Galicia itinerary - 2 week road trip in Northwest Spain

Galicia itinerary: explore Northwest Spain in 2 weeks

Galicia is a beautiful green region in Spain that is perfect for a fun and diverse road trip. What to see and to do? Check out this 2 week Galicia itinerary.

About Galicia

Galicia is an enchantingly beautiful region in northwestern Spain. What can you expect from Galicia? Unspoiled natural beauty, historic cities, delicious food, and rich culture. Galicia’s coastline is characterized by dramatic cliffs rising from the Atlantic Ocean, picturesque bays with glistening blue waters, and vast white sand beaches. Along the coast, you can find many charming fishing villages.

The landscape in the interior of Galicia is completely different, with green mountains, rivers, and lush forests. Here you can hike through beautiful natural parks, discover streams and waterfalls, and enjoy the peace and serenity of the surroundings.

One of the highlights in terms of historical heritage is undoubtedly the city of Santiago de Compostela, a place of pilgrimage and the destination of the famous Camino de Santiago.

When you’re visiting Galicia, you’ll notice that it has a different cultural identity than you may be familiar with in Spain. Not only do they speak Galician in addition to Spanish, but the music and food are also different. Instead of Flamenco, bagpipes sound, as Galicia is Celtic in origin. And forget about paella, in Galicia, you’ll mainly eat freshly caught seafood.

What makes Galicia truly special is the hospitality and lifestyle of the Galicians. They welcome visitors with open arms and enjoy sharing their love for their region. Galicia has a relaxed pace, where you can really enjoy the little things.

Are you looking forward to explore Galicia?

2 week Galicia itinerary

This two week Galicia itinerary will take you on an adventure through a landscape full of breathtaking nature, historic cities, and a rich cultural heritage. During this road trip, you will enjoy the local cuisine, taste the famous white wines and meet hospitable Galician people. So get in your car, put on your favorite music, and be amazed by the charm and beauty of Galicia on this unforgettable trip!

Day 1, 2 and 3: Pontedeume

You’ll probably start your trip in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, as it has the largest international airport. You leave this beautiful historic city immediately. Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of time to explore it later. It is about an hour’s drive to Pontedeume, a pleasant town in northwest Galicia.

Beautiful sights & things to do

Pontedeume is a great place to stay for the first few days. The historic town itself is very nice to explore, with several medieval buildings. Must sees include Torreón dos Andrade (one of the remaining towers of the great castle of the Andrade family) and the impressive Iglesia Parroquial de Santiago.

In addition, this is also a fine destination for beach lovers with the beautiful beach Playa Magdalena in neighboring Cabanas. Hiking enthusiasts also get their money’s worth here, as the Camino Inglés runs right through Pontedeume. It is also highly recommended to visit nearby Fragas do Eume. This is a beautiful natural park with dark forests, a hidden monastery, and many beautiful hiking trails. As you can see, there is plenty to see and do in the Pontedeume area!

Parque Natural Fragas do Eume

Where to stay

There are several beautiful accommodations in this area. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Casa do Castelo de Andrade is the place where I stayed myself during my Galicia road trip. A beautiful historic farmhouse (it originally belonged to a castle) that has been very nicely refurbished. It is in the middle of nature and it is wonderfully quiet.
  • Hotel Montebreamo is a great place if you like to be a little closer to the town. From here it is only a 10-minute walk to the cozy city center of Pontedeume.

Day 4, 5 and 6: Costa Ártabra

After a few days in Pontedeume, you’ll travel up the coast and discover Costa Ártabra. The coastline between Cedeira and Cariño is a pristine natural landscape and it is home to some of the highest cliffs in Europe.

Beautiful sights & things to do

This is a place where you can easily enjoy yourself for a few days, as there is plenty to see and to do. The charming coastal town of Cedeira is one of the most important towns in this area. There is a picturesque little harbor and it has this relaxing atmosphere. You will also find some beautiful long sandy beaches here.

