The final destination of the Camino: the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the most outstanding work of Romanesque art in Spain. It brings together all of the St. James Ways (Caminos) that, for centuries, have led Christian pilgrims to the tomb of Saint James the Apostle.
A door that is only opened in certain years
This open door is the Holy Door (Puerta Santa) or Door of Forgiveness. The door was made and installed here in the 16th century, and is only opened in Jubilee Years: years in which the feast day of Saint James, July 25, falls on a Sunday.
The O Cebreiro ethnographic museum: a journey into the past
As well as being the gateway to the French Way (Camino Francés) in Galicia, O Cebreiro is a hamlet shrouded in legend, whose ancient buildings (including fascinating, unique traditional dwellings known as pallozas) make it a rich source of historical information.
Ancient buildings that provided protection from the cold
Pallozas are houses that may have originated in the Late Middle Ages. They show how humans adapted to hostile conditions in the mountains. Each palloza contains everything you would need to spend the winter indoors, without having to venture outside.
Santa Eulalia de Bóveda: a Roman shrine …
Santa Eulalia de Bóveda is a late-Roman church, built in the 3rd century. It is in the parish of Santalla de Bóveda de Mera, around eight miles from Lucus Augusti, as Lugo—which oversees the parish—was formerly known. Originally dedicated to the goddess Cybele, it was later converted to a church devoted to Saint Eulalia.
… hidden beneath a church
The building sits below the parish church. Its unusual structure and the quality of its decorative features—both paintings and sculpture—make it one of the most interesting pre-Romanesque buildings in the entire Iberian Peninsula. It is located along the Camino Primitivo.
The Tower of Hercules: a Roman lighthouse that is still used today
The Tower of Hercules is the oldest Roman lighthouse in the world, and the only one that is still in operation. Probably built in the second half of the first century, by an architect from Coimbra called Gaio Sevio Lupo, its light has guided sailors ever since.
A beam of light marking the beginning of the Camino
The Tower of Hercules stands on the northern coast of the peninsula of A Coruña, on a hill that is 164 feet high. Pilgrims would keep an eager lookout for a glimpse of this lighthouse, which symbolized the end of their perilous sea crossing and the beginning of theirpilgrimage on land to Santiago de Compostela via the English Way.
The rich artistry of the Church of Vilar de Donas
The wealth of outstanding works of art in the Church of Vilar de Donas on the Camino Francés makes it one of Galicia's most beautiful and unique Romanesque churches. The works include the Gothic frescoes on the walls of the apse, painted for the Compostela Holy Year in 1434.
The only vestiges of the old monastic cloister are the three-pointed arches along one side of the portico, in front of the church's western facade. There are references to this cloister in historical documents.
This monastery on the Northern Way (Camino del Norte) is one of the most outstanding historic buildings on the Camino. The monastery has provided hospitality to pilgrims, from the earliest days of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela to the present day.
An opulent center of power
Originally built in around the 10th century, it was reclaimed in 1142 by a community of Cistercian monks who turned it into the first center of the Cistercian Order in Spain. For centuries, rooms at this monastery were so spacious and luxurious that before ownership of it passed into their hands, the new archbishops of Santiago de Compostela used to stay here, along with their entire entourage.
Mondoñedo Cathedral: a historic landmark
In the town of Mondoñedo, pilgrims will find the largest historical site on the Camino del Norte in Galicia. Work on its cathedral began in the early 13th century, in a subdued, austere style that was similar to Cistercian architecture of the same period.
A kneeling cathedral?
Mondoñedo Cathedral has two unusually short Baroque towers that are unlike the high, almost sky-scraping towers that we tend to associate with this type of building. This unique feature has led to the cathedral being affectionately called Catedral Arrodillada (the Kneeling Cathedral).
The Church of Iria Flavia: a window to another age
The Church of Santa María la Mayor (Saint Mary Major) on the Portuguese Way (Camino Portugués) is one of Galicia's oldest churches. The church stands as an important reminder of the history of this town, as well as of the churches and architectural styles that came before it.
The roots of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
This church was the seat of the bishopric before it moved to Santiago de Compostela in 1095. It was a bishop of Iria Flavia, Theodemar, who is said to have discovered the tomb of the apostle Saint James. This event led to the origin of the city of Santiago de Compostela, and the beginning of the pilgrimage to the city in medieval times.
The Cathedral of Santa María de Tui: an imposing fortress …
Pilgrims following the Portuguese Way will come across this cathedral, close to the Portuguese border, standing atop a rocky hill alongside which the mighty Miño River flows. The cathedral is evocative of an imposing fortress, with its blend of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
… with a beautiful Medieval cloister
Cloisters were enclosed spaces around which a series of rooms were arranged. These rooms had a variety of functions, and were used for administrative, funerary, or meditative purposes. This cloister is unique as the oldest in Galicia, dating to the first half of the 13th century.
Lugo Cathedral: Romanesque …
This elegant church on the Primitive Way (Camino Primitivo) provides a complete journey through history and Galician architecture, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Work on the cathedral began in 1129, and its design was typical of 12th-century Romanesque architecture.
… as well as Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical
That said, in common with many other cathedrals, the building underwent numerous alterations over the centuries with Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical additions to its original Romanesque structure. These additions meant that work on the cathedral was not completed until the late 19th century. These modifications, carried out over the years, have turned the cathedral into a melting pot of architectural styles that reflect the city's history.
Ourense Cathedral: a cathedral on the Silver Way (Vía de la Plata)
Ourense Cathedral is one of Spain's greatest Romanesque churches. Built in the 12th century, it still retains part of its original resemblance to a fortress, with towers and a chemin de ronde. One of the most striking features inside the cathedral is its lantern tower. This is located above the altar, and has 16 large windows that let in natural light.
The Portal of Paradise: a story set in stone
The Portal of Paradise is one of the most beautiful examples of late Romanesque stone carving. Its breathtaking, captivating polychrome is a symphony of color on the portal's stonework, with arches featuring apostles, prophets, and the Elders of the Apocalypse playing their musical instruments.
A future rooted in history
The hostel in Vigo, on the Camino Portugués de la Costa (Coastal Portuguese Way), became part of the network in 2021. Located in O Berbés, which is the city's former fishing port, it occupies two connected buildings, with facilities laid out across each of its six floors.
Lugo's Roman wall: an architectural milestone
Spanning over 1.2 miles, the Roman walls of Lugo are a milestone of late Roman architecture. Successive renovations have made this the best-preserved defensive city wall of the Western Roman Empire. It is located along the Primitive Way.
A wall with 10 doors
The Porta Miñá is a Roman door, and has undergone fewer alterations than the others. Its name comes from the fact that it naturally exits toward the Miño river. Until the 19th century, the hollow interior of the guardhouse was used as a chapel.