Vigo Travel Guide

Surrounded by gentle dunes, powdery white sand and verdant hills, Vigo is the biggest fishing port in the world and the largest city in Galicia, where every corner holds the salty tang of the Atlantic. A strong maritime flavour pervades the natural port through its old fishing districts, coastal fortifications and spectacular seafood, meaning visitors to the emerald northwest of Spain can unwind completely in a way that's only possible by the sea.

The partially preserved fortifications of the city were built in 1656 to prevent Turkish invasion. These days, they can be viewed at sites such as the Castro Fortress, which is surrounded by gardens and offers spectacular views over the port it once defended. The city's historical quarter (Cidade Vella) centres on the old maritime neighbourhood of O Berbes, which lies near the port. Here, travellers will find a labyrinthine network of narrow streets that reveal hidden historical gems, such as the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria. It was built on the remains of a Gothic church said to have been burnt down by the explorer and privateer, Sir Francis Drake, who was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe.

The main attraction of Vigo, however, is the coastline itself, as the Vigo Estuary is blessed with numerous white-sand beaches, many of which are Blue Flag accredited and connected by pretty coastal walking trails. The bustling port also has a wonderful food scene of cosy taverns, tapas bars, grills and high-end restaurants, and offers ferries to nearby towns such as Cangas and Moana. Boat trips are available to the rugged, unspoilt Cies Isles, which have pristine beaches that form part of the National Park of the Atlantic, and are home to thousands of migratory birds.