Santiago de Compostela is among the peninsula’s cities with the most square metres of parks and gardens per inhabitant. Alameda Park and its English oak wood are quintessential examples of the city’s many extraordinary green areas.
Santiago is a green city, one of the greenest on the Iberian Peninsula. Its network of parks and gardens is sure to surprise visitors. Alameda Park is the most popular, setting the standard for all the rest. This centrally located park occupies 85,000 square metres and boasts a wealth of botanical delights, crowned by a grove of English oaks, Carballeira de Santa Susana.
Aerial view of Santiago with Alameda Park in the foreground
Santa Susana Oak Grove, Alameda Park
Os Tres Ollos Bridge, Sarela River
San Lourenzo Oak Grove
View of Santiago from Mount Pedroso with Sacro Peak in the background
Eugenio Granell Park
Música en Compostela Park, gardens of the Auditorium of Galicia
Nature lovers can enjoy any number of attractions. Some twenty parks and gardens form a true green belt. The rivers Sar and Sarela flow past the city and Mount Pedroso looms tall in the distance.
Walking downhill, we come to Campus Vida or Campus Sur (always bustling with students and residents), which leads to another of Compostela’s most iconic spots, Carballeira de San Lourenzo, an oak wood whose ancient specimens surround the monastery of the same name. The route of the Way of St. James to Fisterra and Muxía leads to trails along the Sarela River, a tributary of the Sar, several kilometres to the south of the city.
Nature lovers can enjoy many other attractions. Some twenty parks and gardens form a true green belt. They include San Domingos de Bonaval Park (a former cemetery transformed by architect Álvaro Siza and landscapist Isabel Aguirre), Galeras Park and its extension Finca do Espiño (beside the Sarela River), the gardens and lake near the Auditorium of Galicia (known as Música en Compostela Park and Finca de Vistalegre), Eugenio Granell Park (on the banks of the Sar River) and Belvís Park (an area formerly occupied by gardens, some of them now recovered).
Some three kilometres from the cathedral, Mount Pedroso watches over the city from high above (not surprisingly, offering the best panoramic views). To the east at its foot is Granxa do Xesto Park (which has a restaurant and children’s playground) and nearby is Selva Negra (a more untamed park). These are two of the largest leisure areas in a natural setting. There are kilometres of trails for walking, running, mountain biking or just breathing in the fresh air.
Our last green space, created in 2016, is known as Bosque de Galicia. It is located on Mount Gaiás and is home to the City of Culture. Several kilometres of paths and native tree species round out this exceptional collection of natural riches.