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How to Spend 3 Days in Santiago de Compostela

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How to Spend 3 Days in Santiago de Compostela
The crowning glory—and capital—of Spain’s Galicia province, Santiago de Compostela will easily fill three days of your time. From discovering the city’s medieval treasures and sampling its famous cuisine, to exploring rural Galicia, here are our top tips for a 72-hour stay.

Day 1: City sightseeing
Stroll pilgrim-trodden lanes on a walking tour, and you’ll see why Santiago’s Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire the twin-towered cathedral (most tours view the outside only), the reputed burial site of St. James. Then, experience the Plaza del Obradoiro, the Plaza de la Inmaculada, and other sights as you untangle their history and Santiago’s pilgrimage heritage with a guide.

Later, return to the cathedral, this time stepping inside to marvel at the ornate interior. Highlights include priceless art, the Romanesque Pórtico da Gloria, and the botafumeiro—a giant incense burner that swings from the ceiling during special masses.

Come dusk, experience another side of old Santiago on a tapas walking tour. With a guide to showcase local eateries and the rituals of ordering the bite-size dishes, savor delights such as grilled octopus, empanadas, and Santiago’s beloved almond cake alongside local wines.

Day 2: A day trip
With its verdant valleys and craggy coastline, Galicia beckons from all around, so dive into its charms. Day tours make exploring convenient with door-to-door transport that eliminates the need for rental cars and research. The Ribeira Sacra region is a popular destination, with its monasteries, vineyards, and deep gorges. Alternatively, consider the postcard-pretty Rías Baixas river inlets—tours typically include boat trips and tastings of the mussels from the estuary waters. Other options combine Cape Finisterre with the Coast of Death—a dramatic chunk of coastline that’s seen many a shipwreck.

Day 3: Focus on food
Spend your final day on another of Santiago’s claims to fame—its cuisine. Some tours combine sightseeing with gastronomy stops to give you a rounded picture of the Old Town and its culinary offerings. You’ll visit markets, pastry shops, seafood bars, and off-the-beaten-path food haunts, sampling everything from classic tapas to full-blown lunch.

After the sun goes down, join the locals for a walk through Old Town or a nearby park before celebrating your last night in Santiago over dinner and drinks.
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Santiago de Compostela Tours & Activities (10)
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Finisterre Day Trip from Santiago de CompostelaDay Trips

Finisterre Day Trip from Santiago de Compostela

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Discover some of Galicia’s most ruggedly beautiful scenery on this full-day tour from Santiago de Compostela. Meet in the city center in the morning, and hop aboard your air-conditioned vehicle. Your destination is the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death)—so named because its choppy waters have caused numerous shipwrecks. Visit the charming fishing town of Muros, see the Ézaro Waterfall; explore Cape Finisterre (one of the Iberian Peninsula’s westernmost points), and drop by the coastal village of Muxía.
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Full-day Rias Baixas Guided Tour from SantiagoDay Trips

Full-day Rias Baixas Guided Tour from Santiago

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With a guided tour, you can easily visit top Rias Baixas sites from Santiago de Compostela in just one day. Travel by air-conditioned coach to top attractions such as Pontevedra, Combarro, and A Lanzada Beach, all while picking up interesting facts about the area from your guide. Plus, an included boat ride with wine and mussels tastings gives this tour a luxurious feel—without a luxury price tag.
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  • 10 hours
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GROUP walking tour in the Old Town of Santiago de CompostelaConcerts & Special Events

GROUP walking tour in the Old Town of Santiago de Compostela

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• Ticket to participate in a 2 hour walking tour through the main streets of Santiago de Compostela Old Town • Includes the main squares around the cathedral • Local places you won't find in tourist guides: Mercado de Abastos, narrow streets, hidden squares • The best views of the Cathedral from the Alameda Park.
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Santiago de Compostela and Viana do Castelo full-day private tour from PortoDay Trips

Santiago de Compostela and Viana do Castelo full-day private tour from Porto

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Explore the picturesque countrysides of Portugal and Spain during this full-day private tour of Santiago de Compostela and Viana do Castelo from Porto. Your private driver will pick you up in the morning and escort your party to historic Santiago de Compostela in Spain, one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world. Here you’ll have the chance to wander the town, visit its renowned Cathedral of Santiago and eat a delicious lunch. Crossing back into Portugal, you’ll head to the historic town of Viana do Castelo where you’ll explore the town on foot and visit its famous Santa Luzia Sanctuary. Your driver will return you to your hotel in Porto at the end of the day.
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Galicia's Death Coast Day Trip from SantiagoDay Trips

Galicia's Death Coast Day Trip from Santiago

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Make the most out of a visit to Muxia and Cape Finisterre on this guided day tour from Santiago de Compostela. With all the details arranged ahead of time and a guide in the lead, you'll learn much more about the area than you would exploring on your own, with the bonus of not having to worry about logistics or directions. Snap photos of the dramatic landscapes and learn about the many shipwrecks that have met their doom on the so-called "Coast of Death" through your guide's engaging commentary.
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Santiago de Compostela Gastronomic Experience DíaCultural Tours

Santiago de Compostela Gastronomic Experience Día

Exploring Santiago de Compostela’s sights and cuisine without a guide may mean missing hidden gems and just guessing at restaurants and dishes to try. With this tour, be sure to experience the historical quarter’s highlights and off-the-radar places, along with a typical lunch at a tried-and-trusted restaurant. Plus, along the way, hear detail on Santiago’s history, food, and culture you might miss alone. Lunch, including dessert and coffee, is included.
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Ribeira Sacra Full Day Guided Tour from SantiagoDay Trips

Ribeira Sacra Full Day Guided Tour from Santiago

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Enjoy a full-day introduction to Galicia’s charms—and discover some of the region’s most striking attractions—on this seamless tour. Meet in central Santiago de Compostela, and board your air-conditioned coach. You’ll encounter a wide range of landmarks throughout the day: discover a 7th-century monastery, visit a winery in the Ribeira Sacra region, explore the medieval highlights of the Castro Caldelas village, and see the cathedral in vibrant Ourense before returning to Santiago.
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  • 10 hours
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Gourmet Lunch Tour of SantiagoFood Tours

Gourmet Lunch Tour of Santiago

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Combine a gourmet lunch with a stroll around Santiago de Compostela's historic quarter. Traveling with a guide allows you to get the most out of a walking tour, learning lesser-known facts and visiting hidden gems along the way. Along the walking tour, enjoy a 3-course moveable feast: stop at one restaurant for an appetizer, the next for your main meal, and a third for dessert. Listen to commentary about the city's Celtic past and culinary culture as you explore.
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Dinner Tapas Tour of SantiagoFood Tours

Dinner Tapas Tour of Santiago

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Get a locals' perspective on Santiago on this small-group tour that takes you through the Calle de Vinos (wine streets) of the historic city center. Visit five tapas bars and pastry shops to sample their offerings while learning from your guide about the history and cultural significance of the Galician region's cuisine. Uncover centuries of history around every corner and learn how to order and eat like a local.
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Santiago Market and Food TourFood Tours

Santiago Market and Food Tour

Immerse yourself in Santiago de Compostela’s thriving food scene, and enjoy plenty of generous samples, on this lunchtime walking tour. Meet in the city center, and be sure to arrive with an appetite. You’ll try classic Spanish tortilla at a local bar, will sample cured meats at the city’s bustling market, will see local cheeses being made, will order classic Galician empanadas, and much more. This tour also includes tastes of wine and a local liqueur.
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  • 2 hours
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