Spain Guide


Santiago de Compostela Nightlife

Santiago's student population ensures a lively nightlife amid its ancient streets which are home to hundreds of tapas bars, late night music venues and dance clubs where the music throbs till dawn.

In the year 2000 the city was named Cultural Capital of Europe a well deserved honour as there's much more to Santiago than the famous shrine which brings pilgrims here from all over the world.

If religious worship isn't your scene, you'll find a hive of night time activity including concerts, theatre, an open air cinema and traditional fiestas.

Galician