Pontevedra is a charming, small town on the River Lérez set back from the sea near where the river begins to widen out into the bay. It’s Old Town is well preserved, a smaller version of Santiago’s. A legacy of the success of its nobility with stone alleyways,elegant, colonnaded squares,granite crosses and beautiful, granite stone houses with floral balconies.A vibrant city with lots of options to try the traditional food and drink of the region.
Head first to the impressive square, Praza de Peregina at the entrance to the Old Town, where there is the Santuario de la Pelegrina, an amazing Baroque style church in the shape of a scallop shell. Pilgrims pass here on their way from Portugal to Santiago on St. James Way. Next to it is another beautiful square,the Praza da Ferrería where there is the gothic style San Francisco Church which dates back to the 13th century. This is a vibrant part of town with fountains, gardens and open air terraces perfect to sit out to have a drink. Then close-by there’s the Praza de Leña, a traditional galician square with granite stone cross and colonnades.
The town’s Museum is worth a visit for the variety of art and historic collections. Alfonso Castelao’s early 20th century drawings depicting galician poverty and the resilience of the people are of real interest. Many love to see the fresh; local produce on offer at the attractive designed covered Market, which is close to the river. A walk around the maze of streets will also lead off the Plaza de España to Alameda a nice promenade which includes a statue of Christopher Columbus, who many locals believe was born in the area !
Pontevedra is a good base in which to explore the coastline and nearby beach resorts including Sanxenxo/Portonovo or further afield at Cangas, Vigo, Baiona or O Grove.
Population: 82,549 (2016)
Area: 118.3 km²
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