Vigo, province of Pontevedra, is the largest town in Galicia and it is located on the banks of the Vigo river. The city is home to the largest fishing port in Europe and the Pescanova fishing company (the largest fishing company in the world). The city is also located just 10 km away from the airport at Peinador. It links with all the major Spanish airports.
Places of interest in Vigo
Vigo has a lot to offer visitors, including many parks, gardens, bustling squares and historical buildings. The city also contains countless tapas bars offering all manner of traditional dishes and mouthwatering seafood. The city is also surrounded by a number of beaches. The city's old quarter (Casco Vello) is also well worth exploring, as its shops sell all kinds of local goods and there is a lively stamp and collectors market held there every Sunday in the Plaza de la Constituci├│n.
Many of the city's churches and chapels merit a visit such as the Co-Cathedral of Santa Maria de Vigo; the 12th century Romanesque church of Santa Maria de Castelos; and the 12th century churches of Santiago de Bembrive and San Salvador de Coruxo.
The city centre (The Porta del Sol) also contains some interesting buildings and monuments, such as the "Sireno" sculpture, designed by Paco Leiro. The gilded figure represents a figure that is half man and half sea creature.
Vigo is also home to some excellent museums including the Naturnova Museum (dedicated to the environment with some interactive exhibits), the Museum of the Sea (housed in an important building designed by the architects Aldo Rossi and Cesar Portela), the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Castrelos.
The region of Galicia has an excellent and well deserved reputation for seafood dishes. Galicians regard fish, shellfish and crustaceans as their diet staple and as Vigo has a huge fishing port, there is obviously a wide variety of fresh fish and seafood on offer in the city's various tapas bars. Some of the most popular dishes are: Vieira (a fan-shaped sea scallop known as the pilgrim's shell); Pulpo (octopus); Calamares (squid); Navajas (a shellfish that resides inside a razor shell); Percebes (another type of shellfish); Langosta (lobster); Langostinos (very large prawns); Almejas a la marinera (small crustaceans cooked in wine), etc.
However, typical Galician cuisine also includes a host of meat based dishes such as Lacon con grelos (salted ham with turnip heads), cured meats, Caldon gallego (a type of stew), and empanadas (a crusty pie made up with either veal, pork, beef, tuna, cod or shellfish). One of the most famous desserts in Galicia is the Torta de Santiago, which consists of a pastry case containing a sponge filling that is dusted with icing sugar and has the emblem of Santiago at its center.
Festivals and Events in Vigo
Fewer festivities occur in Vigo compared with the other provinces of Galicia as there are fewer pilgrimage sanctuaries in the city as well as less connections with saints. However, particularly throughout the summer months, there are a number of festivals that are likely to be of interest to tourists. These include: The Fiesta de San Froilan (which takes places during the first two weeks of October, and includes market stalls and culinary events); the Ofrenda de Reino de Galicia o Santisimo Sacramento (which includes traditional Galician bagpipers); Corpus Christi; The fiesta of San Juan; and Santa Mar┬┤┬┤ia (advocation of the Virgin).
A brief history of Vigo
During the Middle Ages, Vigo was a small village that was part of the territory of neighbouring towns such as Tui. During this period it suffered several Viking attacks. Vigo was not considered to be a real village until around the 15th century, by which time its population had increased.
The city was attacked several more times during the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1585 and 1589, Francis Drake raided the city and temporarily occupied it. Several decades later a Turkish fleet tried to attack the city. As a resuly, the city walls were built in 1656 as a defensive measure. This was during the reign of Philip IV of Spain. During this period the town began to develop its earliest commerce and was granted a number of privileges by the kings of Spain.
In 1702, the Battle of Vigo Bay took place and the city was occupied by British forces for ten days in 1719, in retaliation of the Spanish fleet that sailed from Vigo and attempted to invade Scotland.
In 1808, the French Army annexed Spain to the Napoleonic Empire and Vigo was finally conquered in January, 1809. However, Vigo was the first city in Galicia to be freed from French rule.
The city experienced rapid growth during the 19th and 20th centuries, with continuous urban planning changes. This has meant that Vigo is less structured than other Galician towns.