Insider's Guide to Santiago de Compostela

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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Vigo, at around 300,000 people, is the most populous city in Galicia, and the 14th-most populous city in Spain. Its colorful history dates back to Roman times, and its bay has been the theater for a number of historic naval battles.

In modern times, however, Vigo is a bustling center of Galician culture. While it has its share of historical sites and several 12th-century churches, Vigo is also home to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and a number of important movements in Spanish music and film. Following the fall of Francisco Franco, a burgeoning punk and pop music scene sprang up in Galicia, and live music is still a popular part of Vigo's nightlife.

As a port city, Vigo's culture has a certain maritime flavor, and city events often center on the sea. The Lower Rias (estuaries) foster competitive nautical sports, and regatas are popular draws.

Also of note are Castelos Park and the gardens of the Palace of Quinones of Leon Leon. Vigo is not as well known for historic monuments as other Galician municipalities, but in addition to the aforementioned palace, the city is also framed by fortress walls.

Practical Info

Off the coast of Vigo are the Cies Islands, an archipelago of 3 islands through which the branches of a ria (estuary) wind. These islands are a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, as it is a nature preserve as well as home to Rodas, The Guardian's 2007 choice for most beautiful beach in the world.

Ferries to the Cies Islands run from Vigo, and camping permits are available.

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