Here you will find a quick and general overview of the values that Pontevedra offers you beyond sport. Culture, spirit and atmosphere of a city worth living.
Pontevedra is well communicated with the rest of Galicia and the main airports (Santiago de Compostela and Vigo) by the AP9 Highway, which runs through Galicia from north to south and is linked to the main roads to the north of Spain (A8), the centre (A52) and Portugal (A3 and A1).
The Porto International Airport (Portugal) is 170 km from the city.
— What is Pontevedra like? Come and see it for yourself and you will discover a true urban experience in the city that was capable of reinventing itself. A unique and different place to visit. You will love it here. Take a look! Few cars, low pollution, little noise, and no stress. Plenty of children playing in the streets and squares. And people moving around on foot, doing their chores, going on a day trip or continuing their pilgrimage. The whole city is a lively place to shop around and to be in good company. Enjoy your stay.
And come back soon. You are always welcome.
Warm summers. Mild winters. No extremes of temperature. The rainy season keeps our greenery plush and luxuriant, in a region that is know worldwide for its high quality wines, and albariño in particular.
The city climate is no less pleasing: noise pollution is limited and few cars means barely any fumes. In other words, Pontevedra boasts an ideal location to avoid the scorching heat and freezing cold of the interior. Hence the nickname Galifornia
A city to discover on foot, in the company of pilgrims who cross it from south to north in their way to Compostela, but also people who go out for their daily stroll and consider the streets and squares of Pontevedra as a natural extension of their own houses. See how long it takes to reach your destination and choose to go walking; leave the car aside. Join us in the healthy habit of walking and feel the difference. Urban spaces are designed for people.
You are in a great urban environment that is ideal for leisure and always has a festive atmosphere. Fancy a coffee, some drinks, or just an aperitif? Having lunch, however, is a completely different story: this square becomes an open-air restaurant with a wide variety of proposals, from the deliciously traditional to the innovatively modern, local and international in equal measure, as well as nuanced and stimulating.
Are you going out shopping or just for a relaxing stroll? Maybe some chores need finishing before meeting friends? There is always something to do in a city where local commerce has been revitalised throughout the process of pedestrianization, rendering large shopping malls obsolete. Proximity commerce is key in the historic centre, where small businesses appear interspersed with boulevards lined with palm and olive trees. The absence of cars contributes to the overall experience.
Congested with cars not so long ago, the squares in Pontevedra have been given back to the people. They are at the heart of the historic centre and the right place to be if you want to take part in any of the cultural and artistic events that are scheduled during the year. They are named after crafts of old, seafarers, or men and women of letters, but each has some identifying traits that make it special. Meals, drinks, coffee, children playing, leisure, partying, music, relaxation and silence, the sheer variety of spaces and activities appeal to the senses. If only the stones could speak…
Santa María Basilica is a Gothic temple built by the guild of fishermen. With its Plateresque façade it stands as a treasure carved in stone that symbolises the power the city held at the dawn of modernity.
San Francisco, in Herrería square, is also a Gothic temple. Although more sober in style, in no way is it less beautiful and regal. Both buildings evoke deep feelings of spirituality. Santo Domingo, the remaining apses of a Gothic church built outside the walls of the city in the 14th century, has witnessed a magnificent transformation of its surroundings throughout the 20th century. The well-preserved ruins of this former convent are now located among official buildings and green areas.
San Bartolomé, playful and Baroque, is characterised by its gigantic columns and strong buttresses, which make for a delightful walk. Santa Clara, the least well known, boasts a magnificent nave and a convent that is still active. Finally, Peregrina church, whose round body resembles that of the scallop shells pilgrims wear during their trip. Peregrina is the heart of Pontevedra as well as the Portuguese Way to Compostela.
Vestiges. You may observe the evolution of our city at the Centro de Interpretación de las Torres Arzobispales (CITA, Centre for the Interpretation of the Bishopric Towers), close to Santa María, where an old fortress has been transformed into a space for exhibitions. Close by, at Campiño de Santa María, there are remains of the old city wall and the stone turrets that, in the past, surrounded the Basilica. Next to Burgo bridge you may visit the excavations that have recently unearthed mediaeval wharfs, public roads and part of the Roman bridge itself, four of whose fifteen eyes stay below ground level. The towers that flanked this construction, a symbol of urban heraldry, have been lost. Near the riverbank, in the area where the museum is located, more archaeological vestiges are easily accessible.
Bridges. The name of Pontevedra comes from an old Roman bridge which, to date, has been impossible to locate. Burgo bridge, dating back to the Middle Ages, was the only one in existence until the early 20th century, precisely when Barca bridge, a phenomenal metallic arcade was presented as an alternative crossing point from one side of the river to the other. Today, a more austere concrete construction has replaced the original design. Six kilometres from there, in Bora, there is an attractive stone bridge that is well worth the visit. Ponte Sampaio, another stunning piece of Roman ingenuity just ten kilometres to the south, has been the scene of great battles over the river Verdugo. The two most recent additions, Tirantes and Corrientes, as well as the pedestrian bridge in Illa do Covo and the railway bridges in Ponte Sampaio and the one over river Lérez, combine functionality and scenic beauty.
