Monday, 7 January 2008

Getting to know Vigo

Vigo is a large city and can be a bit daunting for the first time visitor, especially when you'r driving, getting into the city is easy, it was the getting out that was the hard part (I speak from first hand experience!). Although this isn't a bad thing as you can easily lose yourself in what Vigo has to offer.

Casco Vello, Vigo's historic quarter, is a lovely reminder of Vigo's humble beginnings, where you can still buy fresh oysters from the bay from the old women on the street who have been selling them there for generations.
Much of the old quarter has been sympathetically restored, but there still remains a large portion in need of restoration. Fortunately the Vigo Council with help from the EU (URBAN project) are slowly undertaking the refurbishment of this area and when completed will revitalise this otherwise neglected jewel in Vigo's crown.

On the waterfront with Casco Vello behind you lies the Real Club Nautico, Vigo's yacht club, then take a stroll down Rua de Montero Rios a new development with its many cafes and bars catering for the cruise ships and the well heeled, seemingly a world away from the old quarter.

Further back from the waterfront and up the hill, you'll find Puerta del Sol the very centre of Vigo, where a very curious sculpture stands a top of two very high columns. Walk up Principe a pedestrianised shopping area with every manner of designer fashion store, but where you'll also find the MARCO (Museum of Modern Art) housed in the old (refurbished) Civil Guard headquarters/courthouse/jail.

If Principe is Vigo's high street, then Calvario is a high street from another time, situated approximately 1km from Principe and in fact is on the same road which turns into Urzaiz.

Moving further round to the south is Mt Castro rising some 150m above sea level. At the top you'll find fortified ruins offering stunning views across the bay. Head back down into the city along Rua Areal for all your late night requirements.

Taking a stroll up Gran Via (when I say up or down, I don't mean figuratively, Vigo is a very hilly city, you've been warned!) on which every street leading off reminds you that there are a lot of countries in South America! You'll also find shopping malls and department stores. And lets not forget the five running horses at the top of the hill!

If footballs your thing then head to the south west of town and watch the local team in action at Estadio de Balaidos, after the match you may want to head up the hill from the stadium and try your luck at Bingo (yes there is Bingo here!). Or head east and relax in the wonderful Castrelos park with the Quinones de Leon, Municipal Museum.

Fancy the beach. There are more than 40 beaches to the west and south west of Vigo, there are nine beaches within 4km of city centre.

There are many things I haven't mentioned but will be covering them all in due time, such as the many more museums and galleries, exhibitions, theatre and traditional fiestas, the various nautical activities, the beaches, parks, the islands and sport. Gastronomy, something not to missed! The many urban sculptures and where to stay.

If anyone can think of anything else...

Hasta Luego

1 comment:

Martin Ferguson said...

I spent two-and-a-half years living in Vigo. I miss it. My first flat was in Avda Florida 22. I lived there while playing for FC Gran Peña. I then moved to San Pelayo de Navia where I lived in a rural finca with a Galician family. It's my favourite place on earth. Standing on the brow of the hill overlooking Samil beach and out across the Ria de Vigo to the Cies Islands.

If anyone plans to visit Vigo I'd recommend you make a stop in the Esquina cafe on Avda de Castrelos for a cheap glass of wine and some tapas. For a few drinks go to the bars on Rua Martin Codax or Telonius on Calle Uruguay. If you're up for a big night out you have Churruca for the cheap and cheesy and Arenal area for expensive and supposedly sophisticated.

Viva Galiza!