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Few cities enjoy such a magnificent natural setting as VIGO . Arrayed along the sloping southern shoreline of its namesake estuary, it enjoys superb views not only of the bay itself, surrounded by green forest ridges, but also out towards the ocean. While it’s undeniably magnificent when seen from a ship entering the harbour, once ashore it fails to live up to that initial promise, and few visitors use it as anything more than an overnight stop.
Although Vigo is now the largest city in Galicia, home to some 300,000 people, Baiona, closer to the mouth of the ría , was the principal port hereabouts until the nineteenth century. Then the railways arrived, and Vigo became the first Galego town to industrialize, with the opening of several sardine canneries. It’s now Spain’s chief fishing port, with wharves and quays that stretch almost 5km along the shore.
Pride of place in the middle still belongs to the passenger port where generations of Galego emigrants have embarked for the Americas. These days, cruise passengers mingle with tourists arriving at the Estación Marítima de Ría off the Cangas ferry, and set off to explore the steep, cobbled streets that climb up into the old city, known as O Berbés and crammed with shops, bars and restaurants.
Along the seafront early in the morning, kiosks revive fishermen with strong coffee, while there and in the lively daily market hall nearby, the Mercado da Pedra , their catch is sold. Immediately below, on the aptly named Rúa da Pescadería , women set out plates of fresh oysters on permanent granite tables to tempt passers-by. On Rúa Carral , shops sell kitsch marine souvenirs.
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Must-see attractions in Vigo
The Soutomaior castle-palace, amid enormous and beautiful gardens, is well worth a 21km drive northeast from Vigo. Displays inside the castle, which dates…
Directly south (uphill) from the old town, this verdant park is a magnificent place to be when the sun is dropping into the ocean behind the Illas Cíes…
A long swath of sandy beaches stretches southwest of the city. Best is 1.2km-long Praia de Samil, beginning about 5km from the city centre. It's backed by…
This centre in the Old Town presents photos, information and an attractive audiovisual display on the nature and history of the Illas Cíes in the mouth of…
The Casco Vello's main church was built in 1816, in neoclassical style – long after its Romanesque predecessor was burnt down by Sir Francis Drake.
The Castro de Vigo, a pre-Roman settlement of circular, thatch-roofed dwellings, dates back to the 3rd century BCE and has been partly reconstructed…
Vigo is something of a modern art centre, with several museums and galleries to prove it. The Contemporary Art Museum is the number-one venue for thought…
The hidden gem of Spain
Experience the vibrant culture, delicious seafood, and breathtaking beauty of Vigo, the hidden gem of Spain Vigo is a thriving […]
Experience the vibrant culture, delicious seafood, and breathtaking beauty of Vigo, the hidden gem of Spain
Vigo is a thriving port city located in the northwest of Spain. It boasts a rich cultural heritage, with a vibrant music and arts scene, delicious seafood, and beautiful natural surroundings.
Known for its stunning beaches, picturesque old town, and bustling port, Vigo offers visitors a unique blend of natural beauty and urban charm. The city is surrounded by verdant hills and lush green forests, and is home to numerous parks and gardens, making it the perfect destination for those who love the great outdoors. Visitors can also enjoy a stroll along the city’s seafront promenade, take a boat trip to the nearby Cies Islands, or explore the many museums, art galleries, and cultural venues that Vigo has to offer. With its stunning scenery, rich history and culture, and friendly locals, Vigo is a city that truly has something for everyone.
Restaurants in Vigo
Vigo offers a delicious seafood and traditional Galician cuisine, paired with local Albariño white wine. Try the famous “pulpo a la gallega” and explore the city’s restaurants and tapas bars.
Hotels in Vigo
Vigo offers a variety of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to charming bed and breakfasts. Enjoy city views, proximity to top attractions, and comfortable amenities. Discover your perfect Vigo stay.
- Things to do in Vigo
Vigo offers an array of activities for visitors, from exploring historic sites and natural beauty, to enjoying music and arts scene, delicious seafood and the beautiful waterfront. Discover all that Vigo has to offer.
- Living in Vigo
Living in Vigo is a delightful experience that combines the charm of coastal living, a strong sense of community, and a vibrant cultural scene.
- Shopping in Vigo
Vigo offers a wide range of shopping options, from traditional markets and local boutiques, to modern malls and high-end shops. Discover unique finds and great deals on fashion, crafts, and souvenirs. Shop to your heart’s content in Vigo.
Vigo offers a vibrant nightlife scene, from lively bars and clubs to intimate jazz venues and traditional pubs. Discover the city’s music and arts scene and enjoy a night out in Vigo.
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Vigo , the Gateway to the Atlantic, is a great combination of ancient history, beautiful beaches and a modern cosmopolitan outlook. A truly amazing city, that offers a warm welcome along with beautiful surroundings. Which together with its water reforms, amazing landscapes and friendly atmosphere will give even the seasoned traveller a truly unique experience to take home. Travelling in Vigo is just like exploring heaven with your own eyes. Read More...
Home » Travel Guides » Spain » 15 Best Things to Do in Vigo (Spain)
15 Best Things to Do in Vigo (Spain)
Vigo is Iberian Spain’s westernmost city, right on the Atlantic Ocean and with lush mountain landscapes all around. The city is a seafood fan’s dream, where oysters hardly travel more than a mile to your plate.
Vigo’s location also gives it a microclimate with temperatures up to five degrees warmer than other Galician cities. Even so, if you’re put off by the sweltering temperatures on the Mediterranean in summer, then the fresh ocean beaches and more temperate climate in Vigo will be more to your taste.
Let’s have a look at the best things to do in Vigo :
1. Castro Fortress
Surely the best introduction to the city and its epic landscapes is to survey them from the granite walls of this 17th-century fortress.
From this commanding position the Vigo’s estuary, harbour, historic quarter, mountainscapes and the Cíes Islands will all be on show.
The fortress was an artillery installation, designed to repel attacks on Vigo by the British Navy during the Portuguese Restoration War.
Within the walls are formal gardens with lawns, neatly-tended flower beds and a fountain at the centre, all with photogenic 360° views of the city.
2. Parque del Monte Castro
The park around the fort isn’t so much an urban pleasure garden as a wild mountain right in the middle of the city.
If you fancy a workout you can tackle Monte Castro on foot, and even though it’s a challenging walk there are lots of interesting features to divert your attention.
One is the Iberian settlement on the lower slope, where they’ve restored three Bronze Age conical stone dwellings.
You’ll also see the anchors that were placed on Monte Castro to commemorate the Battle of Rande, which took place in the Vigo Estuary in 1702 between the Anglo-Dutch and Franco-Spanish forces, during which several treasure-laden galleons went missing.
3. Cíes Islands
Allow a day or two for this stunning uninhabited archipelago that sits at the entrance to the Vigo Estuary.
During the summer there are two companies (Mar de Ons and Nabia Naviera) running ferries at roughly half-hour intervals from the harbour to the islands.
You can stay overnight at the campsite (which provides tent rentals), but you’ll have to book early as the 800-berth site fills up quickly.
On the battered western side you’ll hike along granite cliff-tops more than 100 metres high but a different environment awaits you on the sheltered east, where white sandy beaches gleam in the sun.
4. Beaches on the Cíes Islands
The Cíes Islands’ beaches deserve another entry, because you may not encounter more exquisite bays anywhere in the world.
