago de Compostela

About Santiago de Compostela

Must-see attractions include the iconic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of St. James and a masterpiece of Romanesque art. Exploring the historical old town, with its labyrinthine streets, and admiring the architecture around Plaza del Obradoiro are also essential experiences.
Engage in interactive learning at the Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago, take a stroll and enjoy a picnic in the peaceful Alameda Park, and be amazed by the traditional puppetry at the Titeres Museum, which are among the best Santiago de Compostela activities for families.
Immerse in the scenic beauty of Galicia by walking the Camino de Santiago routes surrounding the city, relax in the verdant Santo Domingo de Bonaval Park, and discover the historic Convent of San Francisco gardens.
The best indoor activities include delving into the city's history at the Cathedral Museum, exploring contemporary art at the CGAC, and sampling regional specialties at the bustling Mercado de Abastos.
Top tours in Santiago de Compostela feature guided explorations of the Cathedral and its treasury, historical walking tours through the old town, and gourmet food and wine tastings that highlight Galician cuisine.
The most visited museums are the Cathedral Museum, with its religious artifacts and tapestries; the Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago, offering insights into the city's connection to the Camino; and the CGAC, showcasing modern artistic expressions.
For rainy days, consider indoor tours like the immersive experience at the Museum of Pilgrimage and Santiago, exploring the diverse exhibits at the Galician Centre of Contemporary Art, or discovering the region's history at the Museum do Pobo Galego.
Short tours in Santiago de Compostela that fit into an hour include comprehensive audio-guided visits to the Cathedral's interior, thematic city discovery games, and quick culinary tastings at local markets or specialty shops.

Best Things to Do In Santiago de Compostela

Embark on a journey through historical splendor and cultural enchantment with Santiago de Compostela's highlights.

Santiago de Compostela: Museo do Pobo Galego

What is it?
A museum dedicated to Galician people's culture, history, and art.
Why you should go?
Housed in the former Convent of Santo Domingo de Bonaval, the Museo do Pobo Galego offers an in-depth look at the cultural heritage of Galicia. The displays of traditional costumes, crafts, and customs alongside the museum's signature triple spiral staircase are not to be missed. This institution provides an unforgettable experience that encapsulates what to see in Santiago de Compostela, resonating with those eager to understand local traditions and Galician spirit.

Santiago de Compostela: City of Culture of Galicia

What is it?
An avant-garde cultural center with striking architecture on Mount Gaiás.
Why you should go?
As a dazzling beacon of modern design and cultural innovation, the City of Culture of Galicia presents a fascinating juxtaposition to Santiago de Compostela's ancient roots. This expansive, state-of-the-art complex captivates visitors with its exhibitions, performing arts events, and stunning panoramic views. For an experience that seamlessly blends the past and future, this attraction stands out among best Santiago de Compostela tours for visitors of all interests.

Santiago de Compostela: Plaza de la Quintana

What is it?
A historic plaza located behind Santiago Cathedral, steeped in history and charm.
Why you should go?
Plaza de la Quintana is a place of profound historical significance and beauty, where cobblestone pavements echo with the footsteps of countless pilgrims. The adjoining Holy Door, only opened during Holy Years, adds to its mystique. Whether attending evening events or simply enjoying the tranquil atmosphere, the plaza presents incredible things to do in Santiago de Compostela, complementing the city's rich tapestry.

Santiago de Compostela: Rúa do Franco

What is it?
A lively street known for its traditional Galician taverns and restaurants.
Why you should go?
For a true taste of local life, Rúa do Franco offers an artery of culinary delight and social vivacity. It's revered as the go-to spot for sampling regional gastronomy, with taverns and restaurants serving up classic dishes like pulpo a feira (octopus). A stroll here promises not only a feast for the senses but also a jovial atmosphere that encapsulates fun things to do in Santiago de Compostela.

Santiago de Compostela: Santo Domingo de Bonaval Park

What is it?
A picturesque and historic park adjacent to the Museo do Pobo Galego.
Why you should go?
This green haven offers a peaceful respite from the city's bustle, with panoramic views and paths winding through rich flora. The park, once part of the convent grounds, now serves as a tranquil setting for relaxation and reflection. The blend of nature, history, and art makes it an essential component of Santiago de Compostela excursions for visitors seeking serenity amidst the city's vibrant tapestry of attractions.

