So, I’ve just returned from a two month trip to Spain and Portugal – and not only has it renewed my interest in Spanish culture and language, I found out how underrated Portugal is to visit, and how much I take the classic British fish and chips for granted.
Now, here’s my map of the places I visited:
I pin everything on a map to remember where I went, but that’s a story for another time. I’m going to tell you the good places and the bad places, tips and whatever have yous if you’re thinking of making an unforgettable Iberian trip.
And now on to Galicia, the north west region of the country, one of the most unexplored and rural areas in Spain.
Santiago de Compostela
Highlight: I’m honestly struggling to think of one. The cathedral would be impressive, if it wasn’t for the works being done on the front, so I had to take the photo you see above from around the side.
Lowlight: It’s an unpopular opinion, but I found Santiago tacky and expensive, with no other purpose but to extort money from unwitting tourists. Why it has such a reputation is beyond me. The food menus are all pricey, tailored for visitors with no local charm and the variety of shops and restaurants is really poor. I also lost my water bottle in town!
Verdict: Santiago tries too hard to be the Jerusalem of Spain, so if I was going to take the camino, I’d walk the other way. The Galician landscape is nice, but after seeing Asturias, it really felt pale and uninspiring.
Tips: Don’t take the bus there from Oviedo, though I’m sure everywhere else is similarly expensive. My flight to Spain from Gatwick was cheaper.
Highlight: The Islas Cíes are unforgettably dramatic – take the €10 return boat ride to the scenic islands for a trip on arguably the best looking beach in Europe and a great view of the deep, blue Atlantic. It makes for a good hike, or just a sunbath on the beach.
Lowlight: You know, I don’t know. I don’t like this section.
Verdict: Vigo is the kind of place that rich people go to take out their boats for the weekend, but you won’t be paying their sort of prices in town. It’s a great city, it’s charming, cosmopolitan and the nightlife is buzzing. A great way to get off the tourist trail.
Tips: This panadería had absolutely incredible carrot and spinach empanadas. Literally one of the most surprisingly amazing things I’ve ever eaten. They sound like they should be rather standard – don’t they? The woman working there was also super nice and smiley. And walk the old town at night, you won’t regret it!
(Notice the T-Rex Hedge above??)
Anything else for Galicia?
I didn’t get the chance to try any octopus dishes during my stay, but the region is famous for it.