Indeed, Playa de Rodas often qualifies for the top ten lists of the best beaches on the planet, and is an almost-paradisiacal place if you want to sunbathe and swim in summer.
It’s a landward beach, shielded from the open ocean and with perfect white sands that add an aquamarine glow beneath the water on sunny days.
On the other side of Punta Muxiero is Praia de Figueiras, 350 metres in length and a little less popular but no less ethereal than its neighbour to the south.
5. Fish and Seafood
You have to try the divine oysters that are caught right in the Vigo Estuary: At Calle de las Ostras (street of the oysters) they’re perfect raw with a pinch of lemon and a glass of the local Albariño wine.
The fish and seafood in Vigo are amazing; they say that this is down to the temperatures and type of plankton in the local waters.
If you don’t know where to start, just order a mariscada: This is a big platter of seafood with crab, seafood and lobster.
If you go out for tapas then fish and seafood will be on the menu there too in the shape of dishes like chipirones (fried baby squid) or xoubas, little sardines.
6. Galician Wine
Vigo is in Galicia’s Rías Baixas wine region, which like most of this part of Spain makes, pleasingly acidic whites with the Albariño grape variety.
They are the ideal pairing for the region’s amazing seafood.
If you visit the city between February and May you should drop in at a Furancho if you get the chance.
These are cellars, often part of private homes, where the year’s wine surplus is sold off in a convivial, typically Galician setting.
The wine is usually served with tapas dishes such as ham and chorizo.
There are more than a dozen furanchos around Vigo, normally marked with a wooden sign on the road side.
7. Casco Vello
Vigo’s old-town is set on a slope that meets the estuary at the old port, with alleys that lead onto handsome arcaded squares like Praza da Constitución.
This is the part of the city where fishermen’s houses and grander buildings like plush townhouses and the 19th-century church of Santa María were set side-by-side.
Almost all were built with Galician granite, which gives the old-town a dignified atmosphere distinct from many Spanish old quarters.
Many of the street names correspond to old trades, and Rúa Cesteiros you can still find basket-weavers in business and of course, Calle de las Ostras.
8. The Ensanche
In the 19th century Vigo grew dramatically as the canning industry became one of the city’s main sources of income.
Most of the entrepreneurs behind this boom were from Catalonia, and the posh Belle Époque apartment buildings they constructed are still standing in the Ensanche district, east of the Casco Vello.
This is Vigo’s centre for nightlife and shopping, and also boasts the leafy Alameda Park, where you can rest your feet for a few minutes.
By the estuary you can walk along the breakwater out to a red lighthouse, which is possibly the best place to watch the sun go down.
9. Samil Beach
You don’t have to go as far as the Cíes Islands for a day at the beach – there are 45 in total around Vigo.
Most convenient is Samil, just where the Lagares River meets the Atlantic, and when you’re sitting on these sands or walking along the promenade you’ll have the Cíes Islands and Vigo’s mountains as your scene.
The beach is 1,700 metres -long and has a load of leisure facilities like swimming pools, basketball courts and a five-a-side football pitch.
In the summer ice cream stands and bars are open behind the beach.
And on the days it gets really hot many people take shade on the pine-shaded lawns next to the promenade.
10. Ermita de Nosa Señora da Guia
On the northeast side of the city, right next to the estuary is the 100-metre Monte da Guía.
Cloaked in evergreen and deciduous woodland, it’s one of the largest parks within the city, and offers an instant escape from the traffic and activity on Vigo’s streets.
At the top, and with far-reaching vistas, is the shrine of Nosa Señora da Guia.
This chapel with its lofty central tower may look baroque, but is actually from 1952, and is built on an earlier 16th-century hermitage.
Take some time out in the manicured gardens to let the vistas sink in.
11. Quiñones de León Museum
The regal home for this art museum is the Castrelos “pazo”, a stately 17th-century manor house.
The collection here is of 20th-century works by Galician artists, as well as a few pieces that are part of collection at Madrid’s Prado museum but stored here.
If you take a turn in the grounds you’ll be forgiven for wondering if you’ve ended up in one of London’s royal parks.
There are large lawns with thickets of birch, plane and beech trees, and a rose garden adorned with the beautiful Príncipe de las Aguas fountain.
12. MARCO – Vigo Museum of Contemporary Art
This art museum opened in 2002, regenerating a complex that had been abandoned for decades.
It’s an incredible space right in the middle of the city, making use of Vigo’s former courthouse and jail, which were built in 1861. The prison had a “panopticon” utilitarian design, according to the principles of the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, and the former prison courtyards were fitted with glass-roofs to create halls flooded with light.
There are no permanent exhibitions; rather the museum has a program of thematic shows, workshops and cultural events.
13. Museo do Mar de Galicia
Also from 2002 is this museum that was designed to include parts of an old cannery on Vigo’s waterfront.
The exhibits demonstrate Galicia’s long connection to the ocean, and also inform you about the ecosystems just off the coast.
Check out the room devoted to oceanography and underwater exploration, with some antique diving equipment and navigation instruments.
In the 19th century whaling was a big local industry, and there’s an original harpoon on display.
You’ll also find out about the massive fishing operation that takes place on the Galician coast, hauling in tons of tuna, sardines, octopus and shellfish for the Spanish market every day.
Vigo is a low-lying enclave surrounded by a protected mountain landscape densely wooded with oaks, pines, eucalyptus and chestnut trees.
So why not bring your walking shoes, as the you’ll be treated to yet more awesome views of the ocean and the city.
For really committed hikers there’s the GR-53, a 25-mile path that rides atop the chain of low peaks that encircles Vigo.
If you only want to a walk a section then there are plenty of access points from trails that lead right to the edge of the city.
A shorter, more family-friendly walk would be to trace the course of the Eifonso River, on the way stumbling upon old hermitages and mills with water wheels.
On the Vigo side of the estuary but closer to the ocean is another coastal town full of character.
Baiona also gets a lot of Spanish visitors in August fleeing the heat for breezier weather on the Atlantic.
Before tourism the economy was supported by fishing, and there’s still a quaint old harbour that is framed by the dark green hills of the headland to the north.
Behind it, unfurling along a small peninsula to the west of the town are the walls of the 16th-century Castillo de Monterreal.
Since the 60s the castle’s inner buildings have housed an upmarket Parador hotel.
15 Best Things to Do in Vigo (Spain):
- Castro Fortress
- Parque del Monte Castro
- Cíes Islands
- Beaches on the Cíes Islands
- Fish and Seafood
- Galician Wine
- Casco Vello
- The Ensanche
- Samil Beach
- Ermita de Nosa Señora da Guia
- Quiñones de León Museum
- MARCO - Vigo Museum of Contemporary Art
- Museo do Mar de Galicia
Oficina Municipal de Turismo de Vigo
Five must-sees in the urban side of Galicia
Top 10 Things to Do in Vigo, Spain
- Author david
- Date December 10th, 2015
The Romans who inhabited the area bestowed the name Vicus on the handsome city known today as Vigo. Since that time, it has flourished and developed into a scenic port city rich in maritime traditions and gastronomic culture, and one that appeals to seasoned and newbie travelers alike. For this, there are several things to do in Vigo to keep you busy for several days.
Being a major fishing port, Vigo has an abundance of fresh seafood, which is arguably the highest quality in Galicia . And apart from the food, the city has several art galleries and museums, water sport activities and sites.
