What is Galicia famous for? Find out where the magic liesIf you’ve ever heard anything said about this part of Spain, we know they will have been good things. Visitors often rave about Galicia and quickly fall in love with this part of Spain. So if you’re asking yourself “What is Galicia is famous for?”, we can tell you. There’s just one thing to ask in exchange: make sure you keep it to yourselves!
What is Galicia famous for? 7 answers for curious travelersGalicia is a special place for us and for the thousands of visitors who go there every year. This land is home to an endless list of unique things and places, full of magic and amazing experiences that mean visitors tend to fall instantly in love with this destination.
To get you started on your magical journey of discovery, here are 7 things Galicia is famous for (although it’s also true that when you finally visit, you’ll realize there are many more things we could add to this list). We can’t deny it – this is one of the best tours around northern Spain and you’re about to find out why!
1. FoodSo what is Galicia famous for in culinary terms? The region has strength in depth, bringing you the best food from both land and sea. If you’re a food lover, you will love Galicia, with dishes that are a treat for the palate. So let’s take a look...
First, let’s look at the “land”. The most popular dishes include churrasco, which is pork or beef usually served with adobo sauce (made with paprika, vinegar, salt, oregano and garlic) and fries. However, the real star of this region is its cheese.
Galicia is a paradise for cheese lovers. Artisan varieties include the famous tetilla cheese, requeson (Ricotta) cheese, San Simon smoked cheese and others that have their own official classification, such as Arzúa-Ulloa.
Heading towards the sea, one of the best things about this place is its fresh and locally caught seafood. And, of course, Galicia is famous for its polbo á feira. This simple combination of octopus, boiled potatoes, olive oil, salt and paprika will leave you hungry for more.
Other amazing products that answer the question “What is Galicia famous for?” include empanada gallega (a pastry pie usually filled with seafood, fish or meat), percebes (goose barnacles), lacón con grelos (ham and turnip greens), zamburiñas (small baby scallops) and desserts that include Santiago almond cake and Mondoñedo cake made with almonds, sponge cake and a pumpkin and syrup filling known as cabello de angel. Are you hungry yet?!
Don’t forget, if you come to Galicia, you must try all the local dishes. For instance, on a small group food and drink tour of central Vigo you can try a range of different tapas made using Galician recipes while the accompanying walk will help you burn some calories as you go!
2. WineGalicia is not only one of Spain’s wine regions; it’s one of the best! Its excellent food deserves to be paired with unique wines and wines from Galicia with DO classification provide the perfect match.
There are five different DO classifications (Appellations of Origin) in Galicia: Rías Baixas, Ribeiro, Ribeira Sacra, Valdeorras and Monterrei. Each one produces excellent wines, both red and white, and we think the best option is to try them all... in moderation, of course!
If you agree, a great idea would be to go on tours in Galicia where you can visit wineries in the different DO areas. That way, you’ll be choosing the best option for seeing beautiful vine-covered landscapes, finding out how wine is made and, of course, tasting it. The walking and eating that are also part of the tours will be the perfect complement to your trip.
3. Camino de SantiagoWhen potential visitors ask “What is Galicia famous for?”, there’s no secret to answer number three. The Routes of Compostela represent one of the world’s most famous pilgrimages, making this one of the best things to see and do in northern Spain.
The pilgrimage to the shrine of St James harks back to the year 813 and plenty has changed on this holy way in the interim. If you decide to walk one of the routes, you will meet other pilgrims with whom you can share experiences, boarding houses, restaurants and above all, the beautiful landscape as you travel.
If you don’t want to do the complete route, why not try Camino de Santiago tours with baggage transfers or the Portuguese Coastal trail (and fewer miles to walk)? This is a convenient way to enjoy a beautiful part of Galicia while taking part in one of its greatest traditions.
4. Historic citiesThe pilgrimage ends in Santiago cathedral, where you can visit the shrine of the Apostle. Santiago de Compostela is also one of many of Galicia’s historic cities and a walk around the historic neighborhoods of the region’s cities, towns and villages is a real treat.
In term of Galicia’s cities, you can visit the world’s oldest Roman lighthouse, the Tower of Hercules, in A Coruña; a beautiful and well conserved Roman wall in Lugo; the bridges, thermal springs and Praza Maior main square in Ourense; Obradoiro square in Santiago; or a walk around the old town in Pontevedra.
But what is Galicia famous for, other than its big cities? To answer this question, we highly recommend you visit some smaller towns and villages including places such as Cangas, Baiona, Combarro, Mondoñedo, Pontedeume, Cebreiro, Tui or Viveiro. We think you’ll love them – especially as Spain’s smaller towns and villages are often forgotten gems, just waiting to be rediscovered!
5. Breathtaking natural vistasIf having cities and towns full of historic monuments is not enough and you’re still waiting for an answer to the question “What is Galicia famous for?”, just wait until you discover its sweeping natural scenes. Usually, when someone thinks about northern Spain, you might think of green fields and mountains. But it’s about so much more than that!
While hiking in the mountains might well be your thing, we also recommend a tour down the Sil river, visiting its terraced vineyards planted on the side of the hills that provide the banks for this beautiful waterway.
Galicia spans every kind of landscape, from islands like the Cíes with their white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, to rocky cliffs with endless views that take your breath away.
Another of the local vistas that have surprised many since antiquity is Finisterre, which the Romans thought was the end of the world (hence the name).
And also worth a mention is the Costa Da Morte or Death Coast, with the greatest number of shipwrecks of anywhere in the world. Despite its murky history, it is a beautiful place to visit, with a tour of Finisterre and Costa Da Morte one of your best options when planning a trip.
6. The languageAnother noteworthy thing about Galicia is its own language. Spain is a diverse and culturally rich land, and Galicia is proof of this. So if you visit Galicia and hear a language that doesn’t sound like Spanish, you’re not in the wrong place!
Galego or Galician is a romance language with its root in Latin that was spoken by the Romans in the province they called Gallaecia. The language has similarities with Portuguese but they’re not the same. So just when you thought you knew the answer to the question “What is Galicia famous for?”, you get the surprise of another language!
7. Noteworthy traditionsThis land is not only popular because of its food, wine and friendly people; it is also full of surprising traditions for visitors. One of the most noteworthy traditions for first-time visitors to Galicia is the traditional queimada, a punch that requires an interesting ritual when preparing it.
Made from a strong spirit (augardente) and sugar, revelers must recite a spell as they prepare the queimada so they are protected from evil spirits.
Other than magical beverages, what is Galicia famous for? For its many myths and legends. One of those is the Santa Compaña, a procession of souls that walk around in the night, led by a living person carrying a cross, said to be an omen signaling death. There is also the legend of Paralaia, a mountainous area with caves, which are home to long-haired women who only emerge on midsummer night, leaving the treasures harbored in their caves behind, unprotected.