A day in Pontevedra, Galicia
By Martin Lambert of galiciaguide.
We travelled to Pontevedra (Galicia) from the A Coruña region, a scenic journey of about two hours.
To a visitor, entering Pontevedra is slightly confusing, partly because there is more than one route into the city, but also because Pontevedra operates some one way systems that you can inadvertently get caught up in.
Once parked up, Pontevedra is an easy and accessible place to explore. Although a provincial capitol, it is on a much more manageable scale than say A Coruña and wearing out shoe leather is the best way to get around. If you initially head for the alameda, you will find a small tourist cabin that has some basic guide maps, including hints on where to go and what to see. We decided to follow the map's "recommended" route and wondered around ticking off the sightseeing attractions one by one. It may not be the most adventurous of approaches, but it ensures that you miss very little.
What we saw in Pontevedra
Like most Galician cities, Pontevedra has an historic old town and much of what you would want to see is in this relatively compact area. The alameda itself has some impressive buildings and statues and, at the time of our visit, the temporary addition of many small stalls connected with the August festivities.
For us, the high point of Pontevedra was not so much a specific building, although the old district has many of note, but the squares and plazas that seem to appear at every turn. More than one are worthy of mention and the Teucro, with its many examples of heraldic stone carvings, was one of the first we encountered.
The pinnacle of Pontevedra, or so it appeared to us, was in the area of the Ferrería square. This spot is actually made up of a collection of interconnected squares and holds the famous Pilgrim's church and the church of St. Francis. There is also a wealth of cafes and bars nearby, so this location offers a good opportunity to take a break and sample some local tapas.
Back on the tourist trail there are plenty more sights to see, not least of which are the exhibits at Pontevedra's museum buildings. The three main buildings are in close proximity to one another, but there are also some stone shields and tomb stones in the San Domingo ruins at the end of the alameda.
As is always the case in Galicia, just walking through the old quarter provides the opportunity to see a wealth of architectural styles and Gothic, Romanesque and Neo-classical designs are all well represented. The scale of buildings also covers all spectrums, from the massive structures around the alameda to small town houses that you can easily miss.
All told, we enjoyed our day in Pontevedra, there was plenty to see and the air of unadulterated tourism that lingers over Santiago was pleasantly amiss.
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