Vigo, dubbed “Gateway to the Atlantic,” is one of Spain’s busiest and largest ports. Located within Spain’s province of Galicia on its scenic western edge, those on a Vigo cruise will marvel at its alluring terrain featuring a rugged coastline and picturesque harbor that seems to look more like a vast fjord than a Mediterranean harbor.
Visitors on a Western Mediterranean cruise will get the chance to explore the area’s wild countryside dotted with tiny ancient towns, wander through its historic city center, and try some of the city’s gastronomic delights. While ambling about the port city, you’ll likely enjoy some excellent weather as the oceanic climate of Vigo has warm, dry summers with mild spring and autumn weather that can sometimes be humid.
Castro Fortress, built to protect the people of Vigo during attacks from pirates and other foes, is located on top of a steep hill in the city. The only way to get to the top is via a fairly strenuous hike, though your effort will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Vigo and harbor.
If you want to experience beautiful views during your Vigo cruise without the tough hike, head to Parque Monte del Castro. The wide, picturesque park located right in the middle of the city is ideal for a leisurely walk or sitting with a snack to soak up the pretty foliage views.
The Old Town area of Vigo is called Casco Vello, and it’s a charming and historic part of the city that you don’t want to miss. Casco Vello is made up of four main squares that date back to the origins of the neighborhood, which are connected by the main streets of Calle Real and Triunfo. Soak in the stately architecture and visit the restaurants and shops lining the perimeter while you explore the narrow back alleyways and get lost in the beauty of the Old Town.
A site you can’t miss when visiting Casco Vello during a cruise to Vigo is the Iglesia Colegiata de Santa Maria, a formidable church with an incredible neoclassical design and mesmerizing frescoes adorning the ceilings and walls.
This museum, located in a former castle, focuses on Vigo’s history and the art that has come out of the city. Outside the museum, you’ll find a lovely garden where you can walk around and admire the abundance of romantic flowers and walking trails.
Islas Cies is a national park consisting of a marine-terrestrial archipelago. The three islands that make up the archipelago are Monteagudo, Do Faro, and San Martino. During a boat ride to the islands, you’ll see a variety of foliage and sea animals. On land, there is an abundance of hiking and animal viewing you can experience during a Vigo cruise excursion.
Rodas Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Spain–and some may even say the world. This sandy beach stretches between Monteagudo Island and Montefaro Island within Islas Cies. The beach’s claim to fame includes both its soft white sand and bright blue water surrounding the shores of the beach.
Vigo is known for its seafood. From oysters to seafood paella, you’ll find an abundance of seafood dishes and fresh catches of the day on menus around the city. If you can’t decide what to try, order the mariscada, or seafood platter, which will give you a variety to taste. Common seafood served in Vigo includes octopus, crayfish, squid, mussels, spider crab, cuttlefish, and much more.
For some excellent traditional Spanish seafood in a relaxed setting, visit Taberna A Pedra or Galician in Vigo. There are also a number of seafood and specialty restaurants in the historic center of Casco Vello.
The name “Vigo” is derived from “Vicus,” the name the Romans gave the area when they originally inhabited the city centuries ago. Over those many centuries, Vigo became known as a destination rich in maritime traditions with a strong emphasis on the fishing industry, though it wasn’t until the 15th century that Vigo was considered to be a real village and not just an extension of neighboring towns. In the coming centuries, Vigo was often under attack, but despite this, the city was still able to cement itself as a prominent port for commerce. In the 1800s, France temporarily took ahold of Vigo, but the people resisted and forced the French military back, making it the first city of Galicia to be free of French rule.
Vigo’s commerce and maritime past creates a culture rich in arts and cuisine today, which is most noticeable in the many museums and art galleries in town as well as the high quality of the seafood you can get at the eateries in Vigo. While tourism plays a big part in Vigo’s economy, the fishing industry is still a massive player as well. The Vigo, Spain cruise port is the world’s largest fishing port and one of the busiest transportation ports in the world.
Cruise ships arriving in Vigo, Spain pull into port at the Muelle de Transatlanticos. The port’s cruise terminal is conveniently located near the Avenida del Castillo waterfront promenade and is within walking distance of the city center and many of the city’s top sites. The port has an information desk and is located right across the street from a tourist office, where you can get a city map and gather other information for your day in Vigo.
Vigo is very walkable for cruise visitors, though if you have some mobility restrictions and plan to visit El Castro citadel, you’ll likely want to hire a taxi or choose a shore excursion that includes a visit there. To hire a taxi, simply head outside the port gates, where drivers are often waiting. Expect to pay metered fares. Other transportation options include a hop-on, hop-off bus that departs from the tourist information center by the port which will take you to all of the top sites of Vigo at your leisure. City bus lines are also available that visit some of the sites outside of the city limits.
It’s not hard to find places to shop during a Vigo cruise port of call. The cruise terminal is located right by a large mall with a number of shops, including ones selling local crafts and jewelry. Farther from the port, you’ll find many stores catering to tourists that sell souvenirs and other local goods within the city center and the Old Town area. Look for Galician fashion boutiques for memorable clothing or traditional Galician pottery in craft and housewares stores.
The local currency of Vigo is the euro. You’ll be able to find ATMs throughout the city dispensing Euro notes. Currency exchange offices are located throughout the city, and most businesses accept credit cards in addition to cash for payment. Tipping in Spain isn’t expected, though it’s appreciated and common in upscale restaurants. If you want to tip for good service, 10% of the total bill is plenty.