While Vigo is a highly interesting city to be staying in, it would be foolish to ignore the other cities and towns in the vicinity of Galicia’s chief port. Lots of tourists decide to embark on a day trip from Vigo – and there are several good options, as you will see below.
The city of Vigo is located in southwestern Galicia which happens to be in the northwestern corner of Spain. That means Vigo is near the Portuguese border, so a day trip to Portugal is just as viable as a brief journey to another Spanish city.
Let’s have a look at the best places near Vigo.
Santiago de Compostela
Santiago de Compostela is the most visited city in Galicia. If you are aware of the history of the city, or if you have ever heard of El Camino de Santiago (the world’s most famous pilgrimage), you already know why.
According to the legend, it is the shrine of St. James the Great. For centuries pilgrims have been walking to Santiago de Compostela. But you don’t have to be a pilgrim to visit the city – you can simply take a train from Vigo and see all the main attractions as a regular tourist.
The oldest part of Santiago de Compostela is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. That includes the Cathedral of Santiago which is the most important site in the city.
Santiago de Compostela has a traditional and magical vibe. It is an amazing place to visit, and if you happen to be in Vigo or in any other city near Santiago, it is such a great choice to stop by. Even if it is just for one day. Along with a visit to the Cathedral, you can wander through the old streets, buy some souvenirs, and get a meal at one of the local restaurants.
It only takes 50 minutes to take the train from Vigo to Santiago. This is with the fastest train along the Atlantic coast – the MD (media distancia) train. A single ticket costs 9.20€. You can also take the regional train which takes a half-hour longer but tickets are priced at 7.60€.
Driving yourself will take a bit over an hour. It is also possible to take a bus from Vigo to Santiago, but taking the train is almost always easier.
A Coruña is the second-largest city in Galicia. It is known as one of the most historic cities in Spain as the city dates back to Roman times. A Coruña has famous attractions such as the Tower of Hercules and a wide selection of unique stores and shopping centres.
Unlike Vigo, A Coruña has a beach in the city centre, which makes it very suitable for tourism. Some people go to A Coruña for sightseeing, others go there to have a calm beach holiday. You can do a bit of everything.
If you want to go from Vigo to A Coruña, you have to take the same train as you would to Santiago de Compostela. You just have to continue a bit longer. It is the same line on the Atlantic Axis with the MD train. The trip takes an hour and 20 minutes with the fastest train and you can expect to pay 14.95€ for a one-way ticket.
A Coruña is definitely one of the best day trips you can make from Vigo since it is one of the most important cities in the region. But we would actually recommend staying in A Coruña for more than just a day. Maybe you can consider a weekend trip instead. A Coruña has some really nice hotels that are fairly priced, and it is a city that grows on you the longer you stay.
Arguably the easiest day trip from Vigo you could make.
Pontevedra is a neighboring city and it is located less than 30 kilometers north of Vigo. You may have heard about Pontevedra in the news or in documentaries about Spain – it is one of the cities with the best urban planning and that makes it ultra-comfortable to visit!
Many Spanish families have moved to Pontevedra in recent years. Famously, cars are strictly limited in several areas of the city, and the centre is entirely car-free. The Spaniards recognize Pontevedra as one of the cities with the highest quality of living, but most foreigners have still not discovered the wonders of Pontevedra.
Pontevedra has many interesting attractions such as the Saint Mary church, the church of the Pilgrim Virgin, the Gothic Convent, the Mendoza Mansion, and the statue of the Ravachol Parrot.
To sum it up – Pontevedra is an old and historic city that is currently undergoing a fantastic revival.
There are trains between Vigo and Pontevedra every hour of the day. The fastest one is the MD with only 19 minutes of travel time. The regional train is the cheapest to take: A ticket is 2.65€ and the travel time is 31 minutes. You can also drive, take a taxi, or take one of the many buses that connect these two Galician cities. It is such an easy day trip to make, and we highly recommend visiting Pontevedra!
Ourense is the first inland destination that we are covering so far. It is situated about 90 kilometers east of Vigo, and Ourense is primarily famous for its history and for its hot springs.
It has a population of over 100,000 inhabitants so it is about the same size as Santiago de Compostela. The city was founded by the Romans who settled there due to the presence of hot springs – locally known as Burgas. Some ruins and buildings from Roman times still remain. But the most interesting part of Ourense is arguably the Medieval parts of the city. It is full of cute and narrow streets, and there are quite a few bars and restaurants in central Ourense.
Some of the top attractions are the Cathedral, the old bridge (Ponte Vella), and the Plaza Mayor.
You can take the train from Vigo to Ourense. The trip takes an hour and a half, and a ticket costs a little over 10 euros. You can either take the MD or the ALVIA train – the travel time is about the same, so pick the one that suits you. Several buses also go there, and of course, you can drive if you have access to a car.
Lugo is located northwest of Vigo, very inland in Galicia. It is the fourth most populous city in the community and from a touristic point of view, it is a highly interesting destination!
Just like many other cities in Galicia, Lugo’s history dates back to the Celts and later the Romans. It is currently the only city in the world that is fully surrounded by Roman walls – and the walls are intact. It is a major attraction to see the walls, and they are also listed as a World Heritage Site.
Lugo also has the massive Santa María Cathedral which is also worth a visit. The St. Francis Convent and the Palace of the Arts are also some top-notch attractions.
Making the day trip to Lugo is a bit more complicated than the other places mentioned in the article. It’s farther away, and to get there you will have to pass through either Santiago or Ourense on the day. Driving from Vigo to Lugo is the most practical, so rent a car if you can. But buses are also going several times per day, so that is also an option.
As mentioned in the introduction, Vigo is situated relatively close to the Portuguese border. That means you can easily head into Portugal for a quick visit if you so desire.
The top destination would be the city of Porto.
Porto is one of the most charming and romantic cities in Europe. Located by the Douro River, Porto is famous for its port wine, Francesinha sandwiches, and cool attractions such as Livraria Lello, Casa da Música, and the São Bento station decorated with azulejos.
It’s easy and straightforward to make the trip from Vigo to Porto. Spanish train operator RENFE has a direct route between the two cities. It takes 2 hours and 22 minutes and a ticket will cost you 14.95€. The train goes from the Vigo Guixar station to Porto Campanhã. From Campanhã you should take a local train to the central São Bento station. Naturally, you can also take a bus or go by car if you don’t want to take the train – read about all the transportation options here.
Braga is even closer to Vigo than Porto is. It also gets significantly fewer tourists, so if you fancy a more authentic Portuguese experience, maybe Braga should be the destination.
It is the largest city in the Minho region, and it is famous as Portugal’s religious centre. Braga has some nice cultural attractions – most of them are very old – but it is also a city with a lot of students and it has a youthful vibe when you hang around the city centre.
Unfortunately, the train from Vigo to Porto does not stop in Braga, so you either have to take a bus from Vigo’s main bus terminal, or you have to drive yourself. The trip will take around two hours.
This small border town is great to visit for one day if you want some nice food. Tui has several awesome seafood restaurants. The town is super charming and feels like a mix of Portugal and Galicia, which obviously makes sense due to its location.
You get from Vigo to Tui by hopping on one of the buses headed to Porto. When the bus stops in Tui (check beforehand if it does), get off and spend a few hours there. There are also local buses making the route. If you have access to a car, you simply drive there – it is directly south and the trip only takes 25 minutes.