What to Do on a Rainy Day in Santiago De Compostela

A rainy day in Santiago de Compostela | © José Antonio Gil Martínez / Flickr
A rainy day in Santiago de Compostela | © José Antonio Gil Martínez / Flickr
Photo of Esme Fox
23 February 2018

Being located in Galicia – the rainiest part of Spain – it’s likely you’ll see rain at some point during your stay in Santiago de Compostela, no matter the time of year. That said, the city has plenty to see and do on a rainy day – here’s our pick of the best.

Learn about the Camino at the Museo de las Peregrinaciones

The city of Santiago de Compostela has become so well known because it’s the end point of the famous Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route across the top of Spain. Spend your wet day in the city keeping dry at the Museum of Pilgrimages and Santiago, learning all about the famous route and how the city grew up around the tomb of the Apostle Saint James (Santiago).

Rúa da Fonte de San Miguel, 4, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 981 58 15 58

Admire the art collection at the Fundación Eugenio Granell

Nothing beats spending a rainy day wandering around an art gallery, taking your time and marvelling at stunning pieces of artwork. The Eugenio Granell Fundation displays the work of surrealist artist Eugenio Granell, as well as a collection of works donated by English surrealist artist Philip West. It also hosts temporary exhibits on everyone from Man Ray and Max Ernst to José Hernández.

Praza do Toural, 8, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 981 57 21 24

Attend mass at the Catedral de Santiago

Even if you’re not religious, you won’t want to miss the twice-daily gatherings at the most famous sight in the city – the Catedral de Santiago. During mass, the priest will welcome all the pilgrims who have arrived that day. It’s a very emotional scene to watch them all hobbling up the aisle to receive holy communion. The mass culminates in what is surely the highlight – the swinging of the Botafumeiro – the largest censer in the world – which emits incense throughout the cathedral.

Praza do Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 981 58 35 48

Botafumeiro, Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela, Galicia | ©Contando Estrelas / Flickr

Botafumeiro, Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, Galicia | © Contando Estrelas / Flickr

Visit the Cathedral Museum

After mass, if it’s still raining, take time to visit the Cathedral Museum. It features a vast collection of ornate religious artwork, from ceramics, paintings and precious metalwork to sculptures and textiles. There is also a library full of unique religious volumes, as well as an important collection of tapestries, some of which were based on the works of the artist Francisco de Goya.

Praza do Obradoiro, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 881 55 79 45

Santiago de Compostela, Spain | ©bernavazqueze / Flickr

Santiago de Compostela, Spain | © bernavazqueze / Flickr

Browse the art at the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporáneo

Spending the afternoon in one of the city’s best art museums is definitely a great way to cheer yourself up on a drizzly day. The Galician Centre for Contemporary Art is housed in a building designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira, which perfectly brings together an old monastery and modern building together. The centre focuses on Galician artists, as well as paying special attention to those from the rest of Spain, Latin America and Portugal.

Rúa Valle Inclán, 2, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 981 54 66 19

Shop at the Mercado de Abastos

If food is what will keep you happy on a wet day, then there’s no better place than the Santiago’s Mercado de Abastos. Dating back to 1873, this historic market is actually the second-most visited place in the city, after the cathedral. It has a variety of stalls, selling everything from local meats and cheeses to fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood. The market also has a number of restaurants and bars, where you can sample freshly-cooked Galician classics, such as boiled pulpo – octopus.

Rúa das Ameas, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, +34 981 58 34 38

Try the city's famous dessert at Cafe Venecia

Bar, Cafe, European, Spanish
Map View
Of course if you’ve seen everything else or just feel like you need to relax and re-energise, then you could also hide out and enjoy a coffee while watching the rain outside. Cafe Venecia is over 50 years old and serves some of the best coffee in the city. Make sure to pair your coffee with a slice of tarta de Santiago – the city’s signature dessert – a nutty almond cake, dusted with powdered sugar.