Cool Off with the Family in Santiago
29 June, 2016
Santiago de Compostela is a historic enclave in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula and, in the Middle Ages, it became a major centre of Christian pilgrimage. Both the clergy and laymen and women journeyed to the city from all corners of Europe at some time in their lives to visit the remains of James the Apostle, which were unearthed in the current Santiago Cathedral in 813 and preserved there ever since.
Nowadays the city is a popular destination all year around. The Road is a big draw, and not only for the more devout, as it attracts both amateur and professional sportspeople and even hikers and sporadic walkers. Here, we are going to deal with the latter group. The fact is that more and more families elect to do a few stretches of the Road to Santiago. We are going to focus on refreshing activities to engage in once you have completed the route. Everyone can have fun here, so you won’t want to miss out on it.
Before embarking on that, however, it is worth going for a walk around Santiago. One way of gauging the city’s pulse is by getting a feel for its size. We recommend you take a ride on the tourist train, which goes around the whole historic centre. It will lead you past landmark buildings, uncover gardens and provide you with panoramic views of the monumental area and the Cathedral. The summer schedule (July and August) is from 11 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. and the train leaves every half an hour. You can get it in the Plaza de Obradoiro and the route lasts 45 minutes. The price for children is 4 euros, while infants under 4 years old can ride for free.
Santiago has several swimming pools – both indoor and outdoor – where you can swim, play and sunbathe. Of all the pools, the Piscinas do Sar comes highly recommended, with its bathing area adjacent to the multi-purpose Fontes do Sar, which has a children’s pool (covered in winter and outdoor in July and August).
If you instead prefer being immersed in natural surroundings, a few minutes from the city lie the River Beaches with all kinds of amenities. Set in a nature spot conducive to relaxation, the swimming area of Seira is one of the main tourist spots in the Concello (municipality) de Rois, particularly in summer. There you can do watersports and chill out in perfect harmony with nature. It has green spaces and picnic areas. Also suitable for children is the Furelos swimming area (Melide).
Also worth visiting are the beaches on the rías (estuaries) with their fine sand and calm waters, ideal for children. The nearest estuary beaches are just over half an hour away.
Eat and Eat
Children are welcome in the city’s restaurants and cafés. However, to ensure the best possible service and peace and quiet, it is advisable to avoid the peak hours.
Santiago Turismo offers a selection of restaurants and cafés for those touring with children. Some feature children’s menus, others are spacious and quiet and several have pleasant open-air terraces and even swings. The ambience and decor in some instances is specifically suited to children.
Camping is a good option in summer. Located on one of the hills overlooking the city, and just a 15-minute walk from the monumental area, is the As Cancelas urban campsite. It has bungalows with great views of Santiago, is sited in a very pleasant tree-lined setting and has a swimming pool and other amenities.
Another option for family overnights are the numerous rural tourism lodgings in the vicinity of Santiago de Compostela. Conducive to contact with nature and catering for children, they are the ideal accommodation for youngsters. Almost all of them have cots and some even have rooms full of toys and special facilities designed for keeping children entertained on rainy days.
The city of Santiago proper also has a broad selection of accommodations, ranging from the big hotel chains to house or apartment rentals and small hotels in the monumental centre with a charm of their own, often located in historic buildings with a delightful atmosphere.
Why wait to discover Santiago de Compostela with the family? Check out our flights here.
29 June, 2016