SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA
Santiago de Compostela, the capital of the Autonomous Community of Galicia, is located at the northwest end of Spain. It is a city that has managed to remain a capital of culture for centuries. The university dating back to the 16th century has also shaped the character of the city.
The airport is situated 10km from the centre of Santiago de Compostela. Taxi from to and from the airport are available at a fixed rate. Taxis are not very expensive. There is a city bus system that will take you comfortably from one part of the city to another. If you are going to take several bus trips, you may buy a bono (bus pass) of 10, 20, or 30 tickets. Santiago is a relatively small city and you can get anywhere by walking. The historic centre is pedestrianised and the majority of monuments are close together. You can see all the main points of tourist interest with relaxed walk.
Visitors will find in the Galician capital a wide range of accommodation, including small charming hotels in the historical quarter and new hotels belonging to well-known chains. Some of the upscale hotels are : Parador Hostal Dos Reis Catolicos, NH Collection Santiago de Compostela, AC Palacio del Carmen, Hotel Spa Relais & Chateaux A Quinta da Auga, San Francisco Hotel Monumento, Altair Hotel, Hotel Moure, Hotel Compostela, Hotel Virxe da Cerca, Hotel Carris Casa de la Troya, Hotel Pazo de Altamira, Hotel Gelmirez, Hotel Herradura, Gran Hotel Los Abetos. If you are looking for a medium priced hotel you can check out the Smart Boutique Hotel Literario San Bieito, Hotel Restaurante Rua Villar and Blanco Apartamentos Turísticos. If you prefer low priced accommodation you can stay at Hostal R Mexico and or Hostal Pazo de Agra.
Zona Vieja, the oldest part of Santiago de Compostela, is very alluring with its historical texture. This old city, constructed entirely with stone, is one of the most realistic of its kind that have survived from the Middle Ages. Some of the stone structures belong to the 500 year old university of the city. The university turns Santiago into a lively metropolis with its more than 40 thousand students. Within the historical city walls, there exists excitement and movement created and supported by the country's youngest population. Especially for Catholics, Santiago is a location as significant as Jerusalem or the Vatican; because St. James is believed to have been buried in the Cathedral. Almost every corner of the city is covered with the imagery of St.James. The imagery has been carried on with such devotion for a thousand years; that it is present in every detail and in the old and the new alike without exception. On one side of the Spanish euro coins of 1c, 2c, and 5c; there is an illustration of the Cathedral. The structure is a symbol that is nationally unifying as well as religious. The censer of the cathedral, known as Botafumeiro, is one of the biggest of its kind in the world. When the smell of the crowd became unbearable, priests found the solution in having enormous censers built and filling the cathedral with incense. As a result, the bad smell would relatively disperse and disappear. Historians from centuries ago wrote that censers sometimes would fall down from where they were hung and cause terrifying accidents. Alameda Park, located at the center, is one of the oldest and most frequented places in the city. It is worth paying a visit to with the historical city view as well as the monuments in it. Great shots of the cathedral and the city can be taken from here. Museo Das Pergrinacións, located on number 4 Rúa de San Miguel, is a Holy Cross pilgrimage museum. It certainly deserves to be on the place of lists to see; in order to go on a journey to the history of the city. We must point out that the museum is closed on Mondays. Museo do Pobo Galego, Museum of Galician People in English, is located on a hill outside of the city walls. Santo Domingo de Bonaval Monastery was turned into a museum, where traditional clothes and visuals are on display. Among the museum's collection, it is possible to find items from Galician archaeology and art as well.
Santiago de Compostela stands out with two different types of handcrafts. Craftwork on silver and black jet stones catch your eye in almost all items of jewellery. Stores in the Cathedral region can be visited to shop for those items. In the historical city center; the streets called Nova, Vilar, San Pedro, Caldeirería, Preguntoiro and the public squares called Toural and Cervantes are where the most popular shopping spots are located. In the new part of the city, called El Ensanche, streets called Xeneral Pardiñas, Doutor Teixeiro, República de El Salvador, Montero Ríos, Avenido Alfredo Brañas, Prazas Roxa and Galicia are filled with stores. The food market in Plaza de Abastos is the most popular place to buy fresh foods. You can definitely get the right information as to how Galicians eat at this market. Fresh fish, seafood, fruits, cheeses, and even flowers are among items you can find here. It is set up on Sundays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Santiago de Compostela is surrounded by a rich nature. You can discover the beauty by yourself, as well as joining tours organized by the tourism office at various hours of the day. Also, you can take the tour of the city while listening to informative recordings with an mp3 player that is provided by the tourism office. You can take advantage of an accomodation provided for visitors and see almost all of the wonderful things the city has to offer. The tour vehicle known as “the tourist train”, which takes off from Praza do Obradorio or Avenida Xoán XXIII, takes its passengers on a tour with a spectacular view.