For me, Vigo has always been the perfect choice for traveling to the Rias Baixas region in the North of Spain. Probably that’s the reason why I chose to tell you about the best beaches in Vigo before I told you what you shouldn’t miss or why you shouldn’t skip Vigo when traveling to Galicia.
But many of our friends out there have been asking us a lot of questions about how it is to visit Vigo or why live here. So here you have our:
5 GREAT REASONS TO VISIT VIGO ON YOUR TRIP TO RIAS BAIXAS – GALICIA
A powerful Live Music scene
As far as I remember, Vigo has been a city of music lovers and entrepreneurs. In the 80’s Vigo was home to the Movida movement and in the 90’s it was Hard Techno destination (one of the few stops of the Bakalao route outside Valencia); but, even back in the XIII Century, it was the destination for Martim Codax and his Cantigas de Amigo.
Today, many clubs have live music concerts with indie groups from around the world. It’s even one of the few cities in Spain to keep a Radio Show to promote locally produced music and artists. It’s called Maketón, and it’s been live for over 25 years now. (Also a great spot to know what’s going on in Vigo and other places nearby.)
Some of the most famous concert / music spots in Vigo are “La Iguana Club” (Rock-Indy), “Fábrica de Chocolate” (Rock-Indy), “El Contrabajo”(Jazz), “La Pecera”(different styles), “El Ensanche” (Jazz), “Transylvania Metal Pub” (Heavy – Rock).
Yes. You can also listen to canned music and electrolatino in Vigo, there’s an amazing night life!
Location perfect for all sorts of travelers
When thinking of a place to stay in RiasBaixas, there are plenty of options to choose from. But Vigo has something that has won us over the years: it has the goods of big cities (night life, shopping, culture & arts, infrastructure) and is close to everything by public transport.
Vigo is an strategic point at the Ria de Vigo: the perfect spot to enjoy the landscapes and the sunsets behind Cies Islands, but it doesn’t require you to rent a car if you don’t want to.
Cíes, Cangas and Moaña beaches are connected by ship to Vigo. Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña and Ourense, by train. Smaller towns like Baiona and the beaches of Nigrán, by bus… Or you can use the roads and highways that start here to explore more.
City of legends and spies
Being one of the major harbours in the north of Spain, Vigo has been the destination of many and more travelers. No wonder why history here has also been full of pirates, spies and legends.
Take a look at the Ria and imagine the big pirate vessels that sacked the town on the times of Sir. Francis Drake. Now look again and imaging Captain Nemo and Jules Verne below the waters, looking for the lost treasure that sunk at the battle of Rande.
Walk through Montero Ríos and the old Hotel Continental (now AC Hotel) and imagine Mata Hari, the most beautiful and enigmatic spy of the XIX Century, having coffee by your side.
New and traditional food
You might not be a disco dancer, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy hoping from one bar to another to taste the flavours of the Galician Cuisine. Try informal dinner at Casco Vello and its tascas and tabernas, like Taberna A Mina with its caramuxos (sea snails) and mussels.
Another great gastro point can be visiting the Fish Market and the harbour. But if you don’t want to get up too early or don’t have time enough to get access granted, step into O Progreso market for street food and fresh products. Or go directly to the huge offer of traditional galician food like Esperanza, Timón or Mosquito at the old quarter (Casco Vello.)
But if you feel like finding out more about what new cooks are doing here: go to Maruja Limón (1 star Michelin), Ruxe Ruxe, La Trastienda del Cuatro or Othilio Gastro Bar.
Galicia is a land of green nature, blue seas and amazing traditions. And Vigo has a bit of that too, but also it’s a great place for culture. Here you will find the Laxeiro collection, the museum at Pazo Quiñones de León and many more museums and art galleries with some of the best exhibits in Galician and Spanish art.
But it is also a landmark for urban culture, with the most important street sports festival in Europe: O Marisquiño. The festival takes place in August, welcoming over 120.000 people from around the world, who come here to see the competitions. There are all sorts of urban sports, including skate, BMX and dirt Jump, some of which have their World Cup series here.
You will also find urban art all around Vigo. Just a couple of years ago, the town hall, artists and building owners got together to paint the city with murals of many different styles. From graphic designers to graffiti writers and more “traditional” painters, they are adding new designs each year.
Some extra info
Vigo is on a steep slope but you can connect many of these spots by bus (with the exception of El Castro Mountain). The other option is to use a car, which will also be helpful to explore the small villages and interesting sites nearby (Cangas, Baiona, Mondariz…) or to visit Pontevedra.
There are several private parkings available around town and many public parking areas (pay, but weekends are free.)
How to get there
By train: Renfe operates direct trains from A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela and even Madrid and Barcelona on a daily basis. Connecting trains with Portugal (via Porto) are also available
By plane: Vigo has its own airport (VGO), next are: Santiago de Compostela (SCQ 101km) and Porto (OPO 150km)
Camino de Santiago: via the Portuguese Way.