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Not many know that the city of Santiago de Compostela in the Galicia region of northern Spain is actually home to many green spaces. Filled with ponds, flower gardens and river walkways, here are some of the best that are definitely worth exploring.
Galeras Park runs along the edge of the small Sarela River and is surrounded by the Finca do Espiño estate and the Old Town. Characterised by expansive meadows and lawns, it features a children’s playground, cycle and walking paths and excellent vistas over the city.
Following the Belvís watercourse, this park links the old historic quarter of the city with the Convent of Belvís. Steeply sloping upwards towards the convent, it’s surrounded by stone walls and contains many green lawns, as well as a kids’ playground. The park’s highlights are three identical labyrinths created from camellia hedges that grow up to 1.8 metres tall. These are mazes you can definitely get lost in.
One of the more traditional and elegant parks in Santiago de Compostela, Parque Alameda is the main city park and is made up of three different areas – the Paseo da Alameda, the Oak Grove of Santa Susana and Paseo da Ferradura. It originated in the 16th century, although many of its features such as fountains, ponds, flower gardens and regal statues are from the 19th century. The park also features a traditional bandstand, sports areas and a playground.
Finca do Espiño park sits in the grounds of the magnificent Neogothic estate of the same name. Inaugurated in 2014, the park is home to a beautiful botanical collection, from Norwegian spruces to century-old holly bushes, camellias, chestnut trees and magnolias. There’s also a large lake and picnic area.
Not technically in the city of Santiago, the Artistic-Botanic Garden of Padrón is located in the small town of Padrón, less than a 30-minute journey to the southwest. Considered to be one of the oldest gardens in Spain and home to over 300 species of plants, it’s well worth the journey. Many of the plants and trees here are dedicated to important historical figures with a connection to the park, such as the Apostle Santiago and the writers Camilo José Cela and Rosalía de Castro. Rosalía de Castro even wrote some of her most popular poems under the shade of the redwood tree, which still stands here today.
Situated in the neighbourhood of O Paxonal, Parque Eugenio Granell is the largest park in the city and offers spectacular views over Santiago de Compostela. It’s characterised by gardens, meadows, a forested area and a river. It’s also an ideal space for playing a range of sports.
Located at the bottom of the Auditorio de Galicia, the Parque da Música has a stream, a small pond and numerous contemporary sculptures, including a surrealist statue of the Galician artist Eugenio Granell. You’ll also find wide meadows, shady areas and walkways.