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Santiago De Compostela Will Mess With Your Senses

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Obradoiro Square

Plaza del Obradoiro is the monumental centre of Santiago de Compostela. Its Galician name seems to be derived from the workshops of the stonemasons that built the Cathedral´s baroque façade, which dominates the square and welcomes the thousands of pilgrims arriving via the Way of St. James.

The buildings enclosing the square are, as follows: the Cathedral; Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, a former pilgrim hospital that is now a national `Parador´; Colegio de San Xerome, which houses the university vice-chancellor´s office; and Palacio de Raxio, which houses Santiago City Council. They represent the Galician capital´s main centres of activity: religion, university education, accommodation for pilgrims and visitors, and the Administration.

Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos – Parador de Santiago

Construction on the Royal Hospital began in 1501 by order of the Catholic Monarchs, who had visited Santiago in 1486 and saw the need for better healthcare for residents and pilgrims.

The original installations –several rooms for patients divided according to sex and social class, collective dormitories for healthy pilgrims and a wing for abandoned children- were gradually extended to meet the city´s healthcare needs until 1954, when it became a National `Parador´. In memory of centuries of hospitality, the Hostal still gives a free breakfast, lunch and dinner to the first pilgrims that arrive each day.

It is nowadays converted to a 5* Hotel.


Palacio de Raxoi

This neoclassical building, which is called after the archbishop who founded it, finally enclosed the square in the 18th century; thereafter, the square´s name was changed from `Plaza del Hospital´ to `Plaza Mayor´. However, the building became Santiago City Council´s third town hall. Today, it also houses the Xunta de Galicia President´s Office.

Cathedral of Santiago

Santiago de Compostela´s Romanesque Cathedral is the fourth building erected on the site of the Apostle James´ mausoleum. The first chapel was built after the discovery of his relics in the 9th century, followed by a pre-Romanesque church that was destroyed in the year 997 by the invasion of the Moors led by Almanzor. A new basilica existed by the 11th century, but it was decided, in the year 1075, to erect a cathedral capable of housing the thousands of pilgrims visiting it. This is the present-day Cathedral, whose west side was completed by the masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture: the `Pórtico de la Gloria´.

Pórtico de la Gloria

Conceived as a portico or narthex of the Cathedral, the work sculptured by Maestro Mateo between 1168 and 1188 consists of three arches and more than 200 granite figures, which make up a theological message centred on the idea of salvation.

Inmaculada Square

This square is the last urban stretch of the French Route. All pilgrims arriving along this route enter this square through the so-called Puerta del Camino. For centuries, pilgrims took off their torn clothes and garments and washed themselves in the old “Fons Mirabilis” fountain, nowadays located in the cloister, upon their arrival and just before entering the cathedral; thus purified, the pilgrims were ready to receive God and become new men.

Monastery of San Martín Pinario

This Monastery was founded in the ninth century by a group of Benedictine monks who settled in the city after getting news of the discovery of St. James’ remains.

What you see today dates from the late-15th century, a powerful piece of baroque architecture, regarded as one of the most spectacular in Spain.

Step up to the choir to see the staggering detail of the wood-carving and admire the altarpieces by the 18th-century’s architect Fernando de Casas Novoa.

Quintana Square

"Quintana" is the same as "praça" and both words were used in the Middle Ages to define open spaces for public use.

The square is divided into two different levels. The lower one, called Quintana de Mortos (Quintana of the Dead), was a burial ground until 1780 when, for public health reasons and lack of space, it was replaced by the cemetery of San Domingos de Bonaval and, later on, by the present-day cemetery of Boisaca. The upper level is, on the other hand, called Quintana de Vivos (Quintana of the Living).

Praterías Square

The south square of the Cathedral, which owes its name to the goldsmiths' workshops located since the Middle Ages in the underside of the cloister, is dominated by the only Romanesque façade that the Cathedral preserves. It dates from the year 1078 or 1103 and was severely damaged during the popular uprisings against Archbishop Gelmírez, in the second decade of the 12th century, being reconstructed a few years later.


