Stone streets, narrow alleys and an impressive history make Santiago de Compostela, or simply Santiago, a jewel inside Galicia, an autonomous community in Spain's northwest. With over 2.719 million habitants, this city welcomes thousands of tourists and pilgrims each year, who come to admire the place, which gets even more beautiful in the rain, surprisingly. And visitors can benefit from Auto Europe's expertise when travelling around with a car hire in Santiago.
The official languages of the city are Galician and Spanish, but English speakers are common too. And that's because over 230,000 pilgrims alone are expected each year, departing from several different points, such as France, Portugal and even from within the country. The emblematic Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela might just be one of the world´s most famous landmarks, as it is the final destination of the pilgrimage.
This mighty Baroque place of worship lands on the square of Obradoiro, alongside several historical buildings inspired by different architectural styles. The best viewpoint to admire the Cathedral is at Praza de Praterías, with a magnificent central fountain. Close by lies the Monasterio de San Martiño Pinario, another symbolic religious building for Catholics.
During the day, Santiago takes a life of its own at Mercado de Abastos, the second most visited attraction in the vicinities. Tourists looking for jamón fino, fresh fish and delicious Galician produce will not be disappointed. A lively atmosphere also surrounds Rúa do Franco, leading to the Old Town, where a number or exquisite tapa bars, restaurants and small shops offer the best of Galician culture. Guided gastronomy and beer tours are offered throughout the year. Be sure to explore Santiago de Compostela during the Saint's feast falls on July 25, where a massive festival celebration is held on the main for St. James.
Santiago is easily reachable by major highways and international roads connecting Spain to Portugal and France France. From the UK, it´s possible to take a ferry to Santander or Bilbao and from there head towards Santiago.
Driving on the outskirts of town is fairly easy; roads are well maintained and equipped with traffic signs and stop lights. In addition, speed signs are displayed in km and most road signs are displayed in Gallego and Spanish. For more information on driving in Spain, please refer to our guide.
Due to its narrow long streets, the Old Centre is heavily pedestrian-centred, leaving fewer options for drivers. Therefore, finding a parking place for your car hire in Santiago can be difficult. It's advised to leave vehicles in the car parks around the perimeter of Santiago's centre. From there, a quick walk leads travellers to the city´s old centre and touristic attractions.
Santiago de Compostela is the capital of the green Galicia, with a population of 95,966 (2016). It is located in the northwest of Spain, a verdant region strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean. The average temperature of January and February is 8.5 °C (47.5 °F) that of July and August is 19 °C (66 °F). In Santiago de Compostela, the summers are comfortable and mostly clear and the winters are long, cold, wet, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 41°F to 76°F and is rarely below 32°F or above 87°F. Precipitation is abundant in this region, amounting to 75 inches per year. The heaviest and most frequent periods of rain occur from November to February, often bringing cloudy skies.
Santiago Airport is located in Lavacolla, approximately 8 miles from Santiago.
Santiago de Compostela Airport (SCQ)
Address: 15820 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain
Telephone: +34 913 211 000
Tralusa is the very efficient bus service company that provides public transport in Santiago, operating daily from 07:30 am to 10:30 pm. Single trip tickets cost €1.00 for adults can be bought from directly from the bus drivers. For multiple journeys, a bono bus pass of 10, 20 or 30 tickets is also available at just €0.55 for each one, with the additional charge of €3 that will be refunded back upon returning the bono card in good condition. The local train station is close to the city centre, and several Renfe lines operate there, with trains departing from Madrid, Barcelona, León, and others.
Several bicycle rental places can be found in the city, as it is an easy way to move around the centre. Additionally, there are numerous taxi ranks located throughout the city, and plenty taxis that can be hailed on the streets. Because Santiago is such a touristic place, taxi drivers are very friendly and can communicate in English, willing to help travellers. It's worth noticing that tips are standard practice, varying from 5 to 10 percent.