Vigo is the largest city of the of Galicia region and is located on the Vigoria, a coastal inlet formed by a drowned river valley.
Vigo is the largest city of the Autonomous region of Galicia in Spain, with around 300,000 habitants. Vigo city is located on the Vigoria, a coastal inlet formed by a drowned river valley that is open to the sea. Galicia is located in the Northwest of Spain, above Portugal, and shares coastline with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Bay of Biscay to the north. The city of Vigo is located in the southwest of Galicia, on the Atlantic Ocean. Vigo has a mild average annual temperature of 15 °C (59 °F) with warmer summers and milder winters, similar to the Pacific Northwest region of North America.
Vigo is a leading Galician industrial area, with important car factories like PSA Peugeot Citroën, shipyards and the auxiliary industry. The city is also one of European finest fishing ports and is home the Pescanova fishing company and also the European Fisheries Agency Headquarters. Vigo is home to some of Spain’s best shellfish, a great place to dine on prime oysters, plump mussels and prawns.
Vigo’s port is a common stop for many cruise lines as ships are in route between the Mediterranean Sea and northern European ports. Just off the coast in the bay are the Cíes Islands which were declared a Nature Reserve in 1980 and were included in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park in 2002. In 2007, The Guardian Newspaper declared Rodas Beach of the Cíes Islands ad the “most beautiful beach in the world”. The islands can be reached via ferry from the Vigo port terminal
Just a short trip from Vigo is one of Europe’s most revered historic pilgrimage sites called Santiago de Compostello. The city’s Cathedral is the main attraction and the pilgrim’s destination, as it has been throughout history as part of the 9th century Way of St. James’ pilgrimage route. Below the high alter of the cathedral are the enshrined remains of St. James the Apostle. Additionally, the old town of Santiago de Compostello was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985.
On Paseo de Alfonso XII, one can view the olive tree that is the symbol of Vigo which was bestowed upon the city by the guardians of the Roman Catholic religion. In the 7th century the tree was planted outside the Colegiata de Santa María church by the Knights Templar. In 1816 the temple was destroyed and the olive tree cut down. Manuel Ángel Pereyra salvaged a cutting of the tree and planted it in a garden in the Puerta del Sol. The olive tree on Paseo de Alfonso is said to be a descendant of the original 7th century Knights Templar olive tree.
The Pazo de Quiñones de León is Vigo’s main musuem located in Castrelos Park. The 17th museum is typical Galician aristocracy manor house that displays a wide range of artifacts and art from Vigo’s long history. The building is surrounded by a series of beautiful botanical gardens with ponds, fountains and various bird species. Both the museum and botanical gardens are free to visit. Other museums of interest in Vigo include the Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the most important in Spain, the Naturnova Museum, dedicated to the environment and the Sea Museum, designed by famous architects Aldo Rossi and Cesar Portela.
For art lovers, Vigo offers many options. The Casa das Artes in Vigo is the main center for temporary exhibitions and is the headquarters of the Laxeiro Foundation and the Luis Torras Collection. The permanent exhibition Espacio Colección Caixanova is located in an exceptional 19th century building and features important Galician artists from the last 150 years.
In Vigo, one can enjoy the city’s contemporary architecture, art, gardens and winding old streets in the Casco Vello historic center, lined with shops and seafood restaurants with beautiful views. Another great area to explore in Vigo is the Barrio del Berbes, the old port area with stone streets. Other main sites to visit include the castle and park on top of Mount Castro, the beaches along Avenida de Galicia, the Puerta del Sol area, Santa Maria de Vigo Cathedral, Principe Street and the 12th century churches: Santa Maria de Castelo, Santiago de Bembrive and San Salvador de Coruxo.