Rúa Nova

We can see more examples of `pazos´ or palaces by visiting Rúa Nova, which has been called `nueva´ (in Spanish) or `new´ for 800 years. In this regard, it is worth mentioning Casa das Pomas (baroque) and Pazo de Santa Cruz, from the 19th century, which are very close to two of Compostela´s cultural bastions: Teatro Principal, founded in 1841, and Salón Teatro.

Rúa do Vilar

At the beginning of the street called Rúa do Vilar and to our left, we’ll see the Casa del Dean. This 18th-century house-palace was originally conceived to accommodate bishops visiting the city and now houses the Santiago Cathedral Foundation. For more than 20 years, until the present-day Pilgrim Reception Centre was moved to Rúa Carretas, pilgrims from the different routes of the Way of St. James came here to receive the Compostela certificate, which certifies the Christian aspect of their pilgrimage.

O Toural Square

This square used to be the place to sell cattle and provide water. Its imposing houses with wrought iron balconies still feature, on their coats of arms and glazed balconies, a wide range of traditional Architecture of Compostela.

Mazarelos Arch

The Mazarelos Arch, at the right end of this square, is the only remaining gate from the former medieval wall. The old 11th-century fortification, which was 2-km long, was demolished in the 19th century since it no longer served its original defensive purpose.

Mercado de Abastos de Santiago

In any city, the marketplace is an example of its residents’ daily life. Here in Santiago, there are three different reasons for visiting the market: culture, gastronomy, and architecture. Traditional shopping customs and a face-to-face approach are still alive here, which is one of its main attractions.

During the Middle Ages, sellers occupied several squares in the city: Platerías, Azabachería and, especially, Cervantes. Towards the end of the 19th century, it was decided to concentrate this intense activity in the former gardens of the Count of Altamira.

Rúa do Franco

Rúa do Franco is the old town´s gastronomic street par excellence. Its restaurants continue the tradition of the medieval innkeepers who came here to cater to pilgrims (Franks, a term used to denote any pilgrim from beyond the Pyrenees, `free men´ or the `Frankish Nation´), after whom the street is called.

Alameda Park

Nowadays, we can walk anywhere in Alameda Park at any time, without any protocol, strolling along the Central Walkway, the Paseo de la Herradura, the Paseo de las Letras Gallegas, the oak grove and the Santa Susana chapel. All together they form the “most beautiful and noble park and walk in Spain” in the words of the Galician essay writer Otero Pedrayo.

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???? - Private tour.

✅ - Free Pick-up and Drop-off.

???? - Optional sightseeing stops along the way.

????️ - Certified Tour Driver.

????‍♂️  - English; French; Spanish or Portuguese Speaking drivers with local knowledge.

???? – Chauffer style with dress code.

ℹ️ - Local tips and information - Our friendly drivers are locals and are happy to share their insights or give tips on what to do at your destination.

???? - Free water bottles.

???? - Extra amenities.

???? - Free internet

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???? – Tips - Gratuity isn’t included or required, but if you really enjoyed your trip, you can show your driver your appreciation with an optional tip.

???? - Admissions to venues and attractions along the route.


⛈️ - Weather

Exact destinations and itineraries may be changed due to weather, road conditions and the guide’s discretion. If cancelled due to poor weather, a different date or a full refund will be offered. Please check our Terms and Conditions.

???? - Smoke free.

???? - Personal accident and liability insurance included.

???? - Luggage - Each passenger is allowed to have one checked bag and one carry on. If you’re traveling with more bags or oversized luggage, please inform us.

???? - Big luggage - 29x21x11 inches / 74x54x28 cm

???? - Small luggage - 22x14x9 inches / 56x36x23 cm

What do I need to bring?

????️???? - Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and sunscreen if it’s sunny or a raincoat and an umbrella if it’s raining.

???? - Don’t forget your camera!

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