A little further north, you see less and less construction and more nature. You will pass a number of wildlife grids, as cows, goats, and horses wander around freely in this area. Along the coast are several beautiful viewpoints, such as Miradoiro Chao do Monte and Garita de Herbeira (the highest point). There are also many hiking trails to explore here that offer you stunning views of the coast.

Make sure to explore the mystical village of San Andrés de Teixido, which is shrouded in fog much of the year. There are several legends surrounding this village, for example, Galicians believe that if they do not visit the village during their lifetime, they will have to visit it after they die.

San Andrés de Teixido

Another fun stop is Cabo Ortegal, a scenic spot and the northernmost point of the coastline. This is near Cariño, a peaceful fishing village that has retained its traditional charm.

Do you have some extra time? Then it’s also fun to explore the coastal strip on the east side of the bay. Here you will find quaint towns like Ortigueira and O Porto de Espasante and “el banco más bonito del mundo,” which means the most beautiful bench in the world. The views of the coastline here are breathtakingly beautiful.

El banco más bonito del mundo views

Where to stay

There are also many great overnight accommodations in this region. My tips:

  • Hotel A Miranda is a small hotel and is located not far from Cariño. From your room, you have a fantastic view of Ría de Ortigueira and the green hills. I slept here myself for one night and absolutely loved this quiet place.
  • Casa Rural San Andrés de Teixido is located in the picturesque town of San Andrés de Teixido. It is beautifully situated in the green hills and the rooms are modern and stylishly decorated.

Day 7 Lugo

After your visit to the beautiful coast of northwest Spain, it’s time to head inland. You will visit the oldest city in Galicia: Lugo. Lugo’s Roman city walls are one of the city’s most striking features. They date back to the third century and are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. They surround the historic center of Lugo and have a length of about 2 kilometers. The walls are completely intact and you can go for a fun walk on top of them.

Within the city walls is the historic center of Lugo, known for its cobblestone streets, squares, and historic buildings. The Plaza Mayor, the city’s main square, is a lively meeting place with bars, restaurants, and stores. Here you can enjoy the atmosphere and taste the local cuisine.

One of the most iconic buildings in Lugo is Catedral de Lugo, an imposing Gothic cathedral with a beautiful interior. The cathedral is also one of the main stops on the famous Camino Primitivo pilgrimage route, which eventually leads to Santiago de Compostela.

Read more: What to do in Lugo? Explore the oldest city in Galicia!

Lugo Galicia

Where to stay

There are several great hotels and guesthouses in Lugo. These are some good places to spend the night:

  • Hostal ALBA Lugo is a comfortable and cozy guest house in the center of Lugo. From some rooms, you have a view of the ancient Roman wall.
  • Hotel Monumento Pazo de Orbán (4⭐) is centrally located in Lugo’s historic center and housed in an 18th-century mansion. In the attached restaurant, they serve traditional Galician dishes.

Day 8, 9 and 10 Ribeira Sacra

Ribeira Sacra, which means “Sacred Shore,” is an enchanting region in the interior of Galicia. It is known for its breathtaking landscapes, steep river gorges, and ancient vineyards that line the banks of the Sil and Miño rivers.

Beautiful sights & things to do

The main attraction of Ribeira Sacra is the landscape itself. Everywhere you look you see impressive green hills full of forests, glistening rivers steeply terraced vineyards. One of the most popular activities in Ribeira Sacra is to take a boat trip on one of the rivers. I myself took a boat trip with Sacra Activa and I can highly recommend it. Although the owner didn’t really speak English, he can point out many beautiful places and has an incredibly beautiful terrace by the river where you can taste his wines or other local products.

Ribeira Sacra in Galicia

As you understand by now, the Ribeira Sacra is an area full of vineyards. The region is best known for its Mencía wines, but other varieties are also grown. Former President Barack Obama expressed his love for the Peza do Rei a few years ago; since then, tourism has boomed here. Along the riverbanks, you can visit numerous wineries and bodegas, where you can enjoy wine tastings and learn more about wine production in the area.

