Plaza de las Platerías

The heart of Galicia: Seven ideas for discovering art, history and nature in and around Santiago de Compostela

Now the institutional capital of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela was for many centuries also the spiritual capital for pilgrims from all over Europe, sometimes even before Rome. This prominence has made the legacy of Santiago de Compostela all the more impressive, not only in the city, but also in the surrounding area.

In this article we reveal what you can see and do if you hire a vehicle in Santiago de Compostela. Actually, you can hire one from us there! Find our OK Rent a Car office in Santiago de Compostela and get going!

Admire Santiago Cathedral

Santiago de Compostela Cathedral is one of the most important temples in Europe. Although it was built in the Romanesque style, its interior and façade show traces of all the artistic styles that it has lived through in its long history. Of particular note is the Pórtico de la Gloria doorway, which is considered one of the most important examples of medieval sculpture in the world. Yet the most spectacular part to behold goes on inside: going to a mass with pilgrims and watching the famous botafumeiro incense burner is one of those things you have to see at least once in your life.

Catedral de Santiago de Compostela

Time travel in the Plaza de las Platerías

Plaza de las Platerías is the square on the south side of the Cathedral, where you can admire the building’s only Romanesque entrance. It is a popular and often photographed spot, with the age of the monuments taking visitors on a real trip back in time. The fountain in the square, known as the Fuente de los Caballos because of its four horses, provides the timeless touch that is so characteristic of this city space.

Plaza de las Platerías

Wandering down Rúa do Vilar

Rúa do Vilar is Santiago de Compostela’s traditional shopping street. This trading tradition can be seen from its famous colonnades, constructed for buyers and sellers to take shelter from the Galician city’s frequent rain. Its commercial role has endured to the present and you can still find jewellery and clothes shops, bookshops and cafés.

Rua do Vilar

Relax in the Alameda Park

The Alameda Park is one of the most pleasant areas of Santiago de Compostela. Set out in the 19th century, it extends out and around the old quarters with some amazing views of the main façade of the Cathedral. Wandering through it is a real pleasure given its numerous trees, flowerbeds, fountains and ponds.

Parque de la Alameda

Discover Galician products in the Mercado de Abastos

If Galicia is known for anything, it is as a land of good food and produce and the Mercado de Abastos market is an extraordinary place to discover this. Established in 1873, it offers a vast range of produce, from fruit and vegetables to seafood, fish and the famous Galician cheese, all at very reasonable prices. In the heart of the city, if you like eating and especially like knowing the most popular and authentic side to Santiago, you’ll have to pay it a visit.

Mercado de Abastos

Try Tarta de Santiago

Santiago’s typical dessert is a cake made from almonds, sugar and eggs which usually contains a little butter or lard. In flavour it is very similar to a frangipane or Bakewell tart. However, Tarta de Santiago can always be recognised by the famous Cross of St James which is reverse stencilled on the top in icing sugar. There is also another thing that sets it apart: some like to eat it with a dash of pomace brandy!

Tarta de Santiago

Visit the ‘End of the World’

Or, at least what was considered the end of the world: Finisterre. Its very name indicates it: Finisterre comes from Finis Terrae, which in Latin means Land’s End. Hiring a car with OK Rent a Car you can get to this emblematic place in under an hour. Don’t hold back, spectacular Galician landscapes and the ever-rough Atlantic await you.

Finisterre

Photos: Photos: Turismo de Santiago; Wikipedia; Pixabay

 

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