Santiago de Compostela: Parador de los Reyes Católicos

What is it?
A historic hotel formerly a royal hospital situated near the cathedral.
Why you should go?
Considered to be the oldest hotel in the world, Parador de los Reyes Católicos offers more than luxury accommodation—it's an immersion into Spain's history. Built in 1499, visitors can explore its four cloisters, elegant rooms, and a chapel. Exquisite dining options provide tastes of traditional Galician cuisine. A tour here represents a confluence of royal history, architectural beauty, and hospitality, making it a pinnacle among Santiago de Compostela activities.

Santiago de Compostela: Monasterio de San Martiño Pinario

What is it?
A monumental Benedictine monastery with a rich baroque facade.
Why you should go?
The Monasterio de San Martiño Pinario holds an imposing presence in Santiago de Compostela. As the second largest monastery in Spain, its grandiose architecture and sacred art draw visitors into the depths of religious and cultural history. The monastery also provides unique accommodations, allowing guests to stay on historical grounds. Explorers of places to visit in Santiago de Compostela find this gem a captivating blend of spirituality and artistry.

Santiago de Compostela: Cidade da Cultura de Galicia

What is it?
A contemporary architectural complex dedicated to Galician culture.
Why you should go?
Nestled atop Mount Gaiás, the Cidade da Cultura de Galicia stands as a stark modern contrast against the ancient cityscape. This futuristic ensemble of buildings by architect Peter Eisenman hosts exhibitions, libraries, and performance spaces. Engaging in the best Santiago de Compostela tours often includes visiting this icon of innovation, where visitors can participate in workshops, enjoy scenic views, and understand Galicia's commitment to preserving its future as much as its past.

Santiago de Compostela: Praza do Obradoiro

What is it?
The grand central square surrounded by historic buildings, including the Cathedral.
Why you should go?
Praza do Obradoiro is the beating heart of Santiago de Compostela, a monumental square enveloped by emblematic structures like the Cathedral, Hostal dos Reis Católicos, and Pazo de Raxoi. It's a place where all the roads on the Camino de Santiago converge, offering breathtaking views and a sense of camaraderie among travelers. Here, history comes alive, making it an essential stop for first-time visitors looking for what to do in Santiago de Compostela.

Santiago de Compostela: Monte do Gozo

What is it?
A hill providing pilgrims the first view of the Cathedral spires on the Camino.
Why you should go?
Monte do Gozo, or 'Mount of Joy,' is the point where pilgrims have historically caught their first glimpse of Santiago de Compostela's Cathedral, marking the emotional culmination of their journey. Apart from its profound spiritual significance, the site offers commanding views of the city and has a park with monuments commemorating the pilgrimage. This landmark is a must in Santiago de Compostela excursions, capturing the joy and anticipation that has welcomed travelers for centuries.

TOP-5 tours in Santiago de Compostela for first time visitors

  • Uncover the spiritual aura of the ancient pilgrimage site, delving into the rich narratives and architectural marvels that define things to see in Santiago de Compostela.
  • Wander through the quaint streets, discovering the vibrant market life and local traditions that make up the best things to do in Santiago de Compostela for cultural enthusiasts.
  • Relish in the fun things to do in Santiago de Compostela, from engaging with the city's festive atmosphere to exploring its lush green parks, perfect for leisurely afternoon strolls.
  • Persist on a quest of discovery through the museums and galleries that vividly chronicle the lore and artistry of the city, a must-do among what to do in Santiago de Compostela.
  • Indulge in a unique opportunity for gastronomic exploration, tasting the local Galician cuisine, and learning about the culinary heritage central to Santiago de Compostela activities.

Fun things to do in Santiago de Compostela with kids

Exploring Santiago de Compostela with little ones in tow promises a blend of education and entertainment. First, the Galician People's Museum (Museo do Pobo Galego) provides an interactive environment where kids can learn about local history and culture through engaging exhibits, including traditional music and crafts. The museum, housed in a picturesque convent, also offers workshops geared towards families, ensuring a hands-on experience. Next, the Alameda Park is perfect for a family picnic and a leisure stroll among ancient trees, sculptures, and a playground for the kids to expend their energy. For an imaginative retreat, the park's proximity to the historical center allows for spontaneous exploration. Lastly, the City of Culture of Galicia, with its futuristic buildings and vast open spaces, often hosts family-friendly events and workshops. Children can participate in art initiatives or revel in outdoor activities, making it one of the most enjoyable Santiago de Compostela activities for families.

