Top tourist attractions in Santiago de Compostela
Santiago, is the third pilgrimage destination for the Catholic religion after Jerusalem and Rome. Every year, thousands of pilgrims follow the traditional path of Santiago by foot, bicycle or horseback to reach the Cathedral where the Holy Sepulchre is.
There are many reasons to visit Santiago in addition to it being the final destination of the pilgrimage. Besides its main tourist attractions of monuments and museums, the city has an incessant cultural agenda with arts, entertainment and leisure time activities offered throughout the year such as music, lectures, theater, cinema, concerts, exhibitions and festivals.
The historical center has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO with its streets and squares full of monuments from various architectural movements. Beginning with the most outstanding work of Romanesque art such as the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, followed by the plateresque portal of the Hostal de los Reyes Catolicos 1501, a current state-run hotel (Parador Nacional), and finally, the former Renaissance style San Roque Hospital connected to its baroque church, and the nearby baroque convent of Santa Clara. Convents, monasteries and medieval churches complete the monumental heritage of Santiago.
The gastronomy of Santiago is an active cultural part of the city. The range of restaurants, bars and taverns is spectacular with prices to suit all budgets and a common denominator of quality. Try the local produce, especially seafood, fish and Galician beef.
The Galician wines can be sampled at the many tapas bars of Santiago. One can taste wines from the five Galician Denominations of Origin. The 'Albariño' of the Rias Baixas region are among the best whites in the world. The 'Godello' (D.O. Valdeorras) is beginning to stand out for its quality. Among the reds is the 'Mencia' (D.O. Ribeira Sacra) born 20 centuries ago to satisfy the palates of the Roman emperors. And finally the two wines of Orense, the 'Ribeiro', which offers both white and red, and the 'Monterrei' wines with low acidity. http://www.santiagoturismo.com/santiagoturismo-tv/de-tapas-por-santiago-2011-2
The Celebrations. Santiago is very popular for its celebrations in which tradition and folklore play an essential role. Music, dance, games and color fill the squares on important holidays and key dates. Above all, the Festivals of St. James in the month of July, have earned the honorary distinction of Fiestas of International Tourist Interest.
The university environment. Santiago's university welcomes 33,000 students each year. This university spirit spreads joy and vitality throughout the city giving it a very special atmosphere.
And of course, don't miss Santiago by night when bars, pubs and nightclubs open their doors. At night, special lights are cast on the streets of the historic city. The nostalgic yellow lighting embellishes monuments, softening the edges and contributing to the timeless atmosphere of Santiago.
Santiago is the capital of Galicia, the door to the Galician community in which nature and gastronomy delight tourists along with its wealth of monuments, extensive historical heritage, mountain landscapes and stunning coastlines where magical legends of sailors and mermaids are hidden among the cliffs. The cathedrals of the sea, the Tower of Hercules, the cliffs of Vixia Herbeira, or the Cies Islands are just a few of Galicia's treasures.