The Romans who inhabited the area named Vicus, the city known today as Vigo. Since that time, it has flourished and developed into a scenic port city rich in maritime traditions and gastronomic culture. For this, there are several things to do in Vigo to keep you busy for several days.
The main reason why we choose Vigo was cause of the Cies Islands. We booked a hotel in Vigo, to have all the comfort of the hotel and to try everything that Galician cuisine can offer.
Being a major fishing port, Vigo has an abundance of fresh seafood, which is arguably the highest quality in Galicia. And apart from the food, the city has several art galleries and museums, water sport activities and sites.
While Vigo is a walking city, there is also a reliable bus system in place that can transport you to almost anywhere within city limits and beyond.
Below you can find our Top 7 things to do in Vigo.
1. Take a Boat to the Cies Islands
The Islas Cíes (Cíes Islands) consists of three islands out of which two are linked together by a narrow stretch of sandy beach and stand at the entrance to the Vigo estuary. This was the main reason for our visit in Galicia. They are part of the Atlantic National Park and it is a bird sanctuary. In 2007 the Guardian Newspaper voted the Rodas Beach in the Islas Cíes as the best beach in the world! It´s a place to rest on a largely deserted beach as numbers on the island are strictly controlled. Alternatively there are some amazing walks and the side that faces the Atlantic is particularly wild and remote. It´s a place which is dominated by wonderful wildlife especially rare birds, different types of seagulls and cormorants.
For its stunning views, natural beauty and setting it is real adventure not only getting there by boat but in discovering all of its charms We couldn’t get enough of it.
2. Try the sea food
Being a major fishing port, Vigo has an abundance of fresh seafood, which is said to be of the highest quality in Galicia. And from our point of view the best sea food ever. You have to try the divine oysters that are caught right in the Vigo Estuary: they’re perfect when served raw with a pinch of lemon and a glass of the local Albariño wine.
The fish and seafood in Vigo are amazing; they say that this is down to the temperatures and type of plankton in the local waters.
If you don’t know where to start, just order a mariscada: This is a big platter of seafood with crab, seafood and lobster.
If you go out for tapas then fish and seafood will be on the menu there too, in the shape of dishes like chipirones (fried baby squid) or xoubas, little sardines.
Our favorite sea food was Razor clams (navajas / navallas), Variegated scallops (zamburiñas) and Octopus (pulpo / polbo) served in abundance next to the local beer Estrella de Galicia.
3. Climb to the Castro Fortress
It is one of Vigo’s major tourist attractions, which also happens to be one of its oldest structures. Built in 1665, the Castro Fortress complex was part of citywide defense system (then known as San Sebastián) intended to protect this major port city from invaders. Unfortunately, the original city walls have long been demolished, but the remains are the testament to Vigo’s turbulent past. The Castro Fortress is perched uphill from the Casco Vello and features panoramic views of Vigo Bay and the Cíes Islands.
4. Stroll around the Old city center
Vigo breathes from the Old Town. This charismatic neighborhood is a small village in the center of a bustling, industrial city. Vigo’s Old Town is the perfect place for wine and tapas. You can also sit and dine in some of the city’s historic restaurants, savoring the best fish and seafood in Spain. Is the perfect place to eat or just have a chill evening? It seems it is also, to be the perfect place to hang out.
5. Try the ostreiras in Rúa Pescadería
Due to rapid expansion of the Vigo Bay area over the past 100 years, the port area is now a blend of old and new worlds. Rúa de Pescadería, or Fish Street, is situated along the north side of the Santa Maria Collegiate Church in the historic neighborhood of La Piedra. For seafood lovers, this is the place to be anytime between 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. It is where Vigo’s famed ostreiras shuck and peddle fresh oysters for hungry passer byers each day. Just remember to give them each a splash of fresh lemon juice and you’ve got authentic Galician street fare. In our opinion it seemed a little too touristy and quite expensive but defiantly it’s a try.
6. Take a Dip at Playa de Samil
For those who want to enjoy the Galician coast to the fullest, there are multiple beaches southwest of the city center. The largest and most popular of these is Playa de Samíl, which is a 1,800-meter long stretch of white, sandy beach that has provided locals a much-needed refuge from the urban grind since the late 1960’s. The area features plenty of modern amenities: public swimming pools, a skating rink, cafés, picnic areas and public restrooms. Beachgoers can walk along Paseo de Samíl boardwalk, which spans the length of the beach, in search of the perfect place to spend the day.
7. Visit Baiona
On the Vigo side of the estuary but closer to the ocean is another coastal town full of character.
Baiona also gets a lot of Spanish visitors in August fleeing the heat for breezier weather on the Atlantic.
Before tourism grew, the economy was supported by fishing, and there’s still a quaint old harbor that is framed by the dark green hills of the headland to the north.
Behind it, unfurling along a small peninsula to the west of the town are the walls of the 16th-century Castillo de Monterreal.
Vigo is Spain’s westernmost city, right on the Atlantic Ocean with lush mountain landscapes all around.
The city is a seafood fan’s dream, where oysters hardly travel more than a mile to your plate.
Vigo’s location also gives it a climate with temperatures up to five degrees warmer than other Galician cities.
Even so, if you’re put off by the sweltering temperatures on the Mediterranean in summer, then the fresh ocean beaches and more temperate climate in Vigo will be more to your taste.
For us it was such a delight.