Known as the “gateway to the Atlantic,” Vigo is a popular port of call for throngs of international tourists each year arriving by cruise ship. In Vigo the sea is life!
While Vigo is a walking city, there is also a reliable bus system in place that can transport you to almost anywhere within city limits and beyond. Without further ado, here’s our list of top 10 things to do in Vigo.
Vigo’s large, industrial port is a bustling center of commerce, but just beyond the port, the Casco Vello stands out as a gem that embodies a much simpler way of life from times past. This is the old town, a small charming neighborhood with traditional buildings and narrow, winding streets. Its four original plazas, Plaza de Pedra, Plaza Princesa, Plaza Almeida and Plaza Constitución, are just as significant in the daily lives of locals today as they were a hundred years ago. Plaza Constitución is the largest of the four and is quite possibly the most beautiful with its outdoor cafés and antique buildings.
The Santa Maria Collegiate Church
In the Plaza de Pedra stands Vigo’s oldest church, the Santa Maria Collegiate Church. It was originally constructed during the Middle Ages, but was completely rebuilt in 1836. This neoclassical building that now dominates the square is dedicated to Christ of Victory, the savior who protected locals from Napoleonic domination in 1809. The church is open Monday to Sunday 9:30 AM to 1 PM and from 6 PM to 8:30 PM. Admission is free.
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Get up close and personal with one of Vigo’s major tourist attractions, which also happens to be one of its oldest structures. Built in 1665, the Castro Fortress complex was part of citywide defense system (then known as San Sebastián) intended to protect this major port city from invaders. Unfortunately, the original city walls have long been demolished, but the skeleton of the fortress remains a testament to Vigo’s turbulent past. In fact, the Castro Fortress was unsuccessful in protecting the city on more than one occasion. It ultimately it proved useless during the Battle of Vigo Bay in 1702 when an Anglo-Dutch convoy attacked a French-Spanish fleet carrying silver from Mexico. The event not only shaped Vigo politically, but also gave rise to a legend of a vast treasure still lying deep in the waters of Vigo Bay. On the day of the attack, the Spanish fleet was carrying over 13 million silver and gold pesos from Spanish colonies in the Americas.
The Castro Fortress is perched uphill from the Casco Vello and features panoramic views of Vigo Bay and the Cíes Islands (see Day Trips section). Begin at Praza do Rei and make your way up the steps. Explore the botanical garden with its gravel pathways and stone benches, the Las Anclas fountain monument commemorating Battle of Vigo and finally, the fortified Celtic settlement. It is comprised of three reproductions of Celtic houses showing what the area likely resembled when the Romans arrived.
Porta do Sol
Porta do Sol, also known as “Kilometer Zero,” is definitely one of the top things to do in Vigo. Heading east out of the heart of the Casco Vello will take you the modern Plaza Princesa where you will find the iconic El statue looking north towards the Atlantic Ocean. Since 1991, it has become the unofficial symbol of the city.
Past El Sireno is one of the city’s busiest shopping streets, Rúa do Príncipe. On the weekends, this area is packed with shoppers darting in and out of the shops. If you’ve still got energy after shopping, head to the parallel street, Rúa de Policarpo Sanz, where you can experience fine examples of 19th and 20th century architecture. The most notable specimen on the street is El Moderno – a 1902 structure by architect Michel Pacewicz. Originally the home of Count Manuel de Barcena Franco, it now belongs to Banco de Galicia. It still has the reputation as being one of Vigo’s most elegant buildings.
Due to rapid expansion of the Vigo Bay area over the past 100 years, the port area is now a blend of old and new worlds. Rúa de Pescadería, or Fish Street, is situated along the north side of the Santa Maria Collegiate Church in the historic neighborhood of La Piedra. For seafood lovers, this is the place to be anytime between 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. It is where Vigo’s famed ostreiras, or women oyster sellers, shuck and peddle fresh oysters for hungry passerbyers each day. Don’t let their age fool you. They are expert saleswomen who have been doing this for over 60 years!
You may hear one or two of them playfully call out to you about the aphrodisiacal powers of their oysters. A dozen oysters on the half shell will set you back about €10. You can slurp them up raw or take them into one of the nearby restaurants and have them cooked to your liking. Just remember to give them each a splash of fresh lemon juice and you’ve got authentic Galician street fare.
O Berbés is a seaside neighborhood located southwest of the Casco Vello. As it was over 200 years ago, O Berbés is where fishermen bring their catches to be sold in the lonjas, or fish markets each morning. There are several of these markets selling local delicacies like mussels, oysters, gambas, lubina and merluza as well as other types of seafood fished around the Iberian Peninsula.
Unloading a catch for sale is a boisterous and malodorous process, but the daily occurrence is one of Vigo’s longstanding maritime traditions, plus the seagulls don’t seem to mind the scraps. Rúa Ribeira do Berbés is the area’s main street. Facing Vigo Bay, it makes for a pleasant stroll and a great place to stop for a meal at one of the seafront restaurants. If you want anything fresher, you’ll have to fish it yourself.
Playa de Samíl
For those who want to enjoy the Galician coast to the fullest, there are multiple beaches southwest of the city center. The largest and most popular of these is Playa de Samíl, which is a 1,800-meter long stretch of white, sandy beach that has provided locals a much-needed refuge from the urban grind since the late 1960’s. The area features plenty of modern amenities: public swimming pools, a skating rink, cafés, picnic areas and public restrooms. Beachgoers can walk along Paseo de Samíl boardwalk, which spans the length of the beach, in search of the perfect place to spend the day. Surrounded by greenery and an unobstructed view of the Cíes Islands, Playa de Samíl is a retreat in every sense of the word. It is ideal for families with young children, as it is for curling up with a book in a shady spot. Head West along Gran Vía for about 5 miles (8 km) to access the boardwalk.
Day Trips to A Guarda, Valença, and the Cíes Islands
A Guarda is a coastal town 42 miles (68 km) southwest of Vigo. Historically a fishing community, A Guarda is often referred to as the “lobster capital” of Galicia.” Its natural beauty more than makes up for its small size because its proximity to the estuary, where the Miño River flows into the Atlantic, makes it a must-see in the region. The town also features coastal beaches, a charming seaside promenade and the fascinating Celtic settlement, Castro de Santa Tecla.
Visitors should first drive into the heart of A Guarda, park along the promenade and after a short visit to the tourism office to get a map, begin exploring the old town on foot (note that the tourism office, located in Praza do Reloxo, is only open in the summer). Attractions in the historical district include antique fishermen’s houses, a 12 th century church, remains of the old city walls and the Fishermen’s Monument.
There are a variety of restaurants in A Guarda, with Casa Valladeiros being one we can certainly recommend for its mussels and lobster. If you’re in A Guarda during winter, or would rather forgo the beach for some history, drive up to Castro de Santa Tecla (pictured below) to explore the incredible dwellings left behind by ancient Galicians; a pre-Roman community that farmed and raised livestock.
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Valença is half-castle, half-land fortified city located in Portugal near the Spanish border along the Miño River. The Valença fortification, or castel in Portuguese, was commissioned by King Sancho I in the 13 th century, making it nearly as old as the country of Portugal itself. King Sancho I became the second king of Portugal when he succeeded his father King Afonso I in 1185. He had to find a way to protect this strategically located city from the Spanish, who were launching attacks from just across the river in the town of Tui. Valença sits high on a hillside, with a bird’s eye view of the surrounding landscape.
