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Little known to travelers except as a popular cruise port for excursions to nearby Santiago de Compostela, Vigo forms an amphitheater above and around a wide ria (estuary) that is Spain’s best fishing port. Old streets wind through the port neighborhood of Barrio del Berbes, where craftsmen’s studios and small shops mix with excellent seafood restaurants serving the best shellfish — oysters, mussels and langostinos — in Spain. Shoppers seeking more stylish stores head for Gran Via and Puerta del Sol. Vigo is especially rich in rationalist architecture, which is explored, along with Avante Garde and contemporary art, at Museo de Arte ...

Little known to travelers except as a popular cruise port for excursions to nearby Santiago de Compostela, Vigo forms an amphitheater above and around a wide ria (estuary) that is Spain’s best fishing port. Old streets wind through the port neighborhood of Barrio del Berbes, where craftsmen’s studios and small shops mix with excellent seafood restaurants serving the best shellfish — oysters, mussels and langostinos — in Spain. Shoppers seeking more stylish stores head for Gran Via and Puerta del Sol. Vigo is especially rich in rationalist architecture, which is explored, along with Avante Garde and contemporary art, at Museo de Arte Contemporánea (MARCO), repurposed from a former prison into stunning gallery space. Vigo’s city website has a special section with locations of rationalist buildings. The 17th-century Quiñones de León Palace is now a museum that follows local history from the time of the Celtic hill forts whose ruins still mark the region. Surrounding the manor house are botanical gardens known for their camellias, a French garden, an English garden and a rose garden. Ferries from the Maritime Termina take passengers to the Cies Isles at the mouth of the ria, where beautiful white sand beaches are never crowded. The islands also attract birders to watch the 15,000 nesting pairs of shore birds.

Lura Seavey
About the Expert

Lura Seavey is the author of Fun with the Family in Vermont and New Hampshire and she has contributed to several Thomas Cook guidebooks, including Drive Around Catalonia, Travellers Mallorca, and Travellers Barcelona.

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Lura Seavey for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late spring through fall for beaches, early spring for camellias and garden events.