What to do in Lugo - the oldest city in Galicia Spain

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

Lugo is an ancient Roman city and a must-see when you’re visiting Galicia, Spain! What to do in Lugo? 11 tips!

About Lugo

Lugo is a city in northwestern Spain and is located in the green hills of Galicia. Lugo is considered the oldest city in Galicia and was founded by the Romans as early as the year 25. The city was named “Lucus Augusti” in honor of Emperor Augustus.

The city’s most striking feature is the impressive Roman walls from the third century. This is the only Roman city in the world that is still completely surrounded by the original walls and is therefore on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Besides the famous walls, there is much more to see and do in Lugo, in addition, it’s a great city for food lovers! Lugo is therefore a great stop on a northern Spain itinerary or as a day trip from Santiago de Compostela or A Coruña. Discover Lugo now!

What to do in Lugo? 11 tips!

What to do in Lugo? These are the most beautiful sights and the best things to do in Lugo Spain.

Roman walls

The Roman walls of Lugo are an extraordinary architectural masterpiece and one of the best-preserved walled structures of antiquity. With a circumference of about 2.1 kilometers and a height of 10 to 15 meters, the massive granite blocks envelop the old town of Lugo. The wall contains no less than 85 towers!

You can walk along the wall and enjoy a beautiful view of the city and its surroundings. This UNESCO World Heritage Site offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the past and witness the grandeur of ancient Roman civilization.

Ponte Vella de Lugo

The wall is not the only sight from Roman times in Lugo. Just outside the city center, you will find the Ponte Vella de Lugo or the Old Bridge of Lugo. This historic bridge spans the Miño River and plays an important role in Lugo’s history. The bridge is a striking example of Roman engineering and architecture.

The Ponte Vella has undergone several renovations over the centuries, but it still retains its original charm. The bridge is about 104 meters long and has seven arches that rise majestically above the rippling waters of the Miño River. The bridge is only accessible to pedestrians.

Domus Mitreo

Want to learn more about the ancient Roman city? Visit the Domus do Mitreo, or House of Mithras. This is a well-preserved Roman house dating back to the first century AD and is considered one of the most important remains from that period in the city.

The Domus do Mitreo got its name because of the presence of a Mithras shrine nearby, indicating the worship of the Persian god Mithras. The house has a central courtyard and an impressive collection of well-preserved mosaics. If you ask about it at the entrance you will even be shown a film that will tell you more about the house and the Roman history of Lugo. Very interesting!

Domus Mitreo in Lugo

Museo Provincial de Lugo

As you may understand by now, Lugo is a very interesting city if you’re into history. If you want to learn more about the city and the region, the Provincial Museum of Lugo is also a great place to visit. The building itself is an amazing sight, as it is housed in a former monastery.

Within the walls of the museum, you will find a diverse collection of archaeological finds, works of art, ethnographic objects, and historical artifacts. The museum takes you on a journey through prehistory, the Roman period, the Middle Ages, and modern times, giving you an in-depth understanding of the evolution of the city and surrounding areas.

Street art in Lugo

Time for something different! Lugo is really not just an old city, you can also find some amazing graffiti, murals, and modern artworks in the city. Although the street art scene is not very big in Lugo, there are some amazing works to check out.

A must-see is the image of Julius Ceasar by graffiti artist Diego As. Of course, this is a nod to the city’s Roman history, and it is especially good to see while walking on the city wall. This work even won an award for best mural in the world in 2022.

Julius Ceasar in Lugo

Parque Rosalía de Castro

Are you interested in tranquility and green surroundings during your Lugo city break? Then the city park Parque Rosalía de Castro is a great place to relax for a while. The park is named after the famous Galician poet Rosalía de Castro.

There are several hiking trails and many benches for you to take a break. There is also a viewpoint (Mirador Rosalía de Castro), and from here you have a beautiful view of the green hills surrounding the city. The park is full of trees, making it a perfect place to cool off during hot days.

Catedral de Lugo

The huge cathedral in the historic center is a sight not to be missed during your visit to Lugo. The Catedral de Santa María is also on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and was completed in the year 1273. Over the years it has been regularly rebuilt and renovated, making it a wonderful example of various architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque. Walking around the cathedral is really recommended, it looks completely different from every angle.

Inside the cathedral, there are beautiful altarpieces, paintings, and religious works of art to admire. There’s a small museum right next to the cathedral; here you can see even more extraordinary works of art.

Catedral de Lugo

The Camino Primitivo

You’ve probably heard of the world-famous pilgrimage Camino de Santiago. There are several routes that lead to Santiago and the Camino Primitivo (one of the oldest pilgrimage routes) is one of them. This route runs right through Lugo’s historic city center and you will see (especially near the cathedral) many pilgrims walking around.

To get a certificate for completing the Camino, you must have walked at least the last 100 kilometers. Lugo is about 99 kilometers from Santiago de Compostela, so if you get your first stamp just outside the city center, you can walk from Lugo to Santiago and still get your certificate. This a fun idea for a short hiking vacation!

The Camino Primitivo

Plaza Mayor de Lugo

The Plaza Mayor de Lugo is the city’s bustling central square and a lively meeting place for residents and visitors alike. The square is the beating heart of Lugo’s historic center and is surrounded by charming buildings with traditional Galician architecture.

In the square is the striking statue of two men. These are Paulo Fabio Máximo and Augustus and it symbolizes the moment the city was founded.

Plaza Mayor de Lugo

Plaza Mayor is the scene of various events and festivities that take place throughout the year. When I visited the city, they were preparing for Arde Lucus, a Roman festival. During this festival, everyone is dressed up and it feels like going back in time almost 2,000 years. I still regret missing it, it sounds like so much fun!

Free guided tour

Lugo is an interesting city and it is even more fun to walk around it if you know more about its history. Four to five days a week, free guided tours are offered in English with a local guide telling you all about the most interesting and beautiful places in Lugo. Afterward, you tip the guide; it’s up to you to decide how much that is. You do need to make reservations for the city tour, which can be done through this link.

Enjoying Galician cuisine

Did you know that Galicia is a great gastronomic destination? Therefore, it is a must to taste some local specialties while in Lugo. Everything tastes so pure! Make sure to try the pulpo a la gallega, this is octopus prepared the Galician way. You can often buy a portion at the market and eat it on the spot (like street food), or go into a pulpería. This is a restaurant that specializes in this dish. I myself ate pulpo a la gallega at Pulpería Aurora do Carballiño and it was absolutely delicious!

Pulpo a la Gallega

Other tasty dishes in Galicia include Pimientos de Padrón (small green peppers), empanadas (savory dough snack with stuffing), and Lacón con grelos (a dish of salted pork

Lodging in Lugo

Although Lugo is a perfect destination for a day trip, it is also fun to stay there for a night. This is the best way to see how the city comes alive at night. These are great places to stay in Lugo:

  • 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.
  • Exe Puerta San Pedro (3⭐) is a sustainable and modern hotel located just outside the city walls. From some rooms, you have a panoramic view of the city.
  • 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.

Check out Booking.com for more tips, availability, and prices.

Book a trip to Galicia

Are you interested in exploring Galicia and visiting Lugo? Book your trip now!

✈️ Plane tickets – Santiago de Compostela is centrally located in Galicia and 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 Lugo and other cities in Galicia by train. Check Rail Europe for train tickets.

🚘 Rental Car – Although you can easily get around Lugo on foot or 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.

🎡 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.

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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 Op reis met Co on this page. This article also contains some affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you. This allows me to improve this website. Support Op reis met Co.

What to do in Lugo 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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