Getting to Santiago is an exercise in willpower, vitality and energy that consumes you during the walk to the desired location. However, when you finish the route, already in the Galician capital, you may feel a sense of emptiness, not knowing what to do. Therefore, in this article, the Portuguese Way of Saint James gives you 8 suggestions on what to do when you arrive in Santiago de Compostela in 2023.
What to do when you arrive in Santiago is the question on many pilgrims’ minds when they realize they have reached the long-awaited city. There is so much choice that it can sometimes feel overwhelming. Why not start by taking advantage of this historic site to:
- Strolling through the streets of the old city.
You’ll have to pass through them to get to the cathedral, so why not take advantage of them for a while? All these little alleys tell a story of this ancient territory. Here, time has not yet completely passed. So the houses make you imagine all the generations that have lived here and made this territory.
Divided between ancient museums, churches and other monuments, here also sprinkle picturesque cafés, perfect for resting your feet.
San Pedro Street
Rue de San Pedro welcomes pilgrims on the French Way. However, it is also the most discreet in terms of tourism. So you can stroll at your leisure in this area, where culture lives hand in hand with local commerce.
This alley is difficult for those crossing the city by car, as it is narrow and mostly pedestrianized. However, you can cross the entire historic center through it, getting to know the real Santiago de Compostela.
If you look at the top of the fountain, you will find the most famous Spanish writer. Today, it looks rather small, but it was once the center of Santiago de Compostela. Here, it was the town hall, a trading forum and even a place for executions.
- Going to eat something
After all, we are in the Iberian Peninsula and that means that you can eat well in any restaurant you find. It’s no different in Santiago de Compostela, as there are plenty of restaurants to rest from the long walk you’ve just done. Next comes the moment most awaited by pilgrims:
A little further away from the historic center. It is perfect for people who are visiting the sights of the city. Cheap, with a delicious pilgrim menu, fast service, and a friendly space that few people know about.
San Clemente Restaurant
For seafood lovers, there is no better option than this Galician treasure. This area is also known for its octopus, so you should try this local specialty when you can.
The best tapas and snack restaurant in Santiago de Compostela. Hidden in the Pescadería Vella Square, it is one of those places where you can have the nights that create memories. To try and experience.
- See the art of compatriot Siza Vieira
With a last name appropriate to this website, the Portuguese architect has several works throughout the landscape of the Camino de Santiago. From the pedestrian area in Leça da Palmeira to the Boa Nova Tea House in Santiago, there are 3 examples, for those who like this art. The Galician Contemporary Art Center, the Faculty of Communication Sciences and, of course, the Santo Domingo de Bonaval park. Which, by the way, is exactly where you are going now.
- Taking a stroll through the Abastos Market
It is the second most visited place in the city after the cathedral. It is exactly what the name implies, a market. A place where you can stroll around and enjoy the sights, bargain with the merchants and feel like you’re shopping in another era, another time. Here, you can also buy the food that the best restaurants in the region use for their dishes.
- Buy souvenirs for the family
In the Abastos market or any other area of Santiago de Compostela, you can buy souvenirs for yourself or for family and friends. With stores totally dedicated to this type of commerce, this is the place to buy that magnet for the fridge, a tile with the yellow arrow or a map so you don’t get lost on the way back.
- Visit the museums
This city is not only the political and spiritual center of Galicia, it is also a cultural center of excellence throughout the Iberian Peninsula. In the cathedral, for example, you can visit all the museums for just €15. The other museums, from the Museum of the Galician People to the Museums of Pilgrimages to Santiago, have different prices for each age group. It’s a case of seeing which one suits you best!
- Take a walk in the alameda park
However, if you prefer to relax, you can choose to take advantage of the park on the boulevard. The large green lung of the city is perfect for a siesta, an impromptu picnic or simply lying on the grass reading a book. In a sea of options, few of them are bad.
- Continuar até ao fim do mundo
Arriving in Santiago does not mean the end of the Camino. Although this is the goal of many pilgrims, the walk is a constant and you can always go on to Finisterre. This is a different route, so much so that you can find a marker with kilometer zero, also in this area. Now, what to do when you arrive is up to you.
What to do in 2023 when you arrive in the Capital of Galicia?
Now that you have these ideas of what to do when you arrive in Santiago de Compostela, you can enjoy the city more in 2023. If you get the chance, rest in this shrine of memory to Jesus’ apostle and enjoy everything you’ve achieved so far.
Let us know what your experience was like in the city in the comments!