The city of Lugo is the capital of a long province with both coastal and inland towns that serves up some of Galicia’s best scenery. The city, or at least the old town of Lugo, is totally surrounded by a massive Roman wall and there is also a large cathedral.
General information about Lugo
The province of Lugo as a whole has approaching half a million inhabitants and, in addition to its capital, has several other sizable towns including Sarria and Ribadeo.
Lugo itself came to prominance with the construction of its Roman wall almost 1700 years ago and, as this signifies, it was an important outpost in what we now know as northern Spain. The still complete wall, which was originally started in 265 A.D., is the city’s biggest tourist draw and has world heritage status. Many festivals reflect this Roman past and they can be very festive in a medieval way!
Although a less popular tourist destination than Santiago de Compostela, Lugo is gaining an increasing number of overseas holiday visitors who choose to spend a day exploring this intriguing city.
Things to see and visit in Lugo
The old town of Lugo is small and compact and, being enclosed by the original Roman Wall, its boundaries are easy to distinguish.
Old Lugo has an attractive alameda (or main plaza) that is surrounded by bars and restaurants and there are numerous parking areas just outside the walled part of the city. There are also numerous covered exits out from the old town and into the new (these pass through the city wall).
It is very easy to find your way around Lugo and there are various points where you can either pass under, or ascend up a series of steps on to the Roman wall.
Tip 1. Lugo’s Roman wall
Top of the list is Lugo’s famous Roman wall, the iconic symbol of the city. The wall is over 2 km in length and 12 metres high and wide at its broadest point. It has numerous turrets and gates and there are plenty of access stairs allowing you to encirle the city from on high. Dissapointingly, there is little on-site information about the structure and its history.
Tip 2. Lugo Cathedral
The cathedral in Lugo, whilst on a much smaller scale to that of the one in Santiago, is a beautiful building outside and within. It is positioned right next to the city wall and has a stunning main altar. The courtyard behind this cathedral leads to the main parts of the old town.
Tip 3. Old Town
Unlike many of Galicia’s other larger cities, Lugo has less in the way of large structures but far more lanes and streets, many lined with the typical Galician terraced buildings made of granite. A general walk around the older parts of the city is a good way to see the best of what Lugo has to offer.
Tip 4. Castro de Viladonga
Leaving the capital and venturing a short distance from the town takes you to some very famous ruins of an old Celtic village called the Castro de Viladonga. These ruins pre-date history and are one of the best examples of a recently discovered line of Galicia’s heritage that goes back thousands of years.
Tip 5. Rosalia de Castro Park
Back in the city, there is a park dedicated to one of Galicia’s heroins, a poet called Rosalia de Castro. Most visitors to the city find themselves in these gardens at some stage during their visit. To the left is a picture showing a typical part of the town.
Travelling to Lugo
You reach Lugo from Santiago de Compostela in about one and a half hours by car on a route that is largely dual highway.
Aside from the capital itself, Lugo province has some great scenery with mountains, valleys, rivers and no shortage of smaller towns to call in at.