Another feature of Ribeira Sacra are the old monasteries (mostly ruins) scattered throughout the landscape. These monasteries date back to the Middle Ages and have rich historical and religious significance. Some of the most notable monasteries are the Monastery of Santa Cristina, the Monastery of San Esteban de Ribas de Sil, and the Monastery of Santo Estevo.

Hikers also get their money’s worth in Ribeira Sacra, as there are plenty of beautiful, well-marked, hiking trails. You can take walks through vineyards, forests, and along the riverbanks, being rewarded with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The Camino de Invierno, the winter route to Santiago de Compostela, also passes right through Ribeira Sacra.

Camino de Invierno in the Ribeira Sacra

Where to stay

If you are looking for unique accommodations, Ribeira Sacra is the place to be. I myself slept in two gorgeous accommodations here:

  • Casa Grande de Rosende is an old mansion (it looks like a castle) which was built in the year 1511. Although not super-luxurious, it is truly a treat to sleep here. You can go exploring and discover various rooms of the house. It feels like you’re walking around a museum. There is also a beautiful garden where you can enjoy an evening walk.
  • Parador de Santo Estevo (4⭐) is a former monastery transformed into a luxury hotel with a spa. There are several beautiful hiking trails laid out around the monastery, in addition, you can also discover plenty of beautiful areas inside the monastery. There are signs in many places that explain more about the history of the monastery.

Day 11 Ourense

Ourense is a city that should definitely not be missed during a tour of northwest Spain. It’s such a cozy place! It is located in a valley, which makes it one of the warmest places in the region. Don’t be surprised to see the temperature rise by five to ten degrees during your road trip from Ribeira Sacra to Ourense.

What makes Ourense so special? One of the most striking features of Ourense are its thermal springs, which have played an important role in the city for centuries. The hot water of the thermal baths is fed by underground hot springs and attracts tourists and locals alike. One of the most famous baths is As Burgas, located in the center of the city, in addition, there are several baths in the river where you can relax.

It is also a delight to wander through the city’s historic center as it is dotted with beautiful buildings, squares, and narrow streets. The cathedral of Ourense, an impressive Gothic building, is an important sight not to be missed.

A must-see in Ourense is the Roman bridge, which spans the Miño River. This is one of the oldest bridges in Spain, and it offers picturesque views of the city and the surrounding countryside.

Ourense in Galicia

Where to stay

These are a few great accommodations in Ourense.

  • Hotel Alda Estación Ourense (1⭐) is a comfortable hotel next to the Ourense train station. An ideal place to stay for train travelers.
  • Carris Cardenal Quevedo (4⭐) is a beautiful hotel that’s located in the historic city center. It has stylishly decorated modern rooms with all the amenities you’ll need.

Day 12, 13 and 14 Santiago de Compostela

Of course, you can’t skip Santiago de Compostela when you’re visiting Galicia. It is the terminus of the famous pilgrimage route Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) and one of the most important pilgrimage sites in the world.

Beautiful sights & things to do

The heart of Santiago de Compostela is the majestic Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. It is where, according to tradition, the remains of the apostle James the Greater (St. James, or Santiago) are kept. In front of the cathedral is Plaza del Obradoiro, the city’s main square. This is the meeting place for pilgrims who have just completed their Camino de Santiago, and the square is surrounded by impressive buildings.

Santiago’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a delight to explore. Wander the beautiful cobblestone streets, see the impressive buildings, and enjoy a drink on the terrace of one of the many cozy squares.

Read more: Interesting things to do in Santiago de Compostela

Santiago de Compostela

Just outside Santiago de Compostela, you will find several beautiful pazos, which are large country houses or estates. Some of them have opened their gardens to the public and they are truly magnificent to see. Pazo de Oca one of the most impressive pazos in Galicia. The mansion is surrounded by beautiful gardens with fountains, ponds, sculptures, and colorful flower beds. In addition, Pazo de Santa Cruz de Ribadulla is also worth visiting with its beautiful avenue of olive trees and a forest-like garden.

