– Santiago de Compostela
Upon arrival in Santiago de Compostela one may be taken aback by the lack of bulls, sangria, paella, and even sun. Everything that makes up the stereotype of Spain seems to be lacking, and THAT is exactly what makes it so wonderful. When thinking of Spain, the images that readily come to mind are primarily from the southern coastal regions; this city is the cultural center of Galicia, the farthest northwest province of the country. A region once considered the end of the world by the Romans, Galicia is chock full of authentic experiences waiting to be had.
While most of Spain is warm and sun kissed, this region may not be quite as sunny, but its vivid green countryside, rocky cliffs overlooking the Atlantic, and moderate temperatures more than make up for it. Many people don’t realize the extent of the Celtic influence on the Iberian Peninsula, but you won’t leave Santiago without getting in touch with its Celtic heritage.
Everywhere you look there are Celtic symbols and legends and even bagpipes droning in the distance. Not to mention the incredible food. Paella may have originated on the other side of the country and sangria may not be so easily found as it is further south, but trade in those icons for other surprising gastronomic adventures like the famous Galician octopus with a refreshing bottle of Albariño wine, and you won’t be sorry.
If you want to get a real feel for the diversity of Spain, not only in climate but in culture, add Santiago de Compostela to your itinerary, and be surprised with all that Spain has to offer!