Portray of the Destination
Santiago is a city with a great number of monuments, ancestral memories and faith. It is the epicentre of one of the oldest and most important Christian peregrinations. This religious fact compares it with Rome and Jerusalem. One of the city’s main features is the splendor of temples, exhibited in buildings such as the Cathedral or the numerous convents and churches that, altogether, provide an outlook to the architectonic styles of the Middle and Modern Ages, together with stately family’s mansions, many of which are the work of architect Domingo de Andrade, and built in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Santiago is an open city, born from the fervour of the pilgrims, and nowadays lodges over 30 thousand students who arrive at its prestigious centenary university. This institution grew along time and, mainly, during the 20th century in which the metropolis impelled its expansion with the creation of several new faculties. This youth and cultural movement complements the city’s ancestral religious background and its strong personality.
We would like to thank the Santiago de Compostela Tourism Board for the text and photographs provided.
The city is located within a mountainous region, influenced by the Eastern Galician mountain massifs and the coasts. This condition causes it to have a humid climate with important annual rainfalls. A curious fact is the coexistence of two types of flora: the eurosiberian one, settled within the Tambre river valley, shows oak forests, whilst in the neighbouring Ullá valley, the Mediterranean landscapes rule. Either way, human presence is undeniable due to intense deforestation, the use of agricultural resources and reforestation with no autochthonous species.
As in almost all western Galicia, Santiago de Compostela has mild and rainy (between 700 and 900 mm of annual rain) weather. The distance to the coast, the land heights and the presence of nearby mountain ranges that “box” the city and its surroundings, are the main factors affecting the weather. These concentrates humidity and usually turns winter days into foggy days. The average temperature is 12° C and the highest peaks occur during the months of July and August.
When to go
Summer is the best season to visit Santiago, taking into account, furthermore, that this is the season where the city presents the best climatic conditions. The highest temperature peaks are always found in the July-August period.
The city’s origin is half way between history and legend. The apostle St. James’ (Santiago) tomb discovery in the 9th century, started the creation of the temple that guards it and the beginning of this great city. The metropolis turned into a pilgrimage epicenter during the Middle Ages, a tradition that is still practised: St. James' Way called in Spanish “Camino de Santiago”.
The first big urban expansion started, curiously, after the devastation of the city by the Muslim troops led by Al-Mansur in 997. In the year 1066 the fortification that nowadays delimits the historic city was built. During the 16th century, the university was built together with all other kinds of buildings such as monasteries, churches and even religious orders. This architectonic nucleus exists nowadays around the “Obradoiro” Square and is one of the most beautiful in Spain, combining Renaissance, Romanesque and Neo-classic styles. It was declared World Heritage by UNESCO in 1985.
During the 18th century, economic activity reactivated the Galician ports and took attention away from interior cities such as Santiago. At the same time, religious and university life started to develop and outstand within the city. As from the second half of the 20th century, the increase in student activity also helped to recover the prosperity. Santiago’s most significant moment, at least during modern ages, was the arrival of 7 million visitors for the 1993 holy year.
Santiago city's most important character, without doubt, are the numerous celebrations and particularly the Apostle St. James' celebration during the months of July, which is emphasized in Jubilee Years (that is to said when the celebration is on a Sunday, which happens every 6, 5 and 11 years). This celebration includes a music festival where not only Galician folklore but international artists shows take place. There is also a typical costume exhibition and contest. The whole city takes part in this celebration and stages are all around Santiago.
In addition other activities such as outdoor cinema, street and indoor theatre, children activities, dance and bands are featured. There is a wide range of festivities within the city’s calendar; some involve the city as a whole whilst others just involve a single neighbourhood.
The Galician gastronomy is really ample, its products are found in very different elaborations, reason why it is difficult to point just a typical dish. The dish called "lacón con grelos" is very common all over the region: it is a pork cooked with turnip, potatoes and chorizo. Similarly, the Galician stew is made up of chorizo, beef and hen, ham, cabbage, chickpeas and potatoes. Both are typical winter dishes.
There is a long Galician tradition concerning the elaboration of recipes, with fish and seafood, such as hake, turbot, sole, grouper and sea bass, together with squid, and other molluscs like the small cuttlefishes or velvet swimming crabs. And the seafood list continues: clams and oysters, spiny lobsters, European lobsters, triple-grooved shrimp, scallop, mussel and octopus (sliced in pieces, paprika and salt marinated and sprayed with olive oil). Other popular dishes are the “empanadas”: a thin stuffed bread-like pastry.
Finally, some typical desserts are: Santiago Tart, almond based, and the “filloas”, thin pancakes made of wheat. All this exquisite temptations combined with the best wines with designation of origin: Monterrey, Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, Ribeiro or Valdeorras.
YES: si. NO: no. HELLO: hola. GOOD BYE: adios. GOOD MORNING: buenos días. GOOD AFTERNOON: buenas tardes. GOOD NIGHT: buenas noches. PLEASE: por favor. SORRY: lo siento. THANK YOU: gracias. DOCTOR: médico. PHARMACY: farmacia. NUMBERS: 1: un. 2: dos. 3: tres. 4: cuatro. 5: cinco. 6: seis. 7: siete. 8: ocho. 9: nueve. 10: diez. 11: once. 12: doce. 13: trece. 14: catorce. 15: quince. 16: dieciséis. 17: diecisiete. 18: dieciocho. 19: diecinueve. 20: veinte. 21: veintiuno. 22: veintidós. 30: treinta. 40: cuarenta. 50: cincuenta. 60: sesenta. 70: setenta. 80: ochenta. 90: noventa. 100: cien. 1000: mil. DAYS OF THE WEEK: MONDAY: lunes. TUESDAY: martes. WEDNESDAY: miércoles. THURSDAY: jueves. FRIDAY: viernes. SATURDAY: sábado. SUNDAY: domingo. COMMON WORDS: BIG/SMALL: grande/pequeño. HOT/COLD: caliente/frío. OPEN/CLOSED: abierto/cerrado. GOOD/BAD: bueno/malo. NEW/OLD: nuevo/viejo. PUSH/PULL: empujar/tirar. ENTRANCE/EXIT: entrada/salida. LADIES/GENTLEMEN: señoras/señores. FAR/NEAR: lejos/cerca. LEFT/RIGHT: izquierda/derecha. TAXI: taxi. BUS: autobús. MEALS: BREAKFAST: desayuno. LUNCH: comida. DINNER: cena. MENU: menú. WINES: vinos. DESSERT: postre. THE BILL: la cuenta. COMMON SENTENCES: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: ¿Habla inglés?. I DON'T UNDERSTAND: no entiendo. WHERE IS IT?: ¿donde está? HOW MUCH IS IT: ¿Cuánto es? WHAT TIME IS IT: ¿Qué hora es? COULD YOU HELP ME: ¿Puede ayudarme?
Euro is the local currency. There are 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 euro banknotes. There are also 1 and 2 euro coins, together with 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cent coins. Money exchange can take place in foreign exchange offices, but banks are a better choice.
1 EUR (Euro) = 1.20 U$D (United States Dollar), 1 EUR (Euro) = 0.66 GBP (Pound Sterling)
In comparison with other European Union countries, and perhaps due to its high tourist vocation, Spain is one of the cheapest countries. Obviously, prices vary depending on the season, being higher during the summer and lower in the winter.
Santiago de CompostelaCountry
Spanish KingdomTime Zone
Spanish, GalicianSurface area
223 km2 (86.2 sq. mi)Population
93,365 inhabitantsPolitical Regime
Constitutional MonarchyPublic holidays
January 1st : New Year.
January 6th : The Lord’s Ephifany.
March 19th : Saint Joseph Celebration.
March-April: Holy Week.
May 1st : Labor Day.
