What to do and see in Santiago de Compostela, Spain: The Best Places and Tips

July 27, 2017 Leida Jutras

If you see nothing else in this World Heritage city, you simply must visit the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, an awe-inspiring confection of baroque architecture. Once you’ve regained composure, head out on a bicycle to see the rest of this glorious city. Foodies and boozehounds will delight in a guided gastronomy tour, while modernists will enjoy the Galician Center of Contemporary Art.
Restaurants in Santiago de Compostela

1. Santiago de Compostela. Casco Historico

Santiago de Compostela - Provincia de a Coruna - Galicia - Espana, 15704, Santiago de Compostela, Spain +34 693 72 98 54
Excellent
71%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Santiago de Compostela. Casco Historico

Reviewed By Manuela L - Luxembourg City, Luxembourg

The centro historico of old Santiago is a nice place to stroll around, the nice old streets, old palazzos, the palace of Rajoy, who is now communal administration with his sculpture Saint Jacques, in the sud the college of Jeromino, the many church and cloitre and the episcopal palace, all is a great discover in Casco Historico.

2. Botafumeiro

Praza Inmaculada s/n, 15704, Santiago de Compostela, Spain +34 690 34 01 80
Excellent
78%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Botafumeiro

Reviewed By Kathleen M - Williamstown, Massachusetts

We attended a pilgrim's mass at the Cathedral - and took seats at 10:30 for the noon mass in order to be right by the Botafumiero's path in the event that they swung it (which is not always the case). Luckily for us, it swung, and watching the men fill it with smoking incense and then send it on its amazing journey back and forth - faster and faster and higher and higher - was incredible and unforgettable. Get there early - and keep in mind that you can't stand or sit between the pews of the transepts and the altar railing - you will get moved before the mass starts and by then you won't be able to find a good place. Take a book to pass the time and settle in for a great experience - whether the botafumiero swings or not, the mass is worth it.

3. Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Praza Obradoiro S/N, 15704, Santiago de Compostela, Spain 0981 583 548
Excellent
73%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 8 reviews

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Reviewed By Jose A - Porto, Portugal

It deserves a visit. Plan your visit to see the botafumeiro. A shame that the renovation is taking so much time.

4. Plaza del Obradoiro

Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Excellent
66%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Plaza del Obradoiro

Large, pleasant city plaza containing the church of St. James.

Reviewed By mambaAthens - Nea Makri, Greece

Just opposite the Cathedral you will find that square with a nice view the Mountains of Santiago and of course the Cathedral.

5. Santo Domingo de Bonaval Park

Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Excellent
63%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 168 reviews

Santo Domingo de Bonaval Park

Reviewed By Marassa - Moscow, Russia

Frankly, can't see what others find here. Didn't notice any particular beauty in those random trees on a slope and a boring vacated cemetery. Probably have just seen too many really beautifully designed and maintained parks/gardens (and Cemeteries while we are at it).

6. Plaza de la Quintana

15074, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Excellent
62%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 165 reviews

Plaza de la Quintana

Reviewed By CFofLL - Fredericton, Canada

Plaza de la Quintana is located just behind the Cathedral and is smaller and less crowded than the Plaza del Obradoiro. As the main entrance of the Cathedral is under restoration, you enter the Cathedral from side doors just behind the spire. The stairs would be great to sit on and watch the world go by, and there are shops, cafe's and bars nearby.

7. Monasterio de San Martin Pinario

Praza San Martino S/n, 15704, Santiago de Compostela, Spain +34 981 56 02 82
Excellent
58%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 450 reviews

Monasterio de San Martin Pinario

Reviewed By JRBEIRE - Dublin, Ireland

We (2 adults, 2 kids) stayed in a hotel just passed this monastery, and walked in and out of the city 'proper' past the main door several times every day. Each time, thinking we would like to pop in for a few minutes and have a look around.
When we finally did 'pop' in..... we spent well over an hour looking around. We hadn't realised how interesting this place really was.
Very reasonable entry fee (€3 per adult, kids free), beautiful chapels, religious art and amazing choir area - all standard and as expected.
BUT go upstairs, see the details of the reconstruction work, the photographs of the 'before' choir area. Look down on the alter from above (if you are brave enough.... just look what's holding the balconies up and you might change our mind!) See the dome over a side church up close, before heading back downstairs and seeing a different angle. Look at the jewelled crucifixes and the various 'relics' which enthralled and entranced my kids in equal measure!
I fully expected to go in here and have a quick trot around before my kids starting complaining about being hungry/ bored/ need the bathroom, but there was so much to see that I nearly had to bribe them to get them out.
Yes the Cathedral is the main draw. But here there are no loudspeakers telling you to be quiet, no one telling you to get out as mass is about to begin, no crowds milling around. Instead you are naturally awestruck, and reduced to a whisper. You are genuinely amazed by the alter and the intricacies of the artwork and intrigued by the displays upstairs.
Don't miss this. An absolute must. Do not miss.

8. Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos

Plaza del Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela, Spain +34 981 58 22 00
Excellent
67%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 570 reviews

Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos

Reviewed By jeschacht - St Louis MO

This was our only stay in a Paradore so we have no comparison but we found the location perfect for exploring Santiago de Compostela. The room #122, was charming with lots of old world character and very quiet and spotlessly clean.

9. Portico de la Gloria

Plaza del Obradorio | Santiago de Compostela, 15704, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Excellent
71%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 343 reviews

Portico de la Gloria

Reviewed By Nathalie R

Arrive at the Portico after walking the Camino.... Observe the feelings that will fill your heart and soul.... Just by getting there... kneeling and making your first prayer at the Cathedral... All your aches itches pains, strained muscles, resulting from the Camino will just vanish... as if they never existed... all those pains will be forgotten... Getting to the Portico de la Gloria will definitely make you feel that it was definitely worth it.... I personally felt that if Heaven was like that... I would definitely want to go there, would make every earthly effort possible to be allowed in it.... I felt I was indeed in heaven... and I never wanted to leave.... I will come again...

10. Mirador Parque da Alameda

Parque da Alameda | Paseo da Ferradura, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Excellent
50%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 544 reviews

Mirador Parque da Alameda

Reviewed By JElliot32 - New South Wales, Australia

There is not much in the way of greenery in Santiago's old city, which makes the Alameda a very pleasant getaway. It is located just outside the old city - five minutes walk at most - and is a quite sizeable park, allowing space for a stroll or even a jog. It is quite elevated and a couple of spots offer excellent views back to the Cathedral. The park contains lawns, garden beds, some impressive statues, benches and plenty of mature trees including three or four massive Eucalypts, plus a pond featuring a couple of Black Swans, an unlikely and unexpected reminders of home to an Australian.

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