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IF YOU ARE GOING TO TRAVEL TO THE CÍES ISLANDS OR THE ONS ISLAND FROM EASTER AND MAY 15 (EXCEPT CAMPERS), before buying the ticket, you must obtain the authorization requested by La Xunta de Galicia, in which they will provide you with the pre code -reserve (necessary to acquire the boat ticket).

Urban tourist routes to discover Vigo and its surroundings

by | Feb 24, 2022 | Cíes Islands

Vigo is one of the most populated cities in Galicia and is situated in the heart of the Rías Baixas. This city is situated at the foot of the Vigo ria, which enables its inhabitants to have a spectacular panoramic view from its riverside path. Moreover, it is a modern and dynamic city which offers you a variety of interesting and fun plans. 

Being such a large place, if it is the first time you have visited, you may find yourself a little lost. That’s why, in today’s article, we have decided to tell you about two urban tourist routes that will enable you to discover the most interesting parts of the city in a short time.

A walk around the city centre

This urban route will take you a short time and will enable you to discover the centre of Vigo in one hour. At the end, you will have discovered the essential areas of the heart of the city.

This route starts at the famous streetlamp on Calle Urzáiz, designed by famous Galician architect Jenaro de la Fuente in 1932. Nowadays, it serves as a reference point for many locals when they meet up with family and friends in the city centre. 

From there, we will head towards Calle Príncipe, a pedestrianised street which is home to the Vigo Museum of Contemporary Art (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Vigo (MARCO)). If you want to go into the museum, be aware that entry to this museum is free, but don’t go on a Monday because you will find it is closed! The building that houses the museum is a building with a great deal of history since, before being renovated in 1995, it was home to the former Law Courts and prison.

After passing the MARCO, we will continue along Calle Príncipe, which owes its name to Alfonso XII, where you will find several shops selling clothing, shoes and other accessories. At the end of this street, you will come to the Porta do Sol, a square that was once one of the entrances of the ancient wall that surrounded the Medieval city of Vigo. There, you will see a sculpture called “El Sireno” (Merman), a stainless steel sculpture created by a sculptor from Cambados, Francisco Leiro, and which has become one of the city’s symbols. From there, you will be able to enter the “casco vello” to discover the ancient part of the city. When you cross the Puerta del Sol, you will reach Plaza Princesa square, where you will find the Cherub fountain, which commemorates the expulsion of the Napoleonic troops after the popular uprising called the “Reconquest of Vigo” which took place in 1809. In appreciation of this heroic act, Vigo was later given the title of city. 

Delving further into the casco vello, you will also find the Plaza de la Constitución square, where you will find the Galician House of Culture (Casa Gallega de la Cultura), which was once the city’s town hall. This square is where the city’s artisans lived in the 19th century, going out into the square each day to sell their products. An interesting fact is that the streetlamp situated in the centre of the square was the first to offer electric lighting in Vigo.

If you continue along Rúa Dos Cesteiros, where some artisans still work today, you will reach Plaza de Almeida square, named after the Portuguese commander who helped to expel the French during the city’s reconquest. This square is home to the  Colegiata de Santa María church and Vigo’s Co-cathedral, a building with a modest design which stands out for its enormous mosaics. Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the most important symbols of the city.

In addition, in this area you will find the Instituto Camôes, a centre of culture and the Portuguese language which occupies a former tower-house, and Casa Torre de Ceta y Arines, the city’s oldest and most notable building which dates back to the 15th century. 

If you continue walking down Calle Praza da Igreza, you will come across the well-known Praza da Pedra, which was once known for its famous market. Nowadays, few shops are left, but new ones will be opening soon. 

Throughout the old quarter, you will find a number of bars and restaurants where you can stop to take a rest after your tour. There, you will be able to try out the typical dishes of the area and the best wine from the region.

And, if you still have some time to look around Vigo, we show you another route that you can do to discover the port!

Route around the port

If you enjoy the sea and you love to walk around coastal promenades, this is your ideal route. 

The port area is one of the most representative of Vigo given that the city’s port is one of the most important in the world in terms of unloading fish. During the walk, you will be able to see all types of boats, from transatlantic vessels to yachts and shipyards that are still in operation.

We advise you to start this route in Calle Laxe, situated at the lower end of the casco vello old quarter. There you will find a variety of restaurants with local produce which are worth a visit. 

Once there, walk along the promenade, where you will find magnificent stately buildings built at the end of the 19th century, the city’s great boom era. Walk along its streets until you reach the elegant Alameda park, situated in Praza de Compostela. This park was built at the end of the 11th century and, today, it is one of the most beautiful and peaceful of the city. Moreover, it is surrounded by cafés with terraces, in case you want to stop and have a drink.

After a walk through the park, turn towards the sea again, on the side of the promenade. There, you will be able to enjoy a relaxing walk with views of the Vigo ria. Along the way, you will come across several sculptures, such as the famous monument in honour of Jules Verne, where you can see the writer sat on top of a giant octopus. You will also find the famous sculpture of “El Nadador” (The Swimmer), which is sculptor Francisco Leiro’s recognition of the efforts of swimmers.

You will also pass in front of the Transatlantic Pier (muelle de Transatlánticos), where you will be able to enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of the entire area. From there, our Mar de Ons shipping company boats schedule trips to the Cíes Islands and the Island of Ons, ideal trips that will enable you to discover the wonderful Galician Atlantic Islands Maritime-Terrestrial National Park. In addition, we have a daily service to Cangas, which enables you to reach the Morrazo peninsula by crossing the ria in a short space of time.

Walking in the direction of the pier, you will reach the casco vello old quarter once again. There, you will be able to see the fishermen’s houses, who once secured their boats to the porticoes on the buildings.  Nowadays, the main square is home to Vigo’s fish market Lonja de Vigo), which has become one of the most important in the world. If you like, you can finish your route here. However, if you want to continue walking, further on you will find several piers where you will find lots of boats that stop to rest in the city of Vigo.

If you fancy a bite to eat, remember that you can try typical local food and drink in this area, such as the famous Galician seafood or wines with the Rías Baixas denomination of origin. In addition, nearby you will find oyster restaurants in Calle A Pedra, which are open all year round in the mornings and all day in summer. Here you will be able to try oysters from the ria, of an unrivalled quality and taste.

These two routes are ideal for discovering Vigo in one day. If you are coming for longer, you could do both of them and, in doing so, discover all of the corners the city centre has to offer. If you are coming for a few days, we advise you to read our post about what to see in Vigo in a weekend. That way, you will be able to get to know the city much better!