When most people plan their trips to Spain, their itineraries include cities like Madrid, Barcelona and Seville. While these cities are big, historic and beautiful, you shouldn’t ignore some of Spain’s more underrated treasures, such as Vigo. This idyllic beach town is located in northern Spain on the Atlantic, and it’s one of the most beloved–yet lesser known–beach towns in the country. Prior to my recent trip to Vigo, I knew next to nothing about this Spanish coastal town, but I quickly became enamored with Vigo’s charm, beauty and easy-going beach vibes.
On a recent trip to Portugal, I realized that I had a few extra days to venture out of Porto, so I settled on Vigo, which is just north of the Portugal-Spain border. In less than two hours, I had driven from Porto to Vigo, and I was ready to explore this underrated Spanish town–but first, I needed a place to stay. Fortunately, I always know I can rely on HotelTonight to book a great last-minute hotel wherever I’m traveling. Within minutes on HotelTonight’s app, I had booked a last-minute hotel in Vigo, and I was ready to park my car and wander the idyllic old streets of Vigo.
During my mini Spanish vacation in Vigo, I stayed in Casco Vello, Vigo’s old town. Located just beyond the port, Casco Vello is a small, charming old town that boasts narrow, winding streets and historic buildings. Walking through Casco Vello felt like taking a step back in time, with its colorful old buildings and breathtaking plazas. Not only is it one of the prettiest neighborhoods to wander during your time in Vigo, but Casco Vello is also home to some of the best restaurants and markets in the city. It’s nearly impossible to visit Vigo without spending some time in Casco Vello, and once you visit this neighborhood, you’ll definitely want to return.
Just a short walk away from Casco Vello is el Berbés, the old sailors’ district that is now home to one of the best fish markets in the city. For a while, Berbés was even the best fish market in all of Europe due to its prime location on the Atlantic. The port and the market bustle with energy as fishermen bring in their haul and as buyers browse the impressive selection of fresh fish. While I was in Vigo, I had some of the best seafood of my life–so if you needed another reason to visit this charming coastal town, there it is.
That afternoon, I decided to check out one of Vigo’s most beloved beaches, Samil. The Galician coast is stunning, and it offers some truly breathtaking sunsets over the Atlantic. While there are many beaches in and surrounding Vigo, Playa de Samil is one of the city’s most popular, as it is easy to access by foot and features a great boardwalk, greenery and even public restrooms. I spent the afternoon relaxing on the soft white sand and stayed for the sunset before heading back to the old town for a delicious seafood dinner.
The next morning, I decided to take a day trip out of Vigo to the Cíes Islands. This archipelago is located right off the coast of Spain, and they are easy to reach by boat. Once on the islands, there’s no shortage of things to do. The Cíes Islands feature great hiking trails, a beautiful natural environment and countless unspoiled beaches. If you really want to get away from it all, you’ll definitely want to check out the Cíes Islands during your Vigo vacation. These remote, seemingly untouched islands provide a little slice of paradise, and you may never want to leave –especially once you check out Rodas Beach, which is regularly ranked as one of the best beaches in the world.
When the sun sets, this area becomes one of the liveliest areas in Vigo. The Ensanche is a district known for its vibrant music and entertainment scene, as well as its great shopping and cultural scene. There are a number of bars and clubs in the Ensanche, but this neighborhood also deserves to be seen during the day. When you stroll through the streets of the Ensanche when it’s still light out, you’ll be able to better notice the elegant stone buildings and manicured parks.
When I first booked my last-minute Vigo hotel on HotelTonight, I didn’t quite know what to expect from this relatively unknown Spanish town. But after just one day in Vigo, I had fallen in love with the charm and beauty of this coastal community. I thought back on my days spent along the Galician coast with fondness, and I realized that my impromptu trip to Vigo wouldn’t have been as easy or as stress-free without the help of HotelTonight.