Few cities are as closely related to their natural surroundings as Santiago de Compostela. Almost any part of the city features views of green forests in city parks or nearby fields and hills.
Santiago is located between two main hills, Monte Pedroso and Monte Viso, and is made up of a series of hills that continue into the surroundings, elevations that serve as natural viewpoints overlooking the city centre and the omnipresent Cathedral.
Two small rivers, the Sar and the Sarela, enclose the city. The paths running along their riverbanks, which used to be dotted with waterwheels and traditional tanneries, along with those in the Monte Pedroso forest park, the different Ways of St. James and other rural paths, make up a network of pleasant natural walkways that are easily reached on foot from the city centre.
In relation to parks and gardens, the quantity of m2 devoted to this use speaks for itself: a total of 1,500,000 m2, equivalent to 15 m2 per inhabitant, which is higher than the European average. This makes Santiago a city of great environmental and scenic quality, resulting in numerous environmental awards.
But Santiago is a lot more than its city centre: the municipality has a total area of 223 km2, which includes 29 rural parishes. The municipality of Santiago is part of the so-called Area de Santiago region, watered by two of Galicia’s main rivers, the Tambre and the Ulla (famous for their trout, “escalos,” and salmon), which are ideal for numerous river sports, and feature magnificent swimming areas and recreational areas less than 15 minutes from the city.
From Santiago de Compostela, capital of Galicia, it is easy to reach any part of this region of countless rivers, outstanding natural beauty sports and almost 2,000 km of coastline, washed by two different seas: the tranquil “rías,” featuring very productive, calm waters, and the open ocean (beaches). (routes around Galicia).