15 Best Day Trips in Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela is one of the oldest and most religious cities in Spain. This small city is the heart of Galicia and it is famous as the terminus of El Camino de Santiago, the famous long-distance walking route of Santiago, which has been used for centuries by pilgrims and tourists today.

Santiago de Compostela is said to be the final resting place of Saint James, one of the original Twelve Apostles. Therefore, the city has a great reputation in Spanish history.

Not only that, but Santiago de Compostela’s fantastic location makes it an ideal base for exploring the rest of Galicia.

The wild Atlantic coastline is just a short drive away, where you’ll find rural fishing villages, incredible scenery and huge surf.

The city of León or A Coruña is not far from the hotel, and you can spend a long time exploring the local community, looking for food, snacks and wine, which you are sure to find everywhere.

In the south, the Portuguese border is never too far. You can easily reach the vibrant cities of Braga or Porto on a day trip from Santiago de Compostela.

1. Vigo

Vigo, Spain

The city of Vigo is located on the coast of Galicia, just an hour south of Santiago de Compostela. This is the largest city in Galicia, and living nearby is a must for day trips.

The historic center is a great place to learn more about Vigo, wander the medieval streets, visit wonderful museums and try as many tapas as possible. Seriously, this city is as much about its history as it is about its incredible setting.

The city faces the beautiful Bay of Vigo, and you can explore the unique coastline nearby, hike along rugged cliffs, or sit on some of Spain’s stunning but underrated beaches.

2. The Sith Islands

Chase Islands, Spain

These islands are located off the coast of Vigo. These spectacular islands are part of the larger Atlantic Islands National Park, but are also some of the most accessible and beautiful reserves of this stunningly beautiful offshore landscape.

The Cies Islands look more like home in the Caribbean than on the northern coast of Spain. Imagine white-sand beaches surrounded by rocky cliffs, gazing out at colourful, clear coves and inlets.

There are three main islands within the Cies archipelago, which you can easily reach from the port of Vigo.

Monteagudo Island has even been called by prominent media agencies to be home to the best beaches in the world.

3. Finisterre Point

Cape Finisterre, Spain

“The End of the World” can be found to the east of Santiago de Compostela. This is Cape Finisterre, a windswept peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean.

The name comes from the Latin word for the end of the world, as this is where the Romans believed the world truly ended during their conquest of Galicia.

This promontory marked the end of the Roman world. In its dramatic, rocky and bizarrely beautiful way, you can imagine why they would believe it when you stood on the edge of a cliff and looked out at the seemingly endless waters ahead.

4. Pontevedra

Pontevedra, Spain

Pontevedra is a small city located south of Santiago de Compostela. The city is as picturesque as Galicia.

Streets and buildings run along the green hillside to the wide river bank below. The historic center is completely pedestrian, allowing you to wander freely among the old alleys, cathedrals and museums.
The most striking sight is the panoramic view of the iconic bridge across the river, which is probably one of the most beautiful views in Galicia.

5. Cambaro

Cambaro, Spain

Combarro is a small village on the coast of Pontevedra. This is a rural seaside community that offers visitors authentic Galician life as it has centuries of history along the coast.

Despite its growing popularity among tourists, it is still a fishing village. You can truly experience the local charm by exploring the crumbling streets and old harbour.

Watch boats return from the Atlantic Ocean, admire Cambaro’s unique architecture, and sample some local delicacies at the bistro and bar.

6. Kinoshita

Sanctuary of the Virgin under the wood (Ship Sanctuary)

Northwest of Santiago de Compostela is the seaside town of Mucia, which is becoming one of the most popular day trips in the region.

This is one of the towns along the infamous Dead Coast, a long stretch of coast that has been plagued by shipwrecks and shipping disasters for centuries.

From town, you can gaze at the rough waves and see why this place causes so much pain among sailors.

Kinoshita has always been an important destination for pilgrims as it is a stop along the Camino de Santiago. Religious travelers have been visiting the shrines and seclusion here in Mucha for centuries.

7. A Coruña

A Coruña, Spain

Further north of Kinoshita Village along the coast of Death, you will reach the city of A Coruña.

This is one of the largest and arguably the most important cities in Galicia and has been the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia for centuries.

Along the coast known as the “Celtic City” you can find many examples of ancient Celtic ruins.

8. Ezzaro

Esaro Falls, Spain

Ezaro is a rural community an hour’s drive from the coast of Santiago de Compostela.

The village is famous for the nearby waterfall Cascada del Ezaro, known as Galicia’s iconic natural feature.

The waterfall is staggeringly high, reaching a height of 155 meters.

The many layers add to the natural beauty and ensure this is a popular day trip.

9. Cambados

Cambados, Spain

Cambados is a charming town located near the city of Pontevedra.

From Santiago de Compostela, this is a wonderful day trip, especially for wine lovers.

This colourful town is the region’s main wine production base.

In the countryside, you can explore wineries and admire the fields and vines that dot the landscape; while in Cambados, you can visit the many local wine sellers who stock local wine bottles, or use one or two Dilute some fresh seafood with a glass of wine.

10. Lugo

Lugo, Spain

Inland east of Santiago de Compostela is the city of Lugo. This is an ancient city with a history dating back to the Celtic times.

However, the Romans will leave their longest mark on Lugo, as the massive defensive walls they built remain a prominent feature of the city, attracting tourists from all over the world.

Explore the city walls and well-preserved Roman ruins, then enjoy a local snack in one of the many taverns in the old town.

11. Ourense

Ourense, Spain

Ourense is a relatively unknown city as far as Galicia’s tourism is concerned, but that’s one more reason to call to visit.

The town was founded here by the Romans, who built the beautiful arch bridges that still span the river and flocked to take advantage of the natural hot springs that rise from the ground.

Today, one of the best things to do in Ourense remains a visit to the Roman Baths, where you can sit and relax in the warm geothermal water after a day exploring the city.

12. Oviedo

Oviedo Cathedral, Spain

Oviedo is a great place to drive north and then east from Santiago de Compostela, but it’s worth the long journey to experience the other side of Spain, as this is the capital of the Asturias region.

The city dates back to the Middle Ages and has some lovely medieval buildings, including a cathedral and rambling historic streets. These are great places to spend a day exploring and are slightly different from what you see in Galician cities.

13. Leon

Leon, Spain

Leon is about a 3-hour drive from Santiago de Compostela. This makes the day trip a little longer, but is a great opportunity to experience the rich history of this important Spanish city.

You can also explore the famous Gothic buildings in the historic center, most of which are listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

14. Braga

Braga, Spain

A two-hour drive south of Santiago de Compostela, just across the Portuguese border is the city of Braga.

This is one of the largest cities in northern Portugal and has played an important role in local history, especially in terms of religion.

Braga has many elegant cathedrals as well as some excellent Portuguese architecture.

15. Porto

Porto

Further south, along the Portuguese coast, you can visit the big city of Porto on a day trip from Santiago de Compostela.

It’s a two and a half hour drive, but it’s an opportunity to explore Portugal’s second largest city.

Get an in-depth look at local cuisine and culture, and explore the city’s historic UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Porto is a vibrant and colourful place with great food to try and a lively nightlife if you’re hanging out around the neighborhood.

Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Santiago de Compostela, Spain
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