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Arguably the underdog of Galician cities, Vigo is surprisingly the province's most populous, and one that can - given the chance - easily entice both city breakers and beach vacationers over to its side. Vigo's indisputable winning cards are its excellent seafood (it is, after all, the world's largest fishing port) and easy access to the stunningly beautiful Cies Islands, dubbed by the Romans "the islands of the Gods". There is a limit of 2200 daily visitors to the islands for preservation purposes, so booking a spot in advance is highly recommended (especially so during the summer). The town itself is appealing in equal measure. Alongside plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, there are a few museums worth checking out, and a good many hiking routes - the city's highest points are the O Castro, with its 2000-year-old archaeological site and panoramic public park, overlooking the Vigo estuary, and the Monte da Guía, just north along the coast. What the city may lack in architectural uniformity (its 20th-century growth happened rapidly) it more than makes up for with vibrancy of spirit, natural beauty, and a thriving nightlife.
More often than not used as a transit base or intermediate point between destinations elsewhere on the mainland and the magnificent Cies Islands, Vigo is worth a look around much more than it customarily receives credit for. With art museums, some of the world's finest seafood, breezy seaside promenades and an attractive old town, Vigo is worth lingering in for quite a while.
As one might well-expect from the world's largest fishing port, seafood reigns supreme in Vigo, and is best enjoyed as part of traditional Galician offerings such as "polbo á feira" (or "pulpo a la gallega", octopus dusted with red paprika and sprinkled with oil). There is plenty beyond fine seafood, however - "lacón con grelos", for example, is traditional pork leg with greens, and Galician "empanadas" (or meat pies).
Whether it's traditional Spanish churros served with hot chocolate, a fine coffee brew or traditional Galician desserts that you're after, rest assured you'll find exactly what you're looking for at one of Vigo's many cafe hideaways.
Start a night out in Vigo with tapas and local Albariño wine, a product of grapes harvested on the banks of Rías Baixas, or "lower rivers". The crisp, naturally acidic Albariño whites are praised for their sophisticated aroma and fruit undertones, and are said to go very well with seafood. To follow this with dancing, try old town's Teófilo Llorente and Real Street, check out one of the beach clubs of Samil and Beiramar, or head to the lively area of Areal. Swankier Alamdea is best fit for cocktails, while Churruca's rock bars attract the alternative crowd.
Basket-weaving has a long tradition in Vigo, and the craft is still kept alive by locals (Cesteiros is a street where basket weavers once lived; craftsmen of today showcase and sell their work here, too). Woodwork, ceramics, and precious metal jewellery are some of the arts still fostered and propelled in Vigo, and modern takes on ancient forms often make for very stylish designs.
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