Spain‘s Santiago de Compostela has a unique history long associated with myths and legends. To really understand the Galician capital, why not go on a city tour? Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff or a theatre fan, or you’re on a budget, we’ve rounded up the best.
Those watching the pennies will appreciate Free Tour Santiago, offering free city tours in English at 10am and in Spanish at 10am and 6pm, daily. The two-hour tour starts from the Plaza del Obradoiro and takes in the Cathedral, as well as some of the most hidden parts of the Old Town, and finishes up with a taste of some traditional Galician seafood products. The company also offers free theatrical tours, where guides are dressed as pilgrims or witches, as well as a number of more comprehensive paid-for tours of the city and the Cathedral.
Another company offering free city tours is Free Tour Compostela. They conduct city history tours in Spanish and English every day at 11am, and in Spanish only at 5pm, taking visitors to explore the historic centre of the city and learn all about its past. There is also a Magic Compostela tour every night in Spanish at 9am, focusing on Galician myths and legends.
This one’s for foodies – an Ultimate Santiago Food Experience with The KilomEATers. Small group tours, from two to six people, get to experience three different tapas bars in Santiago’s Old Town and sample some of Galicia’s typical dishes. Tours take place at lunch time from 1.30pm-4.30pm, or at dinner time from 8pm-11pm, and cost from €65 per person in a group of six, up to €90 per person for two.
Another food tour, this time with some culture thrown in too – Feast Galicia Tours run two tours: Santiago Tapas and Traditions, and Gourmet Santiago. The Santiago Tapas and Traditions tour takes in four tapas bars and gives guests the chance to try some traditional Galician tapas, as well as learning about the region’s culture. It lasts three hours and costs €75 per person. The Gourmet Santiago tour, on the other hand, visits some of Santiago’s finest restaurants, to experience true Galician cuisine. Guests will get the chance to try a starter in one, a main in another and a dessert in the last. The tour lasts three hours and costs €85 per person.
Local Italo Pendola and his wife Angeles Rodriguez run a number of personal and professional tours across the Galicia region, as well as a Santiago city tour. The private tour lasts three hours and can be conducted in a number of different languages, taking guests to see all the magnificent city monuments, learn about its past, and visit the Abastos Food Market. The tour costs €50 per person.
Friendly and professional Devour Food Tours run foodie tours all over Spain, and offer a great service. They run two tours in Santiago – Hidden Santiago Food & Market Adventure and Insiders’ Tapas & Wine Evening Tour, focusing on the locals who make and sell the city’s food. During the tours you’ll get to experience a century-old market place, taste Santiago’s traditional dessert in a historic bakery, and even learn how to make a Galician empanada. The Hidden Santiago Tour costs €59 per person, while the Tapas & Wine Evening costs €65 per person – both last two and half hours.
“Ultreya” was the old saying that people used to shout to the pilgrims as a form of encouragement along the Camino de Santiago, so you’ll definitely feel appreciated with this aptly-named outfit. The company offers a Guided Tour of Santiago de Compostela, taking visitors around the UNESCO World Heritage Cathedral, the Hostal-Parador de los Reyes Católicos and the Pilgrim’s Office, among other locations.