Right outside of Valença, the International Bridge (designed by renowned engineer Gustaf Eiffel) connects the two countries, making it simple for one to cross over to Portugal for a day of sightseeing.
Typically no border patrol checks are performed, but bring your passport for identification just in case. The fort of Valença is more than just a military relic; it is a living town with residential and commercial ties. Srtoll the cobblestone streets, walk along the outer fortress walls, and hike up and down the colossal bastions to take in the incredible views.
The C í es Islands are a three-island archipelago in Vigo Bay. They were declared a nature reserve in 1980 and form part of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park. Their names are Monteagudo, Do Faro and San Martiño.
Each have steep cliffs, caves and diverse flora and fauna. A 45-minute boat ride from the port of Vigo will bring you to this natural splendor. Activities include camping, walking, hiking, scuba diving and bird watching. The Eden-like landscape of the islands is perfect for nature-lovers. Pine and eucalyptus forests, white sand beaches, rocky cliffs and magnificent water views comprise the landscape. Whether you come for a day or a few, you will understand why this unspoiled landscape is often called “the best beach in Spain.”
Other recommended day trips from Vigo: Baiona and Combarro.
Additional Travel Information
Time zone: GMT +1
Shopping: The main shopping areas of Vigo are Calvario (ACECA) Area, Príncipe Street , Vigovello, as well as various shops in and around the city center. Typical store hours in Spain are 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Many stores are closed Sundays.
Hours of operation: Typical hours of operation are 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Nightlife: Vigo features a lively bar scene in and around the Casco Vello. The Samíl Beach area is known for its late-night discos and bars. The Monte Ríos and Rosalía de Castro areas also have plenty of lively bars and casual pubs. Calle Arenal features the trendiest music bars in Vigo, which go on until the early morning hours.
Nearest airport: Vigo-Peinador Airport (VGO)
Getting there: There are several ways to get to Vigo, but if you’re not driving in from another city in Galicia, it is best to take a flight. If you’re flying from Barcelona we recommend you fly with Vueling and save ! FlightHub is a website we recommend for finding cheap flights to Vigo. We checked the results and there were several non-stop flights by Air Europa and Iberia from Madrid Barajas to Vigo Airport. To learn more about how to use FlightHub to make travel plans to Vigo, check out the FlightHub review .
Best time to go: May to October. The weather can be unpredictable all year round, so pack an, rain boots and a coat.
Currency: euro (€)
Where to eat: Check out our Top 20 Best Restaurants in Galicia, Spain
If you’re looking for extra funds for your trip to Vigo but are worried about paying high interest on finance because of a poor credit history, “Bad Credit Site” help people find the cheapest lender that wants to lend to them and it’s all done free of charge through a simple form on their site.
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What are your suggestions for top things to do in Vigo? Leave us your comment below!
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Stephen in London says:
I have a very quick practical question – we are planning to go on Saturday til Tuesday at the start o fMay (due to very cheap direct flights!).
Can anyone tell me if Vigo is mostly shut down on Sunday and Monday though? I appreciate, fishermen tend to have a couple of days off and these are those days! Plus shops / markets may be closed
That may mean we change our dates.
I loved this post; I am actually going to be visiting a very dear friend in Vigo December 6th to 12th. There are a few places you have mentioned in this that I would love to visit/see with him!
This is an absolutely amazing way of learning more about a place I’ve never been before (this is actually my first plane trip as well – bricking it LOL!) so thank-you so much for sharing this, David! Gives me something to truly look forward to!
Hi Emma, thanks for your comment. I’m so glad you enjoyed the article. Wishing you and your friend an amazing time in Vigo!
margaret kavanagh says:
Hi David ,I love your review ,my husband and I have just booked flights to Vigo (first visit )and we are thinking of staying in Pontevedra for 7 days ,could you let me if it is possible to get from the airport without hiring a car ,thanks for any help ,we are going 19th October -26th .
Thanks for your comment and I am excited for you two. I am sure there is a shuttle or bus service. I just did some research and it says at the airport you can book it.
I dont think you can get a bus direct- I think you would have to get the bus to vigo bus station and then get another to pontevedra. I would say that hiring a car for the week is a very good idea as public transport is not so good and there are a lot of interesting places to visit. Pontevedra old town is lovely but you can see the sights in a couple of days. if you have a car you can explore the beautiful coast and the green mountainous interior. the Ribera Sacra valley between Ourense and Lugo is an outstanding drive. Also visit Vigo old town, Cangas, Hio, O Grove, A Lanzada, Baiona, Ourense, and of course Santiago.
Robert Mykle says:
I divide my time between So Florida and Madrid. I was in Vigo 10 years ago and was amazed at the seafood. I’m actually writing a book on Hemingway in Spain tentatively titled “Chasing Ernesto.” What few people know is that Hemingway’s first set foot in Spain in Vigo December 20, 1921. He was excited as he watched the tuna jumping in the Bay beginning his love of Spain. I think it has changed a bit since then
Hi David – great articles! I’m absolutely inspired!! I’m going to be traveling in Spain for 4-5 days at the end of July. I’ve narrowed it down to Galicia as the region I’d most like to see for the beaches and fewer tourists… Or at least a less tourist trap-y environment. I’m hoping to not need to rent a car. Any suggestion on best place(s) to visit/stay with only my feet and public transportation to get around? Thanks!
Hi David – thanks for all the info on your site. I am heading to Vigo for 4 days next week with my 17 yrs old daughter. Forecast is for alot of rain! Any suggestions of what to do with a teenager in the rain?
Many thanks Susan
Roger and Pauline Randle says:
We live in Cape Town and have booked a cruise in the mediterainean stopping at the port of Vigo for one day on 27th May and ashore for 7-8 hours so do not intend walking miles taking photos etc. We would rather find a small seafood restaurant that the locals use and while away a couple of hours in the old port area. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Roger & Pauline. ( Age 69 and 67 ) Cape Town
Hi Roger and Pauline,
Thanks for writing me. Yes you should go to O Pescador.. here is my article about restaurants in Galicia: https://davidsbeenhere.com/2014/03/19/top-20-best-restaurants-in-galicia-spain/
You should get that huge seafood platter…. amazing!
Hi David, loved all your Great Information, we will be going to Vigo for 4 days on our way down from Santiago de Compostela then onto Porto finishing our 3 week journey in Lisbon after travelling around Spain. We are travelling by train any suggestions of best area to stay in Vigo, we like culture, history and good food, would also like a day to relax by the beach. All suggestions welcome. (Celebration of our Golden wedding) giving our age’s away now! Pauline & John
Hi Pauline and John I live in Vigo. Vigo is a small city and really you can travel anywhere by bus in half an hour. What about getting a hotel in the Alameda area near the port? Samil is a great beach area with promenade but be aware that it is the Atlantic Ocean not the Med so the water is nippy except in mid summer. Be sure to go to beautiful Castrelos Park which houses the museum of Quinones and to Baiona (40mins by bus) and take the ferry to Cangas. Pontevedra and Ourense also have lovely Old Towns.
Thank you Dawn for your info, we have booked a Hotel just near the port, must have known We are looking forward to visiting your home city and will definitely do the things you have suggested. Thank you again Pauline
Good article; I’d add Baiona as a great (and easy) daytrip 🙂
Yes I agree! We also visited Baiona and it’s mentioned in these: https://davidsbeenhere.com/search/baiona
Zoraida Velez says:
Beautiful picture places to visit.
thank you! Love this city 😉
Lorial Roballo says:
Hey there!! I LOVED this post! I’m moving to Galicia (from Burgos, Castilla y Leon) in July and I’m hoping I get to choose Vigo. This post was super helpful and I’m sure I’ll come back to it when I live (or visit) the city. Thank you!
So how was it? I’m planning to move to Vigo next month
Places in spain to visit this summer 🇪🇸, spanish food tour at traditional catalan market – mercat del ninot | barcelona, spain, top 10 beaches in spain everyone must visit, helpful links.
101 Countries • 1432 Cities
The 21 Best Things to Do & See in Vigo
Vigo might not be as old as other towns and cities in Spain, but it certainly offers a lot of cool attractions. Many of them are modern, and some relate to nature – so there are plenty of things to see in Vigo.
A lot of visitors come to Vigo on a day trip while visiting either Porto or Santiago de Compostela. But the city warrants a longer stay for those who have the opportunity.
Depending on how much time you have in Vigo, you can decide which of the following attractions you want to see. We will be going through all the most interesting places in Vigo below.
- 1 Casco Vello (Old Town)
- 2 Islas Cíes
- 3 Quiñones de León Museum
- 4 Port district of Vigo
- 5 Monumento a Jules Verne
- 6 Parque Monte de Castro
- 7 Castro Fortress
- 8 Rua Pescadería
- 9 Calle de las Ostras
- 10 Church of Santa Maria
- 11 Santiago de Vigo
- 12 El Ensanche
- 13 Casino de Vigo
- 14 Museum of the Sea
- 15 Naturnova Museum
- 16 MARCO Museum
- 18 Estadio de Balaídos
- 19 Rande Bridge
- 20 Monte do Galiñeiro
Casco Vello (Old Town)
Vigo’s Old Town is known as Casco Vello. This part of the city is usually considered to be the most charming one. Most buildings in Casco Vello were built with Galician granite, which is common throughout Vigo. The look of the Old Town is a lot different from the old parts of other Spanish cities, such as Barcelona and Seville. That alone makes the area worth seeing. Praza da Constitucíon is one of the squares you will walk by when exploring Casco Vello. There are also many old fishermen’s houses which is hardly a surprise since Vigo has always been known for that.
The area is great for sightseeing and for eating out. There are many nice and traditional restaurants in Casco Vello. Naturally, most restaurants focus on seafood, but you will find a large variety of plates, depending on which restaurant you choose to visit. Some of the most famous dining streets in Vigo’s Old Town are Rua Pescadería and Calle de las Ostras, but more about them later!
It is very easy to get to Casco Vello since it has a central location in the city. The district borders the port to the south, and it is immediately northwest of the modern commercial area of Vigo. Many tourists decide to stay in hotels in Casco Vello, but regardless of where you are staying in Vigo, you can easily get to the Old Town.
A few kilometers off the coast of Vigo we find the Cies Islands – known in Spanish as Islas Cíes.
This archipelago is a natural wonder and it is highly worth visiting. You can sail there from Vigo, with ferries and boats departing multiple times per day. It takes no time. The Cies Islands are very popular among the locals during the summer, and foreign tourists familiar with Vigo also consider the islands a top attraction.
Most visitors just spend a few hours on Islas Cíes. Time can be spent exploring the hills, laying on the beach, enjoying the view, or eating at one of the restaurants. If you want to stay for more than one day, it is possible. There are no hotels on the islands, but there is a camping site. You do have to book your stay in advance, though.
Quiñones de León Museum
The art museum Quiñones de León is one of the most popular museums in Vigo. We consider it to be the best one.
Situated inside a traditional manor from the 17th century, it immediately impresses its visitors. Once you get inside you will see great exhibitions of Galician art. Most of the fine arts pieces are from the 19th and 20th centuries, although there are older pieces as well. There are over 29 permanent exhibitions as well as temporary ones. While the focus is clearly on Galician art, the museum also features paintings from other European artists. There’s also more than art – you will see traditional Spanish furniture, old artifacts, and much more.
One of the great things about Quiñones de León is that it is connected to the famous Prado Museum in Madrid, so some artworks from the Prado collection are stored and showed at this museum in Vigo!
On top of the beautiful building and the interesting exhibitions, don’t forget to pay attention to the well-decorated gardens. Quiñones de León is surrounded by trees, flowers, and roses. It also has a fountain outside. You can stroll through the gardens after visiting the museum. A fascinating section is the Sensory Garden that has been tailored to people who struggle to see. This garden plays on other sorts of stimuli which is quite unique.
Address: Parque de Castrelos, s/n, 36213 Vigo
Port district of Vigo
Vigo’s port is the heart of the city. For centuries Vigo has been known as the gate to the Atlantic, and that is due to the massive port. It is the center of industrial commerce, and when you visit Vigo you will also see ferries and cruises present at the port. There is a marina with yachts and sport boats as well.
The entire port district of Vigo has a distinct vibe. The coastal area of the city centre is dominated by the port of Vigo, so you absolutely can’t miss it. It can be very enjoyable to sit down and enjoy the fresh breeze coming from the sea. There are many benches and seating facilities near the port and obviously, you’ll have Casco Vello, El Ensanche, and other cool areas nearby.
Taking a walk by the coast is a must, and there are quite a few attractions in the port districts that you can enjoy.
Monumento a Jules Verne
The most famous monument in Vigo is the sculptor of Jules Verne.
In the book 20,000 Leagues under the Sea , Verne included the Bay of Vigo, and he also came to visit the city.
The statue was raised in 2005. It was made by a local artist (José Molares) and donated to the city. It depicts Jules Verne sitting on the tentacles of a squid, symbolising his connection with Vigo.
Take a stroll down Paseo de As Avenidas by the marina and you will see the monument!
Another famous sculpture in the vicinity of the Jules Verne Monument is El Nadador (The Swimmer). It is a bronze sculpture dedicated to swimmers and it uniquely only shows the head and the arm of the swimmer. Along with the Verne sculpture, El Nadador is one of the most famous monuments in Vigo.
Parque Monte de Castro
The most interesting park in Vigo is by far the Monte de Castro Park.
Unlike other parks in the city, such as the central Alameda Park, this is hardly an urban garden but rather a hill with decorations and monuments. However, it is categorized as a park, and it is a very popular tourist attraction in Vigo. It is completely free and open to the public. It requires some energy to walk up to the top of Monte de Castro – but with some good shoes, it is doable.
On the way to the top, you have several stairs and benches where you can sit down for a break if needed. Many locals go for picnics on Monte de Castro. You can do the same. There are also playgrounds and sports areas on the hill. But pay attention to the monuments and details along the way. Especially the anchors at the lower part of the mount. These anchors were put there as a commemoration of the Battle of Rande in 1702.
There are well-kept flowers, plants, and fountains at the park, but also some wild plants here and there. The absolute highlight of visiting Parque Monte de Castro is the view you get once you are up high enough. You can look down over most of Vigo, including the port district and the water. This tremendous view is the reason why most tourists decide to walk up to Monte de Castro. And it is quite central in the city, so you can easily get there on foot.
On the very top of Monte de Castro, a huge attraction awaits you. The Castro Fortress is one of the most famous attractions in Vigo. Once you reach the top of the hill, you will see its walls. The fortress was built in the 17th century as a place to command and control the area. At that time, the British Army would frequently attack the coast, so it was the ideal place to set up the artillery and defend the Bay of Vigo.
Since it is one of the most historic sites in the city, we definitely recommend you to walk to the top of the hill and see this attraction for yourself. The Castro fortress is very impressive, and the natural surroundings, as well as the view, should not be underestimated either. It is one of the best things to do in Vigo, so if you have limited time and can only choose a few attractions to see, this would be one of our top recommendations.
Situated in the lower part of Casco Vello right near El Ensanche, we find the famous street Rua Pescadería.
It is one of the best places to go if you want some seafood! Fishermen bring in new supplies to Rua Pescadería every day. You can buy fish to bring home, or you can sit down at one of the seafood restaurants on the street. A great experience for sure.
Calle de las Ostras
In the vicinity of Rua Pescadería we fin Calle de las Ostras. This street might be even more famous than the former, as it focuses specifically on oysters. There are markets where you can buy oysters – and restaurants that serve them. Vigo is a true paradise for seafood lovers, and if that includes you, we can quickly establish that Calle de las Ostras (street of the oysters) will be one of the best places to visit in Vigo.
Church of Santa Maria
Also known as the Cathedral of Vigo and locally referred to as La Colegiata , this neoclassical church is the most important religious buildings in the city.
It is fairly new – construction began in 1811 and it was completed in 1834 – but there was a church at the site long before the current one. The original church was burnt in the 16th century by soldiers under the command of Francis Drake.
The current church is a perfect example of neoclassical Galician architecture. Thanks to the location in Vigo’s Casco Vello, it is very easy to find the church. It ranks as one of the most popular attractions in the city centre.
La Colegiata has a relatively simple yet impressive facade. It famously has a sundial on its exterior which is worth paying attention to. Yet, the highlight appears once you get inside. The Santa Maria Church has the most venerated image in Vigo – the Christo de la Victoria , a sculpture granted to the city by a Catalonian industrialist in the 1700s. The sculpture once fell into the sea, but it was rescued near the Cíes Islands, and then placed at the church. It leaves the church once a year on the first Sunday of August. This is during the Festival of Vigo, a traditional celebration where thousands of locals will carry the sculpture as they walk through the streets. It is a historic Catholic procession.
The best time to visit Las Colegiata/Santa Maria Church and see Christo de la Victoria would be in the morning or around noon. After that, you can get lunch at one of the restaurants in Casco Vello and continue sightseeing in the afternoon.
Address: Praza Igrexa, 10, 36202 Vigo
Santiago de Vigo
Another fascinating church in the city is Santiago de Vigo. It has given name to its entire neighborhood, in the eastern part of the city centre. As the name suggests, Santiago de Vigo is named after Saint James the Apostle, just like the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
While this church is obviously not as historic as the one in Compostela, it is worth seeing. Santiago de Vigo is a Neo-Gothic church with an impressive interior. It is quite dark on the inside, but it is very quiet and peaceful. If you are into churches and religious landmarks, it should be on your list of things to do in Vigo. The church is popular among the locals, although few international tourists visit. So you can expect an authentic experience at Santiago de Vigo.
Address: Rúa de García Barbón, 20, 36201 Vigo
During the 19th century, Vigo began to grow a lot, and that led to the development of the Ensanche neighborhood just east of the old town. At first, it was an industrial area, but Catalonian businessmen influenced the development of the area, and El Ensanche now has some of the best architecture in Vigo.
The neighborhood is now a nice cultural district with many great shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs. It also has a nice park, and it is well connected to other parts of the city. Locals typically go to this neighborhood when they want to have fun. El Ensanche offers the widest selection of leisure in Vigo according to Turismo de Vigo .
On top of the nice architecture, the shops, and the nightlife, Ensanche also has the nice Alameda Park which is one of the coziest areas in the city!
Casino de Vigo
Just like many other cities in Spain, Vigo has a casino. It is known under several names – Casino de Vigo, Gran Casino Vigo, and Luckia Casino Vigo – but all these names cover the same venue.
It is situated inside the shopping centre A Laxe near the port. You can’t miss it if you walk by. It costs 8€ to get into the casino, and once you’re inside you can enjoy a wide variety of slot machines, table games such as roulette and blackjack, not to forget poker which is very popular in Vigo. The casino hosts cash games as well as tournaments.
The casino has a cocktail bar, a restaurant, and some special events every now and then. It is one of the best places to visit in Vigo if you want to have some fun. It is open every day of the week, typically from 10 in the morning to 23 at night, but opening hours can vary, and sometimes the casino will stay open longer. Casino de Vigo is very modern, and they will typically show football matches on the televisions in the lobby if any Spanish clubs are playing.
Address: Centro Comercial A Laxe, Rúa Cánovas del Castillo, 1, 36202 Vigo
Museum of the Sea
As mentioned countless times already, Vigo’s history is deeply related to the sea. Therefore it comes as no surprise that it also has a museum dedicated to it – Museo do Mar de Galicia , or the Galician Museum of the Sea in English.
This museum has some impressive exhibitions. Most of them are permanent, and they show a bit of everything: Ships, fishing equipment, aquaculture, conservation, and seafood. You can browse the items related to the sea and the Galician coast. You can also learn from some of the many interactive screens at the museum.
One section specifically focuses on the ecosystem and teaches its visitors how we can assure that the oceans of the world remain healthy.
Museo do Mar de Galicia also has an aquarium with several different species of fish, so it is more than just regular material exhibitions. The place is highly modern, and visiting the museum is one of the best experiences you can get in Vigo.
Address: Av. da Atlántida, 160, 36208 Vigo
Naturnova is a museum and a cultural centre. Mostly visited by locals who come to learn, it is one of the top cultural venues in Vigo.
The museum is split into three different sections: One that focuses on the universe, one on the biosphere, and one on the environment. All three are equally interesting, and you will pass through all of them when you join the free tour on Saturday afternoons.
Naturnova is open from 1st October to 30th June – so it is basically closed in the summer months of July, August, and September. Just something to be aware of. It is located inside the Afundación Social Centre which is a major exhibition centre with other attractions as well.
While Naturnova is particularly interesting to kids, teenagers, and all types of students, everyone can visit the place, and we recommend doing so if you have enough time for it!
Address: Rúa Velázquez Moreno, 18, 20, 36202 Vigo
Vigo has quite a few museums. Here is yet another one: The MARCO Museum.
MARCO is an abbreviation for Museum of Contemporary Art. It was founded in 2002 which makes it one of the newest museums in the region. The exhibitions are centered around modern art, and it can be everything from paintings and sculptures to special arrangements and alternative art.
Many come to visit MARCO to see the exhibitions, but there are also other reasons to visit. The museum sometimes hosts workshops, events, and shows. The exhibitions regularly change, so even if you have previously visited the MARCO Museum, a new visit should never be ruled out. Their website has a list of current exhibitions and you can also see the current list of activities.
Address: Rúa do Príncipe, 54, 36202 Vigo
How about a visit to the zoo?
Vigozoo is Galicia’s only zoo, and it is an incredibly popular place for families. It covers more than 35 square miles and has species from all around the world. At Vigozoo you can see exotic animals such as lions and tigers, but also unique species of insects, reptiles, and birds.
Lots of Galicians visit Vigozoo, but it has not yet become super popular among foreigners. If you are interested in animals, nature, and ecosystems, Vigozoo definitely ranks as one of the top attractions in Vigo. Families and groups can get a discount on the admission fee, but tickets are pretty cheap in general. An adult ticket is only 6.25€ so it is an affordable place to visit.
Vigozoo is open every day of the week except Mondays. You can expect it to be open from 10 in the morning to 19 in the evening, and in the summer opening hours are extended even further. To plan your visit, find more information at the Vigozoo website .
Address: Plaza de Los Leones, s/n, 36316 Vigo
Estadio de Balaídos
Vigo is home to the popular football club RC Celta Vigo – often just called Celta.
The club plays at Estadio de Balaídos, located in the neighborhood of Balaídos a bit south of the city centre. It can accommodate 29,000 spectators and tickets aren’t too expensive.
In recent years, Celta Vigo has been one of the most fun clubs to follow in Spain. Celta has become a regular in La Liga and typically finishes mid-table in the league. Its best-ever result was fourth in the 2002/03 season. Celta reached the semifinals of the Europa League in 2017, so it is certainly a team that is competitive. Some of the most famous players to sport the light blue Celta jersey are Iago Aspas, Manolo, Hugo Mallo, Hermedita, Claude Makélélé, and Daniel Wass. While Celta always has a few foreigners on the squad, the vast majority of the players are Spanish and specifically Galician.
For as long as Celta Vigo remains in La Liga, there will be at least one match per year at a Balaídos against major clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona. If you can score tickets for a big match like that, you are in for a great experience. But watching any Celta Vigo match is quite cool, and even just seeing the stadium can be a solid experience for a football fan. Many shops around Vigo also sell Celta shirts and equipment. The main rival of Celta Vigo is Deportivo La Coruña. Their matches are known as the “Galician derby”. Historically, these two teams have been very even – Celta has won more matches in the derby, but Deportivo has won the Spanish title, which Celta has not accomplished yet.
Address: Av. de Balaídos, s/n, 36210 Vigo
This is the cable-stayed bridge that allows motor vehicles to cross the Bay of Vigo. It is an impressive sight and relatively recent. Designed by Italian architect Fabrizio de Miranda, it has a length of 1.6 kilometers and the pillars have a height of 148 meters. The Rande Bridge is very trafficked with over 50,000 cars passing every day, so authorities are looking into a widening of the bridge.
If you are going on a day trip from Vigo to Pontevedra , you might be crossing the bridge, so enjoy the view. It is one of those attractions that people rarely prepare for, but it is actually quite impressive when you actually see it.
Monte do Galiñeiro
One of the most interesting mountains near Vigo is Monte do Galiñeiro. It is a beautiful area, and you get a perfect view of Vigo and of many Galician villages. It has a height of over 700 meters and it is a popular place for locals to go hiking.
We will round off this article by looking at the best beaches near Vigo. While it is a coastal city, the central part of Vigo is dominated by the port, so you will have to go a few kilometers further down the coast before you find some nice beaches.
The most popular beach of Vigo is Praia de Samil. It is located in the western part of the city, over 1,700 meters long, in the districts of Alcabra and Navia. Several buses go from the city centre to Samil beach. On top of the sand and the water, there are some good restaurants nearby and several sports facilities.
Another option is Praia del Vao. It is just south of Samil, not quite as crowded, but every bit as nice.
There are 10 beaches near Vigo that are classified with a blue flag (which basically means they are sustainable). They are: Argazada, Canido, Carril, Fontaíña, Muíños de Fortiñón, Punta, Rodas, Samil, Tombo do Gato and Vao. In the entire municipality of Vigo, there are over 40 beaches, so you do have plenty of options. We should again mention the Cíes Islands – it was one of the attractions listed earlier in this article, and the islands have great beaches.
Galicia’s beaches are best in the summer – for the rest of the year, the water will be cold.
While you can take a bus from the city centre to a beach, it is often easier and more comfortable to rent a car or get a taxi.
There are many cool things to do in Vigo, and certainly many cultural attractions to see. This article presented you with 21 suggestions, so that is a solid starting point. But Vigo has even more to offer, so don’t forget to casually explore the city on your own, because you might find some hidden gems.
Other cities near Vigo can also be recommended. Porto is within a reasonable distance and has some incredible attractions .
A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela are some famous Galician tourist destinations, and you can also consider checking out Pontevedra – one of Spain’s most pleasant cities, less than a half-hour away from Vigo!
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Tourist Office Local
Cánovas del Castillo, 22
Tourist Information Office
Estacíon Marítima de Ría (3, Cánovas del Castillo street)
Telephone: (0034) 986 224 757
E-mail: [email protected]
Schedule: every day from 10 am to 5 pm
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Address: C/ Teófilo Llorente, 5 Phn: 986 224 757 E-mail: [email protected]
- Winter - Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:30. Closed Sunday except when a cruise ship is in port.
- Summer - Monday to Sunday 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 19:00.
Galician Tourist Information Office
Tourist information for Vigo and Galicia. Address: C/ Cánovas del Castillo, 22 Ph: 986 430 577
- Winter - Monday to Friday 9:30 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 18:30, Saturday from 10:00 to 13:30. Closed Sunday.
- Summer - Monday to Friday 9:30 to 14:00 and from 16:30 to 19:30. Saturday, Sunday and public holidays from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 17:00 to 19:00.
Address: C/Praza do rei, s/n. Ph:986 810 171
- Winter: monday to friday from 8:00 to 15:00 pm
Rias Baixas Tourism-Vigo Airport
Tourism information from the region. Address: Vigo airport
- Monday 9:30 to 15:00, Tuesday to Friday 9:00 to 21:00, Saturday 10:30 to 17:30 and Sunday 10:30 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 20:30
Tourist Information Points
At the following locations:
- Port Area (Estación Marítima.Open until 15th October)
- Train Station (RENFE. Open until 9th October)
- Plaza de España (Open until 9th October)
These Tourist information points will be open from 10:00 to 14:00 and from 16:00 to 19:00 Monday to Sunday.
Youthful Tourism Service
Local tourism information, from Galicia, from Spain and international . All about lodging, Camino de Santiago,camping, leisure time.
Address: Casa de la juventud, C Lopez Mora,31. Phn: 986 294 806
Open: Monday to Thursday 10:00h to 13:30 and 17:00 to 19:30, Friday 10:00 to 13:30
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La Liga’s punch bag Celta Vigo suffer another painful points loss to VAR
Rafa Benítez suggested physicists are needed in the VAR room after his side saw a last-minute penalty decision overturned
N ewton’s Law says force is equal to mass times acceleration. What it doesn’t say is what a penalty is, but perhaps it should. Rafa Benítez reckons so at least after his team ended another weekend in the relegation zone, fans whistling and waving white hankies while he had a quick flick through Principia on his way to meeting the ladies and gentlemen of the press. Never mind the referee, the assistant referees, the fourth official, the video assistant referee, the assistant to the video assistant referee (two of those), the TV technician, the supervisor and whoever lurks in that side-room at Las Rozas, what we really need is a physicist, the Celta coach told them; time to travel to Nasa to find the best.
Well, anything had to be better than this. On the night after Benítez had insisted his team would keep on keeping on however many times they “trip us up” and before the city’s biggest newspaper would describe them as Spanish football’s “punch bag,” just there to be pummelled, victims of a shadowy hidden hand, he lamented that this was the same old story. The fans would agree, if not solely for the reasons he offered up. “Once again we’re talking about how well we played, how many chances we had,” Benítez claimed on Saturday as they trudged home through the storm. “And how we didn’t get three points.”
This time, for the first time in seven weeks and only the second all season, they had thought they were going to, gifted hope only to be made to give it back again. On a wet, stormy night that had begun with protests and would end with them too, for a little while Celta had something to celebrate instead, a lifeline laid before them. It lasted three minutes and thirty-five seconds; the fall-out lasted a lot longer. Instead it was Sevilla who were bailed out; not, it would turn out, for the first time.
Celta had been a goal up against Sevilla, the better side until an eighty-fourth minute goal from Yousuf En Nesyri made it 1-1 at Balaídos, leaving them facing the prospect of another late, painful defeat. But they had watched, relieved, as Ivan Rakitic’s shot flew over on 91.04 and Adrià Pedrosa somehow failed to finish them off on 92.26. Down to10 men, they were at least holding on to a decent draw, Balaídos whistling for the end and erupting into a cheer when goalkeeper Vicente Guaita caught a cross on 95.15 of 96. But then something even better happened: they were handed a penalty with five seconds left.
A cross from the right sailed some way over Tasos Douvikas’s head but as it went so did he, falling in front of goal. Alejandro Hernández Hernández, the referee so good they named him twice, pointed to the spot. On the bench and around the ground, everyone exploded, embracing. Carlos Dotor, who had sent the cross in, spun on his heel, punching the air. Unai Núñez held Douvakis hard. The way it’s been going, they might miss it, but still: this was it, a shot at a first home win this season, a chance to pull out of the relegation zone. It was a little light and a little lucky – daft too – but Jesús Navas had pulled at Douvikas’s arm, there might have been a touch by the ankle too, and down in the rain Hernández Hernández had no doubt.
Up in a small room in Las Rozas, 551km south-east, Eduardo Prieto Iglesias did. There was a conversation, a couple of minutes going by, and Hernández Hernández went to the screen, or tried to through the players blocking his path, Celta captain Iago Aspas getting up from the bench where he was watching it on an iPad to join them. There, a crowd gathered round him, peering over his shoulder and putting the pressure on, trying to get a glimpse of the screen like passing fans watching a penalty through a pub window. On the screen, the images were stopped, started, slowed down, and freeze-framed. Until, on 99.30, the ref announced that, actually, there was no penalty after all.
Furious, Aspas began waving at his players to walk off. He grabbed the VAR screen and threw it to the ground, striking a blow for all that is right which will be a ban even though he apologised the next day – push a player, sure, but don’t mess with the machines. Benítez silently shook his head, repeatedly muttering “incredible”, death staring the three officials down the tunnel. In the stands, the chant began: “Hands up, this is a robbery!” In the PA booth, someone whacked on a Raphael CD and soon the fans were dancing. The track chosen: Escándalo . “I can understand why they’re annoyed,” Sevilla winger Lucas Ocampos admitted.
Reaching the press room, Benítez didn’t even allow them to ask a question before he gave his first answer, time for some facts. “Force is equal to mass times acceleration and measured in Newtons,” he said. “I don’t know how much force is needed for a player to fall to the floor. Ten Newtons? Twelve, twenty, a hundred Newtons? It’s complicated. Do any of you know? You can speak to a physicist and we can put him in the VAR room, another person working there to tell us what force is needed for a person to fall.” They could ask Nasa to provide a physicist, he added. When he said much the same to the television, the reporter said something about him keeping his sense of humour at least. “It’s not humour, it’s resignation,” Benítez replied.
“Everyone saw it,” Aspas said. “It seems like every time we raise our heads, they try to sink us again. If it happens once, you put your head down; twice, three times … but we’re 12 weeks in and it’s seven games where it has not fallen our way. How can you re-referee the intensity of a tug when you’ve already given it? What’s he going to see in the VAR? With all the [decisions] they took off us, we should be almost in the Champions League places.”
That was pushing it, but Celta have had ‘goals’ ruled out against Mallorca, Real Madrid, Las Palmas and Girona. Last week’s decision at Montilivi, in particular, was ludicrous, while in Mallorca Benítez could not believe there was no goalline technology. Two weeks ago, Celta sent a delegation to Madrid to see the head of the referees and “ask nicely” what was going on, as the coach put it. On Saturday there were already protests in the 12th minute, placards demanding respect. And then in the 99th minute, came this.
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But if refereeing decisions offer comfort, excuse and an external enemy, what they don’t offer is an entirely convincing explanation for the situation Celta are in; they may in fact risk avoiding issues at a club that survived on the final day last season , that sold their outstanding young player , and whose sporting director also works for PSG, made six signings in the summer and didn’t fill the big hole in the middle of the midfield. A club where Aspas, their everything – youth teamer, leader, captain, future sporting director, and the man single-handedly responsible for rescuing them three times – has repeatedly warned of a talent deficit. And where, at 36, even he can’t go on for ever.
It is true that Celta have been better than their results suggest. So has Aspas. He has created more chances than anyone and only taken four shots fewer than Iñaki Williams, who is top. Only Barcelona, Madrid and Sevilla have had more opportunities than Celta and only seven teams have taken more shots. Only two have beaten them by more than a single goal. When they lost 3-0 to Atlético they had more shots, in the 2-2 draw with Getafe, the tally said 26-3. Madrid only beat them with a Bellingham goal and they were 2-0 up against Barcelona with eight minutes to go.
La Liga results
Friday: Las Palmas 2-1 Atlético. Sat: Betis 2-0 Mallorca, Celta 1-1 Sevilla, Osasuna 2-4 Girona, Real Sociedad 0-1 Barcelona. Sun: Alavés 1-0 Almería, Real Madrid 0-0 Rayo, Valencia 1-0 Granada, Villarreal 2-3 Athletic. Monday fixture: Getafe v Cádiz.
And yet they lost 3-2 that game, just as two late goals, on 81 and 97, saw them defeated in Las Palmas and a 91st minute goal saw them lose at Girona, the league leaders. Fading after an hour is becoming their thing and the bottom line remains: they have won only only once all season, at Almería. For all those chances, only Las Palmas, Cádiz and Alavés have scored fewer. As for Aspas, top scorer for each of the past eight years, his totals read: 18, 26, 23, 21, 14, 14, 18, 12 and … zero. Bafflingly, he has not scored since March. It really should be temporary but it is not just that Celta are not in the Champions League places; it is that they are 18 points and 14 places away, currently going down. Never mind the Newtons, never mind Nasa, those are numbers to concern.
Besides, if that was bad, 18km away at Peinador Airport the injustice was played out all over again only much worse, a bureaucrat hidden away in an office somewhere rescuing Sevilla for a second time, beneficiaries of another bad call. When Diego Alonso’s team arrived a technical fault with their aircraft meant that they couldn’t fly, so Air Nostrum cancelled and commandeered a flight to Madrid instead booting out the people who were supposed to be on board and loading it with footballers instead. Never mind a penalty, the passengers had an entire plane taken from them, left stranded in Galicia while Celta’s opponents set off home taking someone else’s wings and someone else’s win with them.
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Local Tourist Information Office
Visitor reception centre, practical information.
- López de Neira, 8 (Bajo)
- Telephone number: 986 224 757
- Web: http://www.turismodevigo.org Email address: [email protected]
Monday to Sunday from 10am - 17pm