Things to do in Santiago de Compostela with family

Discover an array of activities suitable for all ages in Santiago de Compostela, a city that blends its rich historical tapestry with family fun. Engage in a journey through time at the Cidade da Cultura, a stunning example of contemporary architecture that offers a wealth of cultural events, exhibits, and creative workshops perfect for a familial outing. For those in search of natural spaces, Santiago's Alameda Park is a verdant escape. Families can meander along its shaded paths, appreciate the variety of statues and monuments, or simply enjoy a leisurely picnic. Another gem is the Mercado de Abastos de Santiago, the city's bustling market where families can explore local gastronomy. Children will be fascinated by the fresh produce and seafood, while parents sample regional specialties, making it one of the places to visit in Santiago de Compostela that delights every sense. These destinations offer a fulfilling and educational experience for families exploring the city.

Free things to do in Santiago de Compostela

Experiencing the cultural wealth of Santiago de Compostela doesn't have to come with a price tag. A visit to the iconic Cathedral of Santiago, the city's most famous landmark, is a must. Discover the majestic beauty of this pilgrimage site with free entry, and delve into its historical significance. Marvel at the intricate facade, explore the grand interior, and immerse in the reverent atmosphere. Another highlight is strolling through the Alameda Park, an ideal setting for leisurely walks amidst ancient oak trees that frame picturesque views of the cathedral and city skyline. Lastly, meander through the old town's winding cobblestoned streets, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The area radiates with medieval charm, offering architectural discoveries at every turn. Immerse yourself in the city's vibrant history and ambiance without spending a cent, making these attractions some of the top things to do in Santiago de Compostela.

Cheap things to do in Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is a city that caters to the thrifty traveler without compromising on the richness of experience. Begin with the renowned "Mercado de Abastos," where the vibrant market life comes at no entry cost. Visitors can observe local trade practices, enjoy free samples of Galician delicacies, and soak in the authentic market atmosphere. Additionally, many of Santiago de Compostela's illustrious landmarks offer specific days or hours for free entry, such as the contemporary "Museum of Galician People," where visitors can gain insight into the region's culture and history. Lastly, immerse in the city's natural beauty at "Santo Domingo de Bonaval Park," a lush green space adjacent to the historical museum that offers a tranquil escape and splendid views without any fees. These budget-friendly Santiago de Compostela activities ensure an enriching visit while keeping expenses to a minimum.

Things to do in Santiago de Compostela for couples

Santiago de Compostela offers romantic and memorable experiences for couples. A hand-in-hand stroll through the storied Alameda Park allows partners to witness spectacular views of the Cathedral, intertwined with the park’s botanical wonders and sculptural art. Indulge in the intimate atmosphere and witness a golden sunset for an unforgettable moment. For a taste of the city's culture, the intimate setting of the Hostal dos Reis Católicos, originally a Royal Hospital and now a luxurious parador, presents an opportunity to dine in what was once a place of solace for pilgrims. Immerse yourselves in the historical aura while enjoying a gourmet meal in one of Santiago's most exquisite architectural marvels. Lastly, embarking on a journey to the top of Monte Pedroso as part of Santiago de Compostela activities for couples provides an awe-inspiring panorama. Reach the summit together and envelop yourselves in the sweeping vistas of the city below—a reminder of the shared adventure that travel brings.

Things to do in Santiago de Compostela at night

As twilight descends upon Santiago de Compostela, the city's historic streets come alive with a nocturnal charm that couples will find both enchanting and romantic. Begin the evening revelries with a leisurely stroll through the illuminated Old Town, where ancient stones of the buildings glow softly under the night sky. It's not only a photographer's dream but also a serene moment to embrace the city’s timeless spirit. Next, delve into the local culinary scene at a tapas bar along Rúa do Franco, where couples can indulge in Galician delicacies, fine wines, and the convivial atmosphere that characterizes Spanish nights. For an immersive cultural experience, check the schedule of Teatro Principal de Santiago, the city’s main theater. Attending a live performance, whether it’s music, dance, or drama, can be the high note of an evening spent in this vibrant cultural hub. These attractions round out a list of must-do activities in Santiago de Compostela at night, offering couples a blend of tranquility, taste, and tradition.