14 Exquisite Things To Do In Santiago de Compostela

Are you looking for a way to experience Spanish culture, history, and religious traditions? Then look no further than Santiago de Compostela! Stunningly located in northwest Spain near the Atlantic coast and on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, this city has much to offer any eager traveler. 

From noble churches overflowing with baroque art treasure troves to bourgeois residences turned stylish boutique hotels, as well as breathtaking coastal landscapes only a stone’s throw away, there are endless things to do in Santiago de Compostela just waiting to be experienced. 

Whether indulging yourself in traditional tapas bars overlooking cobblestoned streets or relaxing at sacred sites owned by ancient pilgrims, this charming town will surely provide an unforgettable holiday!

This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclosure here.

Things To Do In Santiago de Compostela

Gawk At Catedral de Santiago

Catedral de Santiago on a sunny day one of the things to do in Santiago de Compostela.
Catedral de Santiago

One of the top things to do in Santiago de Compostela is visiting Catedral de Santiago. This is the burial place of St. James and is located in the heart of town. The cathedral features Roman, Gothic, and Baroque architecture and additions that make it one-of-a-kind. Here you can find the famous ‘Botafumeiro’, which is a massive thurible that swings through the center of the church, filling the air with incense.

Enjoy day trips? Consider taking a day trip to Porto during your visit.

Enjoy Colegiata de Santa Maria del Sar

Colegiata de Santa María del Sar is situated just outside the city center and is a hidden gem of Romanesque architecture. Its unique façade and peaceful surroundings make it the perfect place to combine touring with relaxing.

Visit Hostal de los Reyes Católicos

Hospital de los Reyes Católicos is a former hospital that is now a Parador hotel filled with years of history. It has a stunning interior courtyard and antique furniture that will transport you to a different era making it one of the best things to do in Santiago de Compostela. As if this wasn’t enough, the place has excellent gourmet dining options that we highly recommend you try out.

Relax At Parque de la Alameda

Parque de la Alameda one of the places to visit in Santiago de Compostela.
Parque de la Alameda

Parque de la Alameda is one of the things to do in Santiago de Compostela to unwind. It’s a breathtaking park that offers a haven of tranquility paired with lush greenery and exquisite gardens. Spend some time walking and connecting with nature, or if you’re anything like us, take your favorite book and find a cozy tree to read under. 

Related Post: Tasty Porto Food Guide

Experience Mercado de Abastos

Mercado de Abastos is the city’s central market that has an incredible variety of fresh produce, seafood, meats, cheese, and other local delights. This is the perfect place to chat with local vendors and try some delicious food while strolling through the different stalls.

Visit Old Town

Santiago’s Old Town is a must-visit, including its tall architectural wonders, and hidden squares that add a touch of mystery to this historic gem. Spend time walking and exploring the center while taking extraordinary pictures.

Stroll Plaza del Obradoiro

Plaza del Obradoiro is the main square of Santiago de Compostela that draws both locals and tourists. It is surrounded by majestic buildings filled with historical significance and stunning architecture. Feel free to spend as much time as you want here, admiring the view and connecting with yourself.

Get Cultured A Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea

The Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea (CGAC) is a contemporary art center that showcases unique exhibitions and installations by national and international artists. It is the perfect activity to learn about art and explore rising artists. 

Visit Casa do Cabildo

Casa do Cabildo is one of the Santiago de Compostela activities that’s a true gem. This is a tuning 18th-century building with an incredible façade that serves as a tourist office today. It houses fascinating exhibitions that shed light on the city’s rich heritage, perfect for acquiring some knowledge during your trip.

Eat Lots Of Seafood

 One of the best things to do in Santiago de Compostela is to tantalize your tastebuds with their incredible seafood. From fresh octopus to buttery scallops, there are many different options we recommend you try out. Plus, it is a great way to discover new dishes that locals can teach you how to cook and prepare at home.

Related Post: Azulejos in Porto

Day Trip To Noia

Noia is an enchanting town one of the best Santiago de Compostela day trips. It features medieval streets, charming churches as well as a waterfront straight out of a postcard. Make sure to explore the local market and chat with local vendors.

Explore Praza da Quintana

Praza da Quintana is known for its architectural splendor and is home to Portico da Gloria, a true masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture. It also serves as the gateway to the Cathedral’s Holy Door during the Holy Years.

Try Galician Drinks

Galicia has incredible drinks you have to try out while in Santiago, including some of the region’s famous white wines like Albariño and Ribeiro, as well as the traditional Galician punch known as Queimada. It is made with spirits, sugar, lemon peel, and coffee beans, and it was used in many ceremonial rituals.

Day Trip to Valença

Another one of the many Santiago de Compostela day trips to consider is Valença. Portugal’s town of Valença features medieval streets and well-preserved fortifications, apart from its unique historic center. You can easily hop across to Portugal and enjoy a day trip to Valença.

Lover of quick trips? Discover more day trips in Portugal here.

Where to Stay in Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela offers a wide range of accommodation options that will suit your budget, preferences, and availability. Luxury hotels, charming guesthouses, and budget-friendly hostels are available all year round and can be found in various points of the city, including the center, Plaza de Obradoiro, and the old town.

The type of accommodation chosen, location, and time of the year will determine the approximate budget for your trip, so make sure to compare prices and book your stay in advance, especially if you’re planning to visit during peak season.

When to Visit Santiago de Compostela

As with any other place, determining when to visit Santiago de Compostela is key to your overall experience. It is a popular destination year-round, but there are a few times when it is more convenient to stop by.

Visiting Santiago in Winter (from late November to early March) offers low temperatures but fewer tourists. It is great for admiring the landscape with a lot of snow as well as for booking indoor activities. Although, if you’re a fan of the cold and snow, you won’t have a hard time with outdoor activities.

If you’re a Summer person, then visiting Santiago during this time (late June to early September) will allow you to enjoy nice temperatures, festivals, and events with a bit of a crowd, since it’s peak season.

How Many Days Do You Need in Santiago de Compostela

I recommend you spend at least 2-3 days in Santiago de Compostela to properly get to know the place and have a great time without feeling exhausted. If you have more time available you can delve deeper into the city’s rich history, culture, and nearby towns, but if you only have a couple of days, you’ll still be able to enjoy your stay.

You may enjoy: Where To Stay In Porto

Places to visit in Santiago de Compostela Recap

  • Catedral de Santiago
  • Colegiata de Santa Maria del Sar
  • Hostal de los Reyes Católicos
  • Parque de la Alameda 
  • Mercado de Abastos
  • Old Town 
  • Plaza del Obradoiro
  • Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea
  • Casa do Cabildo
  • Eat Seafood
  • Day trip to Noia
  • Praza da Quintana
  • Try Galician drinks
  • Day trip to Valença

Things To Do In Santiago de Compostela Final Thoughts

Hope you found this list of things to do in Santiago de Compostela helpful for your visit. Santiago de Compostela is a wonderful city filled with incredible history, architecture, and gastronomy. This post will give you plenty of things to do here that don’t necessarily require spending a lot of money or staying for more than a few days.

With its rich heritage and welcoming atmosphere, Santiago de Compostela is truly a destination worth exploring.

Enjoy visiting Europe? Consider reading these other posts:

Like these things to do in Santiago de Compostela? Share it with others or pin it for later!

Recommended Articles