Santiago de Compostela is a magical place to visit in winter. The Christmas lights, the decorated shop windows and all the great seasonal things to eat make this one of the best times of the year to visit Santiago!
Santiago’s historic center isn’t teaming with tourists because the pilgrimage or Camino of Santiago is much more difficult to do in wintry weather. So it’s the perfect season to plan a trip to the Galician capital to rub shoulders with the locals and see the city in a more authentic way. Here’s some fun ideas for things to do in Santiago in winter!
Enjoy a delicious cup of Spanish hot chocolate
It’s no secret that we love this traditional Spanish breakfast treat! The great thing about it is that you can enjoy it at any time of the day. Thick, sweet Spanish hot chocolate is a meal on its own, but don’t forget to order the crispy-fried churro doughnuts to dip into the chocolate. It’s a match made in heaven and the warming chocolate drink and just-fried doughnuts are the perfect treat in Santiago in winter! Try some of the best at Café Metate (Rúa do Preguntoiro, 12) in Santiago’s historic center.
If that sounds good, try some delicious Galician chocolate on a Hidden Santiago Food & Market tour with us at a family-run chocolate shop! We’ll visit the market as well as five other local eateries to get an authentic taste of the city!
Take a walk around Belvis Park
A favorite local park on the edges of the historic center of Santiago; Belvis Park is a nice place to take a relaxing walk. Don’t miss the picturesque As Trompas path and the views of the city from its gentle hills. You’ll see the Convent of Belvis and the Seminary bordering the park making it a great place to hang out and have a picnic or just a stroll! A fun idea for things to do in Santiago in winter!
Explore the quaint local shops
Everyone loves to shop on vacation. There’s always something you’d like to take home to remember that special place or family trip! Head to Rúa do Preguntoiro in the heart of Santiago for a great selection of local shops selling everything from high-quality Spanish leather shoes, spices, children’s clothing and even a specialist occasion dress shop! There’s lots of pastry shops along the way too, so you can always stop for a quick bite while shopping!
Indulge in a traditional Galician winter dish
Galician food is top-notch and in winter locals indulge in home-cooked comfort dishes that they’ve been eating since childhood! A particular favorite is cocido. A dish whose name literally means ‘boiled’ and is quite apt because all ingredients are boiled in this dish. It’s a dish usually shared amongst friends or family and includes; chorizo, pork shoulder, ears and other parts of the pig, cabbage, turnip tops, chickpeas and potatoes. Pile everything high on a silver platter, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with spicy paprika. If that doesn’t set you up for an afternoon siesta nothing will!
Insider’s tip: Look out for restaurants which advertise the dish with a notice in the window, it usually says ‘Hay Cocido’ or cocido is available, as most places only have it on the menu one day per week in winter. This is a great dish to enjoy the best local food of Santiago in winter.
Discover Santiago’s fascinating history
You can’t leave Santiago without delving a bit deeper into its history and culture. A great place to do that is the Pilgrimage Museum next to the Cathedral of Santiago. It’s perfect to get to grips with the importance of the pilgrimage to the city over the centuries and how it all started! A must-visit for those who want a real understanding of the Galician capital beyond scallop shells!
Food is a great way to get to know a place and explore the real culture and history of the city. Take a food tour with us of Santiago in winter and we’ll take you to off-the-beaten-track places loved by locals to try authentic Galician dishes, wines and desserts made by passionate Galicians. Tours run Monday to Saturday so there’s lots of opportunities to join the fun!