May 17th :Día de las Letras Gallegas (Galician Arts Day)
May-June: Our Lady of Ascención Celabration (no fix date).
July 25th : Apostle and Galician day celebration (from the 15th until the 31st).
August 16th : St Roque Day.
October 12th : National celebration of Spain – Our Lady of El Pilar Celebration.
November 1st : All Saints' Day.
December 6th : Day of the Spanish Constitution.
December 8th : Day of the Immaculate Conception.
December 25th : Christmas Day.
Galicia, and especially Santiago, is mainly catholic. The city has been a pilgrimage destination (St. James's Way) since the 9th century due to the Apostle St. James' tomb, the patron saint of the city. Other city celebrations are also related to people’s faith.Religion
90% Catholics, 8% Muslims, 2% JewsArrival / Departure
There are three basic ways to arrive or depart from Santiago. The first one, and perhaps the easiest one, is by train (RENFE and FEBE). The second one is by flight to Lavacolla Airport, and the third and most complicated one is by car. Santiago is located in the middle of a road “knot”. From the center of Corunna and El Ferroll, the South AP9 motorway gets there. From Portugal, Tui Vigo and Pontevedra, it is the North AP9 road. In addition, the N-VI road connects Santiago with Madrid. Safety
Santiago de Compostela city is aware of the amount of tourists that lodges, and that is the reason why they take traveler’s security within the city and in all the country, as a priority. However, this does not mean that the general advice offered to tourists when travelling have no validity. Carrying small amounts of cash and being careful of purses and wallets when being around numerous people is recommended to prevent theft. Visa
The European Union tourists do not need visa to enter Spain. Neither those citizens of the United States, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil and the rest of the Latin American countries, though a return ticket must be bought. Travelers from Australia, Anguilla, Bermuda, Canada, Cyprus, South Korea, Hong Kong, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Helena, Singapore and Turk & Caicos do not either need visa provided that they do not stay more than 90 days in Spain.Clothing
Warm clothing is advisable. The humidity conditions often act as a low temperature amplifier; the same happens with rainfall, that is why raincoats are recommended.Electricity
220 or 225 volts AC, 50 Hz. Sockets take two round plugs.Radio and Television
The main radio stations in Santiago are: “Radio Galicia”, “SER Santiago”, “Onda Cero”, “Radio Galega”, “Radio Voz Compostela”, “Radio Obradoiro” and “Radio Nacional de España”.
TV Channels: “Antena 3”, “Televisión Española”, “Localia TV” and “Televisión Galicia”.
The dialing code for Spain is 34 and for Santiago de Compostela is 981. For international calls first dial 00 followed by the country code and the telephone number. For calls within Spain the use of a special code is not necessary.
The most important operators are Amena (www.amena.com); Movistar -Teléfonica Móviles (www.movistar.tsm.es) and Vodafone (www.vodafone.es). Public phone booths are often found on the streets. They operate on local currency coins or pre-paid calling cards that can be bought in "locutorios" (stores with several phone booths where you can call and pay in cash). In these places, among other services, it is possible to send and receive faxes and to find computers with Internet access. Police
112Tourist health care services
080, 112Newspapers and Magazines
“La Voz de Galicia” Newspaper is published in Spanish. So are “El Correo Gallego” , “ABC Galicia” and “El Ideal Gallego”. National newspapers such as “El País”, “El Mundo” and “La Vanguardia” can be also found.Postal Service
The Spanish mail system is efficient. Letters within Europe usually take 3 to 5 days. A registered letter costs a minimum of 2.5 euros. There are several offices in Santiago de Compostela, which can be found online through the company’s web page: www.correo.es. The opening hours go from 8:30 to 20:30 on week days and Saturdays from 8:30 to 13:00. Santiago’s Postal offices are located on:
Restoñal 50 (Telephone: +34 981-523-870),
García Prieto 12 (Telephone: +34 981-520-402),
“Xunta de Galicia San Caetano” Building (Telephone: +34 981-575-028)
“Travesía Fonseca” (Telephone: +34 981-581-252).
