Vigo in Galicia is a fascinating port city with a vibrant maritime history, elegant architecture and incredible cuisine among many other delights.
The largest city in Galicia, Vigo is a destination with a little of everything. Whether you like meandering past beautiful buildings and into art galleries, mingling at buzzing festivals, relaxing to the sound of the ocean, discovering ancient ruins or tantalising your taste buds with fine cuisine and excellent wines, Vigo is sure to tick all the right boxes.
WHERE TO GO
Vigo is an eclectic mixture of neighbourhoods. Some of the best areas to explore are the Ensanche area, the Old Town and the Bouzas district.
Famed for its port, Vigo's money has always come from the sea. In the 19th century, the canning industry led to an explosion in wealth that is most visible in the elegant Ensanche area where the streets are lined with stunning stately architecture built from the pockets of the new bourgeoisie.
In the Old Town, you'll find stylish restaurants have taken up home in many of the exquisite Renaissance buildings. See history come to life during the last weekend in March when the Reconquista festival, celebrating the expulsion of Napoleon's army in 1809, means swashbuckling reenactments in the streets with locals in dashing costume.
If you're looking for a more laid-back maritime atmosphere, head for the Bouzas neighbourhood. Originally a coastal village that was subsumed as Vigo grew, Bouzas has retained its unique character with bustling street markets, a beautiful beach and some of the best tapas bars in the whole of Vigo.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO
Don't miss a visit to the Cíes Islands - three islands just off the coast that are a nature reserve with unspoilt beaches and beautiful flora and fauna. Rodas Beach, which joins two of the islands, is regularly considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
There's lots of walking trails in and around the city and you'll definitely want to take a walk up to O Castro, in the centre of town, to discover the archaeological site at the top. An ancient Celtic settlement from over 2000 years ago, you can visit reconstructions of the stone buildings that once occupied this fortified settlement. History lovers will also want to visit the Salinae Roman saltworks.
You'll find arts museums and galleries in abundance in Vigo but there's also plenty to see out of doors. Get your selfie stick at the ready at the El Sireno mermaid statue and the Jules Verne monument, where he's depicted sitting on the tentacles of a sea creature. Verne wrote about the treasures of the sunken galleons of the Bay of Vigo in his novel, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Of course, a city by the sea should have a spectacular beach and Vigo doesn't disappoint. Samil beach is the main city beach and is very popular with stunning white sands and lots for families to do.
SHOPPING AND GOING OUT
As Galicia's largest city, Vigo is an amazing destination for some retail therapy. Head to Calle de Principe for the best shopping in the city. Home to national, international and Galician fashion brands, this street is packed with clothing stores and boutiques, jewellers, shoe shops and more.
Browse Vigo's busy streets during the day and enjoy a buzzing nightlife in the evening - the city is known for its music scene, whether you're looking for traditional Galician music or a taste of Vigo's counter culture.
FOOD AND DRINK
With a huge fish market that lands the largest quantity of fresh fish in Europe each day, the city's restaurants are a foodie's delight. Enjoy succulent oysters from the estuary all along the Calle de las Ostras. For a real Galician dish, try octopus traditionally cooked 'á feira' - boiled and simply seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and paprika. With such a wealth of fish and seafood here, a mariscada seafood platter is a must.
The region is also famed for its veal and pork products with sausages being a particular speciality. Whatever dishes you choose, be sure to wash down your meal with a good local wine. Vigo is in the Rias Baixas which has its own D.O. and makes especially good white wines. Finish your meal with a digestif of Orujo sherry or other local liqueur.
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