In stark contrast to the modern part of the city and its industrial port area, the Casco Vello enchants with 19th-century architecture, narrow streets and charming squares of the old town. Casco Vello is an easy uphill hike from the port. Some businesses close on Sundays
Vigo's Castro archaeological site grants visitors a glimpse into what the Galician settlement of today once was (between roughly 2 BC and 3 AD). Guided tours of the Castro are organized Tuesday to Sunday, 10am-2pm & 4-6pm. Hike up the mountainside to take in the ancient city from afar.
The Cíes Islands, just off the coast of Vigo, are home to one of the world's finest beaches (Rodas Beach), and are easily accessible by sea. Only 2,200 visitors per day are allowed on the islands, so do reserve your spot in advance if traveling during high season or at the weekends.
Samil Beach (or Praia de Samil) is, perhaps, the finest stretch of sand in the area, easily accessible from downtown Vigo. Only 5km away from the city centre and with opportunities for dining and relaxation (including open-air kids' pools and beach facilities), the beach is an excellent choice for a day trip.
Contained inside what was once built to become a public prison, the Vigo Museum of Contemporary Art is a local cultural center that boasts a regular rotation of exhibitions, showcasing various forms of artwork (from painting to modern design). There is no permanent exhibition, however, so do check what's on when you're in town.
Housed inside a former castle, and with splendid park grounds in its immediate surroundings, the Quiñones de León Museum is worth the short trip from central Vigo if only for its well-maintained French garden (some say, a miniature copy of the one in Versailles). The museum itself contains archaeological artefacts discovered in Vigo and surroundings.
Juan José Oliveira's 1991 creation will quite probably strike you as one unlike any other you've ever seen - the ensemble of horses ascending to the skies up a waterfall reflects the thematic concerns of Oliveira, and was partially inspired by the wild horses historically inhabiting the region.
Hike up to the top of Monte da Guía to the towns northeast and take in the panoramic view of the city of Vigo and Ria de Vigo river, with the splendid Cies Islands looming in the background. There is a scenic little chapel at the hilltop. The hill is a half hour's walk from the Vigo Guixar station.
A pleasant urban park within easy reach from downtown Vigo, with a kids' entertainment area, basketball courts, and an open-air amphitheatre (hosting world-renowned celebrity musicians a few times per year) on its grounds. Climb to the top and see what remains of the Castro.
Ranking among the finest in Vigo, this compact restaurant is one where reservations are simply mandatory - demand on the establishment's honest, quality food and impeccable service remains high on the part of both visitors and locals. The menu is varied, and one cannot go wrong with the seafood.
When asked for a restaurant recommendations, a local would, without hesitation, most likely single out A Curuxa. The stone-wall tavern is another safe bet when it comes to dining on Galician specialities and seafood, with stand-outs such as pulpo (octopus), empanada pies, meats, and more - all paired with native Albariño wines.
One wouldn't expect to find a level of creativity and finesse this high behind the restaurant's humble facade, and yet Maruja Limon will probably deliver one of a lifetime's most memorable meals: local ingredients are sourced and handled carefully to create dishes that tend to look more like works of modern art than edibles, and yet splendidly deliver on flavour.
With its modern take on traditional Galician flavours, The Othilio Bar elevates local cuisine to a level few have been able to match. It's hard to go wrong with any of the menu offerings, so pick whichever fine dish suits your fancy. To complete the experience, pair with a Galician Albariño wine.
Having set out to "revolutionise the traditional burger", La Pepita appears to have accomplished the noble goal with flying colours. Burgers served here are all exquisitely crafted, and look nothing like your typical burger joint offerings. Traditional beef, ox, lamb, Iberian pig and veggie patties available.
A Vigo classic, this longstanding, quintessentially Spanish eatery in Praza de Compostela is a great choice for a breakfast croissant, a serving of churros (deep-fried dough pastry served with thick hot chocolate), an evening glass of wine or even lunch, all to be had in the outdoor seating area.
Sésamo Bakery Shop & Lounge is a solid choice for a quick recharge or brunch in town. The set brunch menu includes your choice of a hot and cold beverage, a sweet course (yogurt, pastry or similar), and a selection of main (eggs cooked to your liking, miniature hamburgers, savoury pastries, and more). The adjacent bakery sells heavenly fresh goodies.
The celebrated local Estrella Galicia beer flows freely at the Estrella de Galicia beer hall, run by the beer's very brewers. Come for a drink if pale lagers suit your fancy (non-pasteurised beer is served, too), and pair a glass with an offering of tapas or a full meal.
The themed Australian bar in Praza Compostela is a chill, low-key place to start the night at. The vibe is pleasantly relaxed, and the outdoor area seats quite few (and is no stranger to rowdy gatherings). Serves cold beer and broadcasts sporting events, outdoors in good weather.
This popular rock bar's interior is a sight to behold: walls are adorned with US pop cultural memorabilia, and the space itself contains curious exhibits, such as a full yellow cab, a statue of liberty mock-up, an odd elephant head and (be weary - unreliable!) street signs.
Make your way to Mercado da Pedra in the historic town center around lunch time - the market is known for its extensive offer of seafood, and houses several eateries serving fresh oysters, which won't cost a fortune here. Some local speciality items and deli are also sold at the market; do expect a selection more limited than that of a larger city.
A Laxe Shopping Centre in the Vigo marina is one of the largest commercial complexes in the area, with a multitude of stores and eateries under one roof. Some local fashion labels are represented. The shopping center is popular with cruise tourists because of its convenient waterfront location.
Cesteiros is an Old Town alley once inhabited almost exclusively by local basket weavers. The traditional baskets (used historically to store seafood and produce) are now showcased at the street's store fronts, and may be purchased as a souvenir of Vigo's widely renowned basketwork.
Vaidhe is a design store comparable to none other in Vigo - it stocks one-of-kind, unique items crafted and/or designed in Spain. The assortment ranges from original post cards to accessories and stationery to some innovative T-shirt designs. It's a definitive must for worthy souvenirs.
Vigo's main commercial thoroughfare, Rua do Principe (and the street it eventually merges with, Rua Urzaiz), is lined with all manner of shops and boutiques, primarily vending international brand clothing. There are quite a few cafes and eateries here, and the Modern Art Museum in the way of attractions.
The Vigo–Peinador Airport is located just 10 kilometres away from the city. It serves several airlines, and connects Vigo to multiple locations across Spain and several destinations abroad. To rech Vigo downtown, use the public bus (L9A runs every day of the week), hire a cab or rental car. Vigo is also well-connected by land: reaching the city is easy via Spanish cities of Madrid, A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, or from the north of Portugal.
Spain can be visited visa-free for up to 90 days by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Israel, UAE and most countries in America. If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for a visa, we recommend contacting the embassy or consulate in your country. International (non-Schengen) travelers need a passport that is valid for at least 3 months after the end of their intended trip in order to enter the Schengen zone. Citizens of Schengen countries can travel without a passport, but must have a valid ID with them during their stay.
Within Spain, Galicia is considered to be the "rainy region", but this is relative to the rest of the country, characterised by a very sunny, favourable climate. The best time of year to visit Vigo is between June and August, when daylight hours are long and warm temperatures allow visitors to take full advantage of the area's beaches.