Fedex and UPS international postal services are also available. Health Care Services
Spain’s health care system is generally good, since it provides a health center network. Within these facilities, primary care and specialized assistance are provided. Besides not having any type of alert, it is necessary to take precaution when sun-bathing, since, due to its harshness, it can cause sunstroke. Airport
The closest and most important airport is Lavacolla. It is located 10 km away from the city; it can be accessed by the N-634a national highway, which connects Santiago de Compostela with the N-547 road towards Lugo. The detour is located 13 km east of the city. It can also be accessed through the A-54 highway connecting Santiago’s ring road with the N-547 national highway. The airlines Iberia, Spanair and Air Europa, together with Ryanair, Air Berlin, British Airways and Air France operate in this airport.
Local flights from Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao, Valencia, Malaga, Seville, South Tenerife, Palma de Mallorca, London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Zurich, Geneva, Brussels, Lisbon, Jerez and Alicante also operate. For further information, call +34 981 54 75 00 / +34 981 54 75 01. Public Transport
Twenty urban bus lines travel around the whole city, in addition to the taxi services. This city offers an interesting proposal just for tourists; a touristic train that covers the major and most interesting sights within Santiago. The adult’s fare is 3.60 euros and 1.80 for children over four years old. Railway
The main railway Station is the RENFE station, located on Rúa do Hórreo. There are several available routes: regional ones within Galicia and Portugal (due to its proximity); long distance ones connecting with other Spanish and European cities and the “Transcantábricas” ones that cover the peninsula’s north. For further information: Telephone +34 981 591 859, +34 902 240 202, web: www.renfe.es. Bus
Santiago de Compostela has a bus station located on Calle San Caetano. Several companies operate there, among which:
Enatcar Internacional (Intercar/Alsa Dainco), connects with Madrid, Gijón, Bilbao, Irún, Zamora, Salamanca, Cáceres. Seville. Cádiz, Algeciras, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France and Switzerland. Contact phone: +34 902 422 242, web page: www.alsa.es.
Socitransa, which connects with Belgium, Germany, France, Holland, Switzerland, Rumania and Portugal. For further information: www.socitransa.com. Car
Santiago is located in the middle of a motorway “knot” that connects it with the whole region. It is interesting, given the possibility, to travel around rural areas by car. The Santiago de Compostela main accesses are:
AP-9 Atlantic motorway, connects Santiago with Corunna, Ferrol, Pontevedra, Vigo, Tui and the Portuguese border;
A-6 Northwest highway, connects Galicia with the rest of Spain through Lugo Province (it links with Santiago through AP-9 road, around Coruna);
A-52 Rias Baixas highway, connects Galicia with the rest of Spain through Ourense province (it links with Santiago through AP-9 road, at Vigo or through N-525 road at Ourense);
AP-53 highway, connects Santiago with Lalín where the N-525 road to Ourense and Madrid can be accessed (by the end of 2006, it will connect Santiago and Ourense directly);
N-634 National Highway, connects Galicia with France through the Cantabrian coast ( it links with Santiago through the A-6 Northwest highway). Car Rentals
The main offices within th city are:
Avis Rent a Car : Lavacolla Airport, Telephone: +34 981-888-204.
RENFE Station, Telephone: +34 981-590-409.
Europcar: Lavacolla Airport, Telephone: +34 981-547-740.
RENFE Station, Telephone: +34 981-597-476.
Hertz: Lavacolla Airport, Telephone: +34 981-598-893.
Budget: San Paio 43. Telephone: +34 981-897-122.
Ship Destination Tourism Office in Spain Spanish embassy in the destination Taking pictures See climate
www.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA dinner
As from 30 euros.A coffee
0.90 euros.The Bus
0.80 eurosThe taxi
2.65 euros initial fare plus 0.73 euros every kilometer.The train