Galicia is the wettest and greenest region of Spain, and world famous because of its capital city Santiago de Compostela. Yearly many travellers undertake the 'Camino de Santiago' pilgrimage. Because of its very different climate, its coast is far less developed touristically than the better known Costas in the east or south of Spain. So much so that the locals use primarily their own version of the spanish language. This area maintains a strong sense of its celtic and pre-historic roots. Dotted around the region are ruined settlements left behind by these civilisations and in many places celtic symbols are present still.
Most of inland Galicia is hilly or mountainous. The main coastal feature is the ría (wide estuary with steep sides). The Rias Altas (High Rías) flow into the north coast and the Rías Baixas to the west.
Galicia is bordered to the south by Portugal, and to the east by Asturias and Castile and León. It has four provinces: A Coruña, Lugo, Orense and Pontevedra.
Weather in this part of Spain is cooler and wetter compared to places to the south, east and central parts of the country. Summers last from late May to September when temperatures are around 22 °C to 26 °C on average during the day while nights average around 12 °C to 15 °C. Winters are from late November to early March when it's about 10 °C to 15 °C during the day and nights are quite cold with 4 °C to 6 °C. Precipitation is mainly concentrated in the colder half of year and from October to April you can expect some rain on about half of the number of days. Summers are better with 6-8 days with some rain. Usually, the coastal areas are somewhat cooler in summer, a little milder in winter but have more rain throughout the year. Areas in the centre and eastern inlands are a bit warmer and drier.
Santiago de Compostela Airport is located near the city and is the most important hub if you arrive by plane.
Quite a few airlines serve the city. Ryanair flies to and from London, Alicante, Frankfurt, Madrid, Rome and Reus (near Barcelona). Vueling fly from London Heathrow to airports at Vigo and A Coruña .Several other airlines have flights to destinations in Spain like Palma de Mallorca, most of the Canary Islands (mostly with Air Europa, Bilbao, Valencia, Barcelona and Malaga. Vueling has flights to Paris as well and there are seasonal flights with Aer Lingus to Dublin and with other airlines to Buenos Aires and Caracas, which gives you an idea of the importance of this city for catholics!
Trains to Madrid take 8 to 9 hours and you can either choose to travel by day or night. At least six or trains go daily to Ourense and one to Irún, on the French border, via León, Burgos and San Sebastián.
Check the Spanish Railway website for details regarding schedules and prices.
ALSA offers many connections from Santiago de Compostela to Madrid, Salamanca, Caceres, Seville, Barcelona, Lisbon, Porto, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels and Zürich.
Eurolines has buses througout Spain and Europe as well.
Probably the best option for this region, especially in more rural areas. The AP (Autopista) number 9 connects Santiago de Compostela with Pontevedra and A Coruna, but it is a toll route. There is a slower tollfree road as well though.
Given it's seaside location, seafood is a common occurence with options such as Pulpo a la Gallega (octopus tentacles with paprika), Empanada (either fish or meat pie) and Centolla (essentially King Crab).
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