Pazo de Oca in Galicia

Where to stay

There are many great places to stay in Santiago de Compostela.

  • Hotel Altaïr (3⭐) is where I myself slept when I was visiting Santiago de Compostela. This is a beautiful small boutique hotel on the edge of downtown. It’s located in a quiet area, but also close to all attractions.
  • Hospital de los Reyes Católicos (5⭐) is a former hospital on Plaza del Obradoiro. This unique historic hotel is not only beautiful and luxurious but also one of the most special attractions in the city.

Additional tips for this Galicia itinerary

Although you can see a lot in Galicia in two weeks, you obviously can’t do every hike or visit every beautiful city. If you have more time, you can of course add several places. In addition, you can completely customize the route to your liking. Therefore, I’ll share some tips if you prefer to visit more cities or more beaches or maybe even want to visit some places outside of Galicia.

More cities

Are you especially interested in culture and history? Then there are plenty of great cities to visit in Galicia. Recommendations include Vigo, Pontevedra, and A Coruña.

More beach

Would you like to combine this road trip with a beach vacation? That’s no problem in Galicia! There are a lot of beautiful beaches in Galicia. Off the coast near Vigo are the Ciès Islands, and Playa de Roda is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. In addition, in northeastern Galicia, not far from Ribadeo, you will find Playa de Las Catedrales. A beautiful beach with high cliffs and arches.

One of the longest beaches in Galicia is not far from Santiago de Compostela. This is Praia de Carnota and this beach is surrounded by dunes, white sand, and a crystal clear sea.

Right outside of Galicia

There are many more beautiful places to discover in the proximity of Galicia. For example, on the eastern side of Galicia you have the province of Asturias with the beautiful city of Oviedo. Or how about the ancient city of Léon in Castile and León?

In addition, Galicia is also close to the Portuguese border and you can easily take a trip to beautiful Porto, the Douro Valley or the historic city of Braga.

Book a trip to northwest Spain

Would you like to explore Northwest Spain? The websites below are useful for booking your trip.

✈️ Plane tickets – Santiago de Compostela has a small international airport. Check WayAway to find the best deals and get cashback on plane tickets.

🚆 Train tickets – Are you interested in a more sustainable way of traveling? It’s easy to reach Santiago de Compostela by train. Check Rail Europe for train tickets.

🚘 Rental Car – Although you can get around Santiago de Compostela by public transport, it is very useful to have a rental car if you want to visit some areas outside of the city. Check Rental Cars to find the best deals.

🛏️ Places to stay – I’ve added some recommendations for great places to stay at every stop of this itinerary, but you can always check for more options yourself. Check for availability and prices.

🎡 Tours & activities – There are a lot of fun tours and activities to do in northeast Spain. Check Civitatis and Get Your Guide to find the best guided tours and activities in Galicia.

Read more about Spain

Would you like to go road tripping in Northern Spain? Make sure to get one of these travel guides for more information.

Eyewitness Northern Spain

Lonely Planet Best Road Trips Spain & Portugal

I myself travel to Spain several times a year for a city trip or a fun hike. Spain is one of my favorite destinations in Europe! That is why you can read a lot about beautiful places in Spain on this website. Check out these articles as well:

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I visited Galicia at the invitation of Turismo de Galicia. I always give my honest opinion about a destination. Read more about working with Travel with Co on this page. This article also contains some affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links it costs you nothing extra, but I get a small commission. This allows me to improve this website. Support Travel with Co.

Galicia Itinerary - epic 2 week roadtrip in northwest Spain

As a girl from a small town in the Netherlands, I always dreamed of traveling. I thought it would always be a dream, but nowadays, I travel 6 to 8 months a year and I hike thousands of miles on the most beautiful hiking trails. On this website you can read all about my favorite destinations.

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