Lugo's patron saint festivities, the Fiestas de San Froilán, are Galicia's most visited… and they last almost the whole first fortnigth of October. 

During those days Lugo's inhabitants convert to one religion: that of theatre, music, open-air dancing, street bands… and tapas! For many, the best in Galicia, especially the tasty gastronomic specialities: octopus “á feira”, “carne ao caldeiro” (spicy boiled meat) and the delicious traditional desserts of Lugo.

Lugo is also and, above all, a city with a splendorous Roman past, which is evidenced by its Wall which is a World Heritage Site, its Roman Baths or its Roman Bridge.And do not forget to visit its Cathedral and its Virgen de los Ojos Grandes (Our Lady of the Large Eyes), a beautiful medieval polychrome stone sculpture. And to get your strength back, a tapa and a glass of Mencía wine at one of the busy taverns in the historic quarter.

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Essential

Visitors to Lugo should not leave without having walked part of the route that starts at the Visitors' centre of the "Terras do Miño" Biosphere, along the banks of the Fervedoira river, running along some 18 kilometres of the left hand shore of the Miño until reaching the mouth of the river Neira.

Here it is possible to admire the beauty of the river bank and the natural exuberance of the most important river in Galicia, and the different tributaries that branch off from it. In Lugo itself, forming a part of this route, is the Miño Park, a charming riverside walk covering the section between the road to Madrid (N-VI) and the left bank of the river, from the A Ponte district as far as A Tolda where it meets the river Fervedoira, with the peri-urban park of O Rato continuing along its banks.

The whole circuit is laid out beneath the shadow of local tree species. The most accessible area starts from the Spa, where we may also visit the Roman baths. The gentle flow of the Miño accompanies us along this section of the park, which is designed in three areas: one for pedestrians, following the line of trees and typical riverside plants; another comfortable bicycle track, and a third for cars, which connects with the parking areas. It also has benches and a play area for the youngest members of the family.

 

 

Recommended route

Beginning...

We begin our route visiting the remains of the ancient Lucus Augusti. We start with the remains of the Roman baths, next to the river, much of which has yet to be excavated. The preserved elements are inside the building that contains the present-day spa. One of the rooms, virtually intact, is thought to have been used as a dressing room, as it contains a number of small structures with semi-circular arches that would have been used to keep clothing in. The other preserved room was for cold baths, and was later converted into a Christian chapel.

To the Rosalía de Castro park...

After this visit we then continue along the river bank until reaching the Roman bridge, built in the first century AD and part of the Via XIX that connected the city with Bracara Augusta (Braga) and Asturica Augusta (Astorga). We then continue on to the most important Roman landmark in the city: the walls, dating from the third century AD. As we have to walk uphill from the river to the city, we continue along the Costas do Parque until reaching the Rosalía de Castro park. The walk offers fine views over the southern and western parts of the city, as well as the surrounding countryside, with farmland and grazing for cattle.

Walking along the wall...

Walking along Xeneral Tella and Viveiro streets, we arrive at the Porta de Santiago gateway, which allows us to climb onto the top of the wall, up a staircase in front of the façade of the cathedral, which we will visit later on. We have to walk along the whole of the top section of the wall, little more than two kilometres, which will take around half an hour, although the time passes quickly as it is a truly breathtaking experience to stroll along the top of this monument and admire the city from an exceptional lookout point. We should walk along the wall in an anticlockwise direction.

From the top of the wall it is possible to enjoy a view of the modern-day layout of the city, with low buildings in the centre and a number of open areas within the walls, such as squares, gardens, internal patios and even small allotments which were cultivated until quite recently, which explains why the wall was preserved, as it was not necessary to expand beyond its boundaries until quite recent times.

We may also enjoy a visit to the only tower that remains on the walls, the A Mosqueira tower. Although they are difficult to see from on top the walls, they have a total of ten doors, the majority of which have been extended or newly opened since 1830. These include the gateways of Miñá, Falsa and San Pedro, conserved since Roman times with minor modifications.

In the Cathedral...

Once we have completed this walk we then descend by the same staircase and head towards the Cathedral; in front of us we see the neoclassic façade built in the eighteenth century to replace the original Romanesque structure. Inside the most outstanding features are the three Romanesque-Gothic naves and the triforium, as well as the chapel and image of the Virxe dos Ollos Grandes, so-called for the expressive eyes of the Virgin; the wooden Baroque choir and the Gothic ambulatory. We may then leave through the northern door, a beautiful Romanesque structure with a tympanum presided over by a "Christ in his Majesty" dating from the thirteenth century.

Santa María, do Campo, da Soidade Squares...

We then arrive in Santa María Square and the sombre Episcopal Palace, in Baroque style. Nearby is Campo Square, the true heart of the city, almost certainly the Roman forum and where markets were held in the city for many centuries. In the centre is a Baroque fountain and numerous houses with coats of arms on their façades and arched walkways. This square and the surrounding area is the typical area of tapas bars in Lugo, as well as containing a number of fine restaurants. It is a very typical part of the city, offering truly glorious views. At one end is Nova Square, what was the cardus maximus or main street of the Roman city. Nearby is the Soedade Square, with the old Gothic church of San Francisco, today San Pedro, next to the building that contains the Provincial Museum, where we may complete our tour viewing Roman remains with an exhibition of numerous artefacts found during construction work in the city, such as the exceptional mosaic showing the myth of Dedalus and Persiphone, unique in the Roman world. There are also fascinating collections of pre- Roman gold and silver items, as well as early Christian elements.

By the square of Santo Domingo to the Praza Maior Square...

We continue on our route and enter the square of Santo Domingo, another bustling part of the city, with the Convent of the Augustinian Nuns, with Gothic elements. Between Santo Domingo and the Praza Maior Square, where we now head along Raíña Street, is the true heart of the city, with numerous businesses, bars and restaurants. An important feature in the square is the Alameda park in the middle, the Baroque Town Hall and Circle of Fine Arts building, constructed in 'Eclectic' style in the late nineteenth century. We then exit the walled city through the gateway of Bispo Aguirre (opened in 1894), and then continue along Ramón Ferreiro Street until reaching a sector with a number of public administration buildings and a large green area that connects with the Rosalía de Castro park which we crossed at the beginning of the route. Here we find the buildings of two traditional institutions, the Teacher Training Faculty and Business Studies Faculty, as well as a number of administrative buildings. This is a perfect area to relax and enjoy leisure time, with magnificent views over the river Miño, and where our route comes to an end.

Where to eat

The Campo Square and adjoining streets are a legendary area for wine bars in all of Galicia. It is very enjoyable to visit the bars before lunchtime and dinnertime, thanks to the different tapas offered with each drink, included in the price, and the excellent quality of the wines, especially those from the nearby area of the Ribeira Sacra.

These same streets also contain some of the most famous restaurants in the city. But this is not the only area of the city with quality wine bars and restaurants, as in the districts of Recatelo (near to the Rosalía de Castro park), Milagrosa (to the north of the city) and Campo Castelo (behind the Town Hall), there are other excellent options to choose from.

When eating we are offered the very finest local produce, as local meats are of excellent quality, and seafood is brought from the nearby ports in the north of the province or even from the large port of A Coruña. Elvers (either fried or in empanada pies) are a typical dish of the city, particularly on the outskirts, close to the river. Amongst its desserts, visitors should not miss trying the famous smoked cheeses of San Simón.

Don't miss

  • CLASSIC THEATRE WEEK
    From the end of January to the beginning of February. Performances of classic dramatic works interpreted by new and wellestablished theatre companies.
  • CORPUS CHRISTI WEEK CIDADE DE LUGO MUSIC FESTIVAL
    Held during the months of April, May and June. Classical music concerts are offered in different parts of the city, with famous national and international performers.
  • OFFERING BY THE KINGDOM OF GALICIA TO THE SAINT
    Held on the Sunday after Corpus Christi, in June. The mayors of the seven provincial capitals of the ancient kingdom of Galicia make an offering to the Holy Sacrament, permanently on display in the Cathedral thanks to a privilege granted in mediaeval times. The act ends with mass and a procession. Declared as a Galician Festival of Tourist Interest.
  • ARDE LUCUS
    Roman festival coinciding with the summer solstice on the night of San Xoán. Participants wear period costume and a series of events are held, including bonfires and other fire rituals as an essential component, in memory of the city's Roman past. Theatrical performances also form an important part of the festival.
  • FESTIVAL OF SAN FROILÁN
    Festival of National Tourist Interest, held from 4 – 12 October. Hugely popular traditional festival, with street performers, outdoor dances, theatre, concerts, folk events and religious celebrations as some of the events that are repeated every year, apart from the tradition of eating octopus in the fairground. The celebrations come to an end with the Domingo das Mozas, with tradition affirming that this is the perfect day to find a girlfriend from amongst those visiting the fair. Further information is available on the websit .
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