Pontevedra is the provincial capital of the Pontevedra region of Galicia, Spain. The city’s origins are linked to its strategetic location: firstly, during Roman times and, later, as a major stopping point on the medieval Camino de Santiago.
Pontevedra rose to prominence during the 15th and 16th century, due to the city’s port and sardine industry, becoming the largest population in Galicia.
The city was declared the capital of the province in 1933.. These days, it is strongly linked to the Camino de Santiago and known for its beautiful historical centre which was declared of historic and artistic importance. The city is full of interesting places to visit and is famed for its lively shopping and nightlife.
So, let’s take a look at things to see and do in 24 hours in Pontevedra.
The Historic Centre
The Old Town of Pontevedra was declared of historic and artistic importance in 1951 and it is easy to understand why. The mainly pedestrianised area is a pleasure to walk around, to take in the elegant buildings and many plazas that dot the city. Do as the locals do – spend an hour or two enjoying a coffee or vino and watch the world go by.
Capela de Peregrina
The Capela de Peregrina may not be the oldest religious building in Pontevedra, but it is the most well know. The 18th-century building was built to honour the Virgin Peregrina, the patron saint of the city, and the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. The Virgin Peregrina (pilgrim) guides and protects pilgrims on the way.
The baroque church has an unusual rounded façade and the ground plan is in the shape of the “viera” (scallop shell), the traditional and long-lasting symbol of pilgrims and the pilgrim’s route to Santiago de Compostela.
The Roman Bridge Of Pontevedra
Ponte do Burgo is the old Roman bridge over Lérez River in city of Pontevedra. The name of the city is derived from Pons/Pontis (bridge) and Veteris/Vetera (old), hence Ponte Vetera, “the old bridge”.
Pilgrims of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago cross the bridge as they leave the city, heading onto Caldas De Reis.
San Francisco Convent & Church
Another important religious building in the city is the 13/14th century Convento de San Francisco, the impressive Saint Francis Convent and Church, located in the Praza da Ferrería.
Legend has it the church was founded by Saint Francis himself.
Pontevedra Mercado de Abastos
As you travel through the province of Pontevedra, you will become familiar with the name Rias Baixas, also a name for the area (and home to Albarino white wine). Known as an important seafood production centre for fish and seafood, the local market, Mercado de Abastos, is a foodie’s paradise, and not to be missed for an explosion of fish, seafood, meat, cheese, and many local delicacies.
If you visit Pontevedra on the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, I hope your 24 hours in this beautiful and welcoming city.
If you plan to walk the Camino de Santiago, check out my book, A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino de Santiago. I share everything you need to know before you begin your Camino. Read at A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino De Santiago or click the link below.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved.