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Seven Reasons to Visit Santiago de Compostela at Christmas

Santiago de Compostela is the ideal destination for a Christmas getaway. It's almost impossible to put into words how magical every corner of this fairy-tale city is at Christmas.

The historic centre of Santiago de Compostela is one of those unique places in the world capable of capturing the Christmas magic. Time seems to have stopped in this network of winding medieval streets, lined with low houses and unique buildings. Santiago is the perfect place to just relax, reset and reconnect with yourself; to get away from it all and get into the Christmas spirit, your way.

The programme of cultural events is simply amazing: light displays, markets and Nativity scenes that you're sure to love. Because Santiago will always be mystical: even if its streets are bustling and joyful. It will always be shrouded in mystery, even if its bars and pubs are packed to the brim. Santiago is magical, enigmatic and effervescent all at once; as well as cheerful, exciting and inspiring. Just like Christmas! Does it sound like somewhere you want to go this time of year?

Wonder as you wander

The first thing you should do when you arrive in Santiago de Compostela is forget everything you've been told and just have a wander around the streets. Under the Christmas lights, these beautiful streets are warmer, more attractive and more charming than ever. After perusing beautifully decorated shop windows, at some point you'll inevitably end up in Praza do Obradoiro. You'll be left speechless as you gaze in wonder at one of the most stunning cathedrals in Spain.

But that's not all. You'll walk past buildings such as the Cathedral Museum, the Convent of San Francisco and the Monastery of San Martín Pinario. You'll also come across craft and gastronomy shops, bars, picturesque squares and small churches in romantic corners. You'll walk under medieval arches that will make you feel like you are in a period film, and you'll end up strolling under the lights on the pine trees of Alameda Park, as the city spreads out before your eyes.

There's no turning back: you'll already have fallen in love with Santiago de Compostela.

Christmas light display in Parque de la Alameda

Come to Parque de la Alameda, where you'll be surrounded by greenery and leafy trees, and enjoy a beautiful display of lights. From Friday, 1 December to Sunday, 4 January, the park will light up for Christmas. The most popular characters in the history of Santiago and Galicia will be here, shining more brightly than ever in this dreamlike environment. We invite you to grab a hot chocolate and follow the lights itinerary to discover all these illustrious Galicians. There are thirteen stops and a thousand secrets to be discovered about the many facets of this fascinating city.

A spot of Christmas shopping!

Santiago de Compostela is a great destination for your Christmas shopping. From the shops in the new area, some of them large chains, to the more independent shops in the historic centre. You'll discover shops that have barely changed in recent centuries, magical places where you can stop to buy a figurine, a Santiago cake, a delicious "empanada" (pasty) or typical jewellery.

At Christmas there is so much more on offer, as there is also the traditional Estrela Market, which is in its 12th year now. Crafts, fashion, illustration, toys, photography, design, decoration, food and wine products and much more, in a contemporary creative fair that even has food trucks, food stalls and a very interesting programme of concerts, DJ sessions and workshops. It will take place on 15-17 December in different parts of the city. You'll leave with your shopping bags – and your heart – full!

Craving more shopping? Be sure not to miss the Christmas Market, which is takes place from 22 December to 5 January between Carreiro do Conde and Área Central. This Christmas market has it all! There are 70 decoration, gourmet food and craft stalls ideal where you can get gifts or just treat yourself.

Please don't stop the music!

If you believe that Christmas wouldn't complete without a concert where you can enjoy Christmas music, make a note of two events that you can't afford to miss. First, we have the Neighbourhood Choirs concert in the Church of San Fiz de Solovio, a building that played a decisive role in the founding history of the city, which will take place on friday 22 december 2023. Also, not to be missed is the popular Christmas concert by the Santiago Music Band, which will play traditional music accompanied by the Brincadeira dance group.

Nativity scenes to suit all tastes

The Church of San Fiz de Solovio also houses a spectacular Nativity scene that you're sure to love. From 1 December to 5 January, you can enjoy the Nativity scene that has been donated and assembled by Nativity scene maker José Uzal. It includes more than 500 figures, moving parts and special lighting and sound effects. Something not to be missed, for sure!

But this is not the only Nativity scene you can find in this beautiful church. San Fiz will also house a collective nativity scene made by the members of the 45 sociocultural centres throughout the city and its surrounding areas. It will be impossible not to get into the Christmas spirit when you see this amazing display.

Quintana at dusk

Another Christmas essential is the light and star show that will be displayed every night in Praza da Quintana. The eight-pointed star, a symbol of the city, will be the main feature of this seasonal show. What's so special about these stars? Campus Stellae used to be the Latin name for Santiago de Compostela. It literally translates as "field of stars", so the name of the city would roughly be "Santiago of the Field of Stars". It's a lovely name, isn't it?

Run your way into the New Year

New Year's Eve is a time to party and... run? Grab your running shoes and get yourself to Praza do Obradoiro at 5pm on 31 December and take part in the city's most popular race. Don't worry about speed: it's all about taking part!

If you're already dying to fly to Santiago, it's very simple to do so. Book your flight and the rest will follow just let yourself be swept away by the magic of Christmas!

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