Stone carvings. Would you like to visit an extraordinary collection of masonry? Stroll around the historic centre and pay attention to the stone façades. You will see dozens of family crests covering the whole heraldic universe, especially in the old town pazos and Teucro Square. These are an inheritance of the hidalgos who established themselves in Pontevedra throughout the years and testify to the past splendour of the city. Finish your itinerary with a visit to the museum or the ruins of Santo Domingo.
One of the invaluable treasures of the city, the Museum of Pontevedra encompasses several buildings in different blocks. From prehistoric times to contemporary art, both the permanent and the special events that are held in the museum reflect Galicia’s wealth of cultural heritage.
The spectacular archaeology rooms contain unique pieces that tell the story of a long gone past. Also, Castelao, a major advocate of the Galician nation and most percipient interpreter of its soul, has a section of the sixth building devoted to his work in the institution he helped to found.
The parks of Alameda and Palmeras display the urban expansion Pontevedra underwent during the first three decades of the 20th century. They appear surrounded by official buildings, large open spaces, and a viewpoint overlooking the sea. The geometric Gardens of Casto Sampedro, close to Herrería square, frame the fountain that has become an emblem of the city. Illa do Covo, also referred to as the Island of Sculptures for the pieces that have been placed alongside the pathways, is a natural site on the banks of river Lérez enjoyed by sportspeople and walkers alike.
Alternatively, Xunqueira de Alba river park has a lot to offer to anyone who would fancy a walk either before or after a meal. Three kilometres from the centre, in Lourizán, another treasure awaits: the gardens and arboretum of the pazo, undoubtedly the best botanical garden in Galicia as well as the headquarters of the Centre for Environmental and Forestry Research (Centro de Investigaciones Forestales y Ambientales), a scientific and educational institution.
Footpaths. If you wish, you may plan one or several day trips on foot around the city of Pontevedra. A wide variety of footpaths will keep you walking at your own pace and reveal the wonderful secrets of the local landscape and its ecosystem. The footpaths alongside river Lérez start at the foot of Tirantes bridge and continue for six kilometres on the right margin and up to three on the left following winding footways where bicycles, pedestrians and wheelchair users will find their space. The route through Xunqueira de Alba begins once you cross Corrientes bridge and are equally accessible, as happens with those of Pontillón do Castro forest park, about eight kilometres to the north. The route alongside river Gafos may not be as spacious as to cater for wheelchairs or bicycles, but it is excellent for walkers in search of a refreshing promenade. Also, the Lérez riverside up to the island of Tambo and the Atlantic mouth of the estuary make for a great walk. If you are interested in nature trails, archaeology and ethnographic heritage, you will find more information in the web.
City life is animated by the local festive season, but also by the annual programme of cultural activities, either official or private, ranging from large exhibitions to small concerts. Public spaces are turned into meeting places for special occasions, such as the International Jazz and Blues Festival, the Feira Franca, Itineranta street theatre, celebrations in honour of Peregrina, the patron saint of the city, Surfing Lérez, or the largest urban carnival in Galicia, among other major events. Art, theatre, different types of music, new forms of expression, fashion, courses and congresses keep the city moving.
Any itinerary around the city of Pontevedra has plenty to offer: extraordinary landscapes, fabulous cultural opportunities, and mouth-watering gastronomic events. From the tops of Salnés or Morrazo you may observe the Atlantic estuaries from a privileged viewpoint, play golf in Monte Castrove, or spend an afternoon in Lago Castiñeiras or the adventure sport park in Marín.
Visiting Combarro in Poio is highly recommended, and it is only five kilometres from Pontevedra. The Salnés Rías Baixas Wine Route, the spectacular waterfall in Barro, Fervenza da Barosa, with its watermills carved in stone, the spas in Cuntis or Caldas, and the archaeological site in Campo Lameiro, the largest open-air centre of its kind in the whole of Europe, are just some of the activities you may choose from. If it is monasteries you want to see, San Xoán in Poio, Acibeiro in O Candán, and Armenteira in Meis (O Salnés) are a must.
Remember the islands as well: Ons by ferry from Bueu, Tambo by boat from Poio, and San Simón by catamaran from Redondela. Any of these routes will exceed your expectations, so you are welcome to stay in Pontevedra for as long as you need.
Pontevedra is a key point in the Rías Baixas and it is equidistant from the most wonderful beaches in the province. Placed at the apex of the estuary, the city is an ideal place to discover attractive sites.
Wherever you are headed, a beach will always be within short driving distance to the north (O Salnés, Sanxenxo, Poio), or the south (Marín, Bueu, Morrazo). What is more, there are three beaches in Pontevedra itself, two of them on the riverside (Monte Porreiro and Ponte Sampaio), and one close to the harbour in Placeres. If none of those options comes in handy for you, there is Ponte Caldelas too.