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Travel to Santiago de Compostela

Flying to Santiago de Compostela

Ryanair operates direct flights to Santiago de Compostela from the UK. If you're travelling from the USA, the quickest route is via Madrid with Iberia. Prices tend to rise at busy periods such as Christmas, Easter and school summer holidays.

Flight times

From London - 2 hours 10 minutes; New York - 10 hours 15 minutes (including stopover); Los Angeles- 17 hours (including stopovers); Toronto - 14 hours (including stopovers); Sydney - 31 hours (including stopovers).

Travel by road

Traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18. Speed limits are 120kph (75mph) on motorways, 100kph (62mph) on dual carriageways, 90kph (56mph) outside built-up areas and 50kph (31mph) within towns.

Foreign visitors require a valid driving licence to drive in Spain. National licences from EU countries are accepted, while nationals of other countries are advised to obtain an International Driving Permit. Third-party insurance is required and documents should be carried at all times. A Green Card is strongly recommended for all visitors and is compulsory for those from outside the EU.

Real Automóvil Club de España (RACE) (tel: +34 900 100 992; www.race.es) has reciprocal agreements with the AA and RAC in the UK and the AAA in the USA.

Emergency breakdown services

Real Automóvil Club de España (RACE) (tel: +34 902 112 222).

Routes

You can reach Santiago de Compostela by road from major cities in Spain and Portugal but a common alternative route is along the Pilgrim's Way via Santander, running parallel to Spain's north coast.

The AP-9 is the major north-south route running through the city. The national roads, N547 and N525, have route connections to the A6/NVI, which branches off southeasterly toward León (connected by the N120 and N630), Valladolid (connected by the E80/N620) and finally to the capital, Madrid.

From the UK, a ferry to Bilbao or Santander cuts down on road mileage and driver fatigue but is usually more expensive and a little longer than driving through France.

Coaches

Santiago’s Estación Central de Autobuses, San Caetano, to the northeast of the city centre, is the terminus for national and international coach services.

Monbus (tel: +34 902 292 900; www.monbus.es) operates coach services from Madrid and other major Spanish cities, as well as from Portugal and other foreign destinations. The other major coach operator is Alsa (tel: +34 902 422 242; www.alsa.es).

Eurolines (tel: +44 871 781 8177, in the UK; www.eurolines.com) runs international coach services from London to Santiago with one change at the Area Suco interchange. The journey takes around 34 hours.

Time to city

From León - 4 hours; Valladolid - 4 hours; Madrid - 6 hours.

Travel by Rail

Services

Spanish trains are relatively punctual, reasonably priced and usually clean. Seat reservations are required on all inter-city trains.

The main railway station in Santiago de Compostela is centrally located on Rúa de Hórreo, off Avenida de Lugo, just to the south of the Old Quarter. There are day trains and a night train to Santiago from Madrid. There’s also a daily train to/from the French border at Irún/Hendaye via Bilbao and San Sebastián.

You can get to Santiago from London by train via Paris in about 22 hours. There are also connections to Oporto in Portugal via Vigo and regular local services to A Coruña.

Operators

RENFE (+34 902 320 320; www.renfe.com) operates the Spanish rail network, which radiates from Madrid to all the major cities.

Journey times

From Madrid - 6 hours; Irún - 11 hours.

Featured Hotels

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Hostal Alfonso

Close to Santiago de Compostela's city centre, this small hostal makes a big impression. Run by a husband and wife team, Alfonso has a quaint family atmosphere, with cosy rooms and friendly service. The proprietors have even written their own fantastic guide to sights and anecdotes of the Old Town that the guidebooks have missed (sadly in Spanish only). There are only six rooms here (all en suite and with TV) so book well in advance. Ask for the top floor room with the cathedral view, it's remarkable, especially at night. Breakfast is included.

Hotel Parador dos Reis Católicos

This magnificent Santiago hotel, one of the best in the country, is located in the heart of the city, right on the Praza do Obradoiro, between Santiago's splendid cathedral and the Galician president's headquarters. Beautiful rooms (each individually decorated with period furniture and fine fabrics), great facilities and exquisite service will make you feel you're being treated like royalty.

Carris Casa da Troya

Although it's set in a beautifully restored historic building in the old town, the rooms at this hotel have a modern simplicity, and the high ceilings and thick walls provide a spacious and private feel. Superior rooms overlook the Cathedral. The staff is excellent and on hand to offer local advice and guidance on where to eat and visit. The hotel also has its own café attached.

Hostal Suso

This popular old-town spot sees budget travellers delighted with its hospitable management and cheap, great-value en-suite rooms with plenty of space. Downstairs is a lively café where pilgrims rest their Camino-weary legs.

San Francisco Hotel Monumento

Located in the Franciscan convent of San Francisco, this is an excellent luxury parador-style alternative to Reis Católicos, with the added bonus of being set back from the main touristic thoroughfare. This UNESCO listed building has a heated pool and Jacuzzi, while the 82 rooms are air conditioned, decked out in plush bed linens and furnishings, and offer room service in addition to the a la carte restaurant on site.

Hotel Virxe da Cerca

Set in two buildings next to Plaza de Abastos Market and close to the Cathedral, this characterful hotel has an intimate, classy feel. Rooms in the modern building overlook a private courtyard garden, and upgraded rooms set in an 18th century building feature exposed stone walls and traditional furnishings. The restaurant serves traditional Galician cuisine.