Vigo is an often forgotten coastal city in the north of Spain.
Besides its walkable cultural centre, this city benefits from its
proximity to the beach, such as Playa del Vao and Playa de Samil. Vigo
is also the main getaway to the heavenly Illas Cíes, the remote islands
you can only access by boat.
The Old Town, also known as Casco
Vello, is the city’s heart, packed with lively bars and restaurants
serving delicious Galician dishes.
This Spanish city is
approximately 90km south of Santiago de Compostela and only 35km from
Portugal, allowing you to enjoy day trips across both regions. Discover
the best things to do in Vigo with our two-day itinerary, including tips
on where to eat and the best time to visit.
Start your tour of Vigo at Monte O Castro. Standing on this hill, you
can enjoy some of the finest views over the city. It’s divided into
different slopes: at the top, you’ll find a community park and an old
castle, known as Castelo O Castro; at the lower end, there's the
archaeological site of Yacimiento de O Castro which dates back to the
3rd and 1st centuries BC. The viewpoint is located at the highest slope,
near the castle. On a clear day, you can spot the Illas Cíes from here.
From O Castro, head to MARCO, Vigo’s Contemporary Art Museum. Founded in
2002, this museum is relatively recent, especially when compared to
others across Europe. It's housed in the former city prison and displays
a variety of temporary exhibits from both seasoned and up and coming
artists. Its primary goal is to celebrate modern art, working as one of
Vigo's cultural hubs.
The Afundación Social Centre
is the largest exhibition centre in the city. It's set inside Casa
Bárcena, an impressively restored building with a charming indoor
garden. A guided tour gives you access to the foundation’s art
collection. If you're visiting with kids, you can always take them to
Naturnova, an educational centre, where they can learn more about the
environment and the solar system.
old town is full of hidden gems. Begin your walk at the Praza Porta do
Sol, where you’ll find the sculpture of O Sereo, marking Vigo's
kilometre zero. After that, get lost in the picturesque narrow streets
Pass by Praza da Princesa and walk down to the sea until
you reach the O Berbés neighbourhood. This area was an old fishing town
and remains true to this tradition, as it now houses a fishing and naval
Other must-see attractions are the artisans and restaurants
streets. At Rúa dos Cesteiros (Basketmakers' Street), you’ll find a
street full of small artisan shops selling a variety of crafts, while
Rúa das Ostras (Oysters' Street) is the perfect place to try oysters,
one of the local specialities.
your tour of the old town at the Co-Cathedral of Santa María, also
known as A Co-Cathedral of Santa María Colexiata. Located near the A Pedra Market and Praza da
Constitución, this building easily stands out from the rest. The
Co-Cathedral was reconstructed over an old church and cemetery and
today it’s among the best Neoclassical buildings in Galicia. It also
features Baroque elements like the two towers standing outside the
aisles. Most people come here to see the statue of the Christ of
Victory, Vigo's most important religious symbol—so much so that there's
an honouring procession every year on the first Sunday of August.
a few minutes from the cathedral is the Ensanche district. This is the
area to go to if you want to know the city's most modern side. You’ll
find all kinds of leisure activities here including museums,
exhibitions, music, art galleries and numerous shops. Take a stroll
around the area and walk down to the Vigo Estuary, towards the Real Club
Marina. If you continue walking alongside the Marina, you’ll find the
shopping A Laxe on one side and the breakwater (and its lighthouse) on
the other. From here, you can witness one of the best sunsets in Vigo.
you want to taste the best seafood in Vigo, you must stop at Rúa
Pescadería, located close to the port. This street is packed with fish
and seafood restaurants and, particularly, the best ostreras (shuckers).
You can usually order oysters here between 10:30am and 3:30pm. Be sure
to also ask for a glass of Albariño wine, making it a traditional Vigo
On the outskirts of Vigo, you’ll find the Ermida da Nosa Señora da Guía.
The Baroque style of Santiago de Compostela inspired the construction
of this shrine, dedicated to Nosa Señora da Guía. The architect Manuel
Gómez Román designed the project in 1952, but this has been a religious
site since at least the 16th century.
It's also from here that you can reach
Illas Cíes, three of the world's best-preserved islands. To get there,
you can book a boat trip or rent a yacht in Vigo. The Cíes archipelago
has three islands: Monte Agudo, O Faro and San Martiño. The first two
are connected by a long sandy stretch that belongs to the Rodas Beach.
You can swim in its crystal waters and observe the wildlife that makes
Illas Cíes a part of the Atlantic Islands National Park. Among the
species you can spot here are the small dolphins known as arroaces. If
you're planning on sleeping on the islands, you have to bring a tent,
since only camping is allowed in the area.
and Vigo's connection to the sea is so deep and vital to the region's
culture, it's easy to understand why there’s a whole museum dedicated to
telling that story. The Museo do Mar de Galicia occupies the old canned
food factory of Alcabre-Molino de Viento. The building was renovated by
Aldo Rossi and César Portela and mixes traditional and modern elements.
It includes five restored bays, a quay, an aquarium and a lighthouse.
Inside, you’ll find all kinds of exhibitions mainly related to sea and
fishery, with a focus on marine preservation. The museum also has a
temporary exhibition hall, where you’ll find a recreation of the Rías
(Galician harbours) and a representation of a local Iron Age village,
known as Castro da Punta do Muiño do Vento.
the afternoon at one of Vigo’s beaches. Close to the Museo do Mar and
about 7km away from the city centre is Playa de Samil. This beach
extends for almost 1km and is surrounded by many facilities, like cafés,
restaurants, skate parks, playgrounds, basketball courts and three
saltwater pools. Further south is the Playa del Vao, which is much less
crowded. Both beaches have thin white sand bathed in crystal waters,
making them the ideal place to relax from it all.
the day at the Museo Quiñones de León. Housed in a stunning
17th-century house this museum is immersed in ponds, gardens and
fountains. Located in Parque Castrelos, it showcases exhibitions related
to archaeological remains found in the city (from the Palaeolithic to
the Middle Ages), as well as Galician artwork. The ground floor also
includes European paintings from the 17th to the 18th centuries. After
touring the building, it’s worth stepping outside for a walk in the
surrounding gardens, designed in 1890 by Jacinto de Matos, a Portuguese
landscape gardener. Here you can find the Sensory Garden, a unique
garden tour created for the visually impaired, where visitors are guided
by their tact and smell.
Pontevedra: Set alongside the Lérez River, Pontevedra
is full of lively tapas bars, cafés and shops. Located about half an
hour away from Vigo, it was Galicia's biggest city back in the 16th
century and an important port in the region. It was here that Columbus'
flagship, Santa María, was built and thanks to that, many locals believe
that he was, in fact, Spanish and not Genoese. Spend some time
exploring the city’s old town and then visit the picturesque village of
Combarro located nearby.
Santiago de Compostela: Santiago is the final stop for the thousands of
pilgrims that walk the Camino de Santiago every year. It’s also the
capital of the Galicia region, making it an exciting city to visit.
While you’re here, make sure to visit the cathedral and the local
monasteries. The city is about an hour’s drive from Vigo.
Guarda: A Guarda is another fishing town, where Río Miño flows into the
Atlantic. It’s worth visiting the harbour and trying fresh seafood at
one of the local restaurants. Other highlights include a hotel housed in
an old convent and the Casco Antiguo with its charming stone buildings.
Most visitors stop in A Guarda to see the Monte de Santa Trega, a hill
outside town occupied by ancient ruins.
Vigo is a great family destination. Kids will love exploring the Castro
Castle and the surrounding park, as well as the streets around the old
town. If you’re visiting in the summer, you can relax at one of the
city’s beaches or hop on a boat to the paradisiacal Illas Cies. You can
go for a swim here or enjoy a bit of snorkelling. Other family-friendly
attractions include the Naturnova, an education centre where kids can
learn more about the solar system and the environment, the Museo do Mar
and the Roman Villa of Toralla.
Don’t leave Vigo without a taste of its delicious oysters and seafood.
For this, you should head to Calle de las Ostras (Oyster's Street),
where restaurants specialise in this delicacy. Sprinkle them with lemon,
order a glass of Albariño wine, and you'll be good to go. Another dish
worth trying are the Mariscadas as they gather the best seafood in the
region in a platter, including lobster and crab. Local tapas are also
based around fish like chipirones (fried baby squids) or xoubas (little
sardines). Below are some of the best places to eat in Vigo where you
can sample these delicacies:
Maruja Limón: This
Michelin-starred restaurant is located close to the Vigo marina. It’s
run by chefs Inés Abril and Rafa Centeno. Together they cater a variety
of seasonal tasting menus. The dishes are a contemporary twist on
traditional local recipes.
O Portón: Expect loads of seafood
once you sit down at O Portón. Located at Rúa Pescadería, this
restaurant serves impressive platters filled with the city's most
delicious seafood, like clams, crabs and oysters.
Bar: This intimate restaurant serves traditional Galician food with a
twist. The restaurant frequently updates its chalkboard menu with daily
specials. Some of the highlights include the bream with vegetables and
sauce or the boneless rib meat with guacamole.
Asador Soriano is a 15-minute drive away from the city centre, but it’s
worth the visit. This farmhouse-style restaurant offers a rustic
interior with stone walls, exposed beams and a wood-fired oven. The
speciality here is the lechazo (roasted lamb).
Gran Hotel Nagari Boutique & Spa (5 stars): With a lavish spa
overlooking the Vigo River, this luxurious hotel immediately draws you
in. The rooms feature tall windows and silk furnishings. Some even come
with a private balcony over Plaza de la Alameda. Other facilities
include a restaurant and a rooftop with a swimming pool and a bar.
Pazo Los Escudos Hotel & Spa Resort (5 stars): Close to the Museo do Mar,
this hotel stands out with its castle-like exterior and luxurious
interior. This is the only five-star hotel in Vigo with a private beach.
Housed in a Galician country house it has chandeliers illuminating the
rooms and marble bathrooms. All the rooms include a hydromassage bath,
and some offer stunning views of the Vigo River. There’s also a spa with
an indoor pool, sauna, hammam and a gym.
Hotel NH Collection Vigo
(4 stars): This modern hotel benefits from its fabulous location, as
it's a walk away from the marina and the old town. The hotel occupies a
1900s building that has been restored and modernly decorated—with curved
ceilings and jacuzzis in some bathrooms. There’s also a restaurant
on-site serving delicious Galician dishes.
The best time to visit Vigo is when there's little to no chance of
rain, which means between July and September. The temperatures are
pleasant around this time with high-temperature averages around 21ºC.
This is also a great time to catch some of the city’s main festivities
including the Fiestas del Carmen or the Semana Grande.
La Reconquista: This festival happens every year on the 28th of
March. La Reconquista, or the Reconquest, honours those who tried to
tackle the French Napoleonic Forces—Vigo was the first city to expel
Napoleon's army out of Europe. Locals wear period costumes and gather
outside the old town re-enacting this 1809 battle. During the three-day
festival, you’ll also find food stalls selling delicious local
delicacies such as empanadas (fried pastry filled with meat, fish or
seafood), crabs, mussels, liquors and wines.
Fiesta de los Mayos: To celebrate spring’s arrival Vigo hosts the
Fiestas de los Mayos, an ancient festival that dates back to the
Neolithic period. Maios are floral motifs put across Christian crosses,
either carried or displayed on the floor. The celebrations are a
reminder of a time when farmers used to ask the gods for good crops and
fertile land. It's celebrated with music and poetry throughout the
Fiestas del Carmen: The Virgin Carmen is Vigo's patron saint of
sailors. On the 16th of July, the city hosts a party to honour her with
processions on both land and sea. People decorate boats with flowers and
flags to kick off this special and unique celebration.
Fiestas de Bouzas: On the second fortnight of July, Vigo welcomes
the Fiestas de Bouzas, a five-day festival renowned for its spectacular
fireworks. The celebration honours Christ of the Afflicted. And, like
all celebrations, it wouldn’t be complete without lively food stands and
street bars. Traditional dances also happen in every corner as people
wait for the fireworks.
Vigo Festival (Semana Grande): This is the biggest traditional
festival in Vigo celebrated in the first week of August, with concerts
all around. The event’s highlight is the procession of the Christ of the
Victory when thousands of people accompany the figure to the Church of