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Santiago de Compostela, capital of Galicia, one of the most romantic cities in Spain and a top travel destination for pilgrims and.. non pilgrims! If you do not wish to walk the 600-800-kilometre long Way of St. James, then you should search for cheap air tickets to Santiago de Compostela and save your strength for exploring this marvellous city instead. Medieval streets, idyllic squares and unique historic monuments centred on the legendary Cathedral and the 5-star hotel Hostal de los Reyes Católicos have been captivating visitors for centuries. Those of you who cherish a bit of dolce vita, in Santiago you’ll find your own heaven on earth; nature-lovers will have the amazing opportunity of a hike of a lifetime; and you who wish to enjoy your holidays, you’ll have to choose from a wide range of restaurants, bars, interesting sites and cheap hotels in Santiago de Compostela. One thing is for sure: Nobody leaves Santiago de Compostela unhappy!
The legend of Santiago de Compostela began back in 813, when a shepherd accidentally discovered the burial site of James the Apostle, the first apostle that was martyred, decapitated and became a saint. It was in that exact location that a church was built in 1211 to honour the Saint and protect the sacred tomb. Pilgrims started travelling from all over the world, the city knew an exponential growth, but the memory of the Saint slowly started to fade away.
In 1879, while a worker was restoring part of the church – again, accidentally – he came across the long forgotten buried remains of St. James. The church was then declared the Cathedral of the city and is now considered as one of the most sacred locations in the world.
Indeed, Santiago de Compostela ranks among the top three most sacred places in the Christian world, along with Rome and Jerusalem, with pilgrims arriving from every corner of the world.
Beyond the religious value, however, Santiago is a radiant city in so many more ways. The Galician capital is like a beautiful painting that came to life, with picturesque neighbourhoods, elegant churches and cathedrals, historic monuments and a special energy all around the city.
The airport of Santiago de Compostela (Aeropuerto de Santiago de Compostela) is located 14 kilometres east of the city centre and is accessible by bus and taxi.
Getting around Santiago de Compostela
You can get around Santiago de Compostela by bus and taxi. Fares start from 0.85€ and minimum taxi fare costs 3.60€.
Santiago de Compostela Guide
The supreme point of attraction in Santiago de Compostela is none other than the monumental, legendary Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and an acknowledged masterpiece of Gothic and Romanesque architecture.
The Cathedral was built in 1211, upon the burial place of James the Apostle. Since then, it comprises the focal point of thousands of pilgrims who walk the famous Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago), a route than spans the Iberian Peninsula, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland and parts of North Africa.
Within the area nearby the cathedral, you will see the Hostal de los Reyes Católicos, one of the few surviving hotels of its kind. A fine example of a Parador hotel, this luxurious 5-star hotel was built by the Catholic Monarchs (Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon) and is said to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in the world – and one of the most beautiful ones in Europe.
Continue to some of the most significant museums of the city:
- The Cathedral Museum (Museo de Catedral) focuses on the wealth of artistic treasures of the Cathedral. Collections include items from archaeological findings from the early royal era of Santiago, to religious artefacts and works of art that decorate the Cathedral up until today.
- The Museum of Pilgrimage (Museo das Peregrinacións e de Santiago) is dedicated to the pilgrims of Santiago de Compostela, the religious history of the city and its establishment as a pilgrimage site.
- The Galician Contemporary Art Centre (Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea) hosts fascinating exhibitions of works of art by notable local, national and international artists. It’s interesting to know that the building housing the museum was created in 1988-1993 by the awarded architect Álvaro Siza Vieir.
The official languages of Santiago de Compostela are Galician and Castilian Spanish.