Santiago de Compostela is by most known as the end point of the Camino. The hiking trail starting in the Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain and proceeding along the north coast of Spain from east to west.
But why is the Camino there in the first place? What makes Santiago de Compostela so special, that everybody suddenly decides to walk there?
The cathedral at Santiago de Compostela is a catholic shrine said to hold the earthly remains of saint James. One of Jesus’ apostles. This of course make the site special. For more than a millenium made Santiago a goal of christian pilgrims, which it still is today.
Today walking the Camino is both for pilgrims and hikers alike an exceptional experience as you find your way from the Pyrenees on the border between France and Spain to Santiago de Compostela.
Walking about Santiago de Compostela you will se hikers all over the place happy to finally have reached their destination.
Where to park
If you come by car you will quickly realise, that the city center is car free. And you will be glad it is, once you get out of your car.
There is a carpark at: Av. de Rodrigo del Padrón, 1, which is very close to the cathedral. I parked here myself, while staying in Santiago. It was not too far to carry my luggage to the hotel.
Where to stay
This all depends on the size of your wallet and your taste. I stayed at Hotel Praza Quintane, which is located close enough to the cathedral to see the tower out the window. It is a modern hotel with aircondition and very nice rooms.
What to see
When in Santiago de Compostela you are of course going to the Cathedral. Take you time there and visit the tomb of Saint James. The ending point of all pilgrims to Santiago.
From there take a stroll around the old city centre with its narrow streets and old houses. It is seldom you get to experience an ancient living city, and for me Santiago was just perfect in this respect. The city is very kids friendly with easy access all around and parks.
Go to the Parque da Alameda just outside the old city and follow the path to the church at the top. On the way you will have the most wonderful view towards the cathedral (see the picture at the top taken in the afternoon late March).
Until next time
I would have loved to stay and spend more time in Santiago de Compostela, but time unfortunately did not allow for it. But my first visit taught me, that this is a place I definitely want to visit again.
I have a dream of walking the Camino from end to end, and I will get to it eventually when time permits.
But for now the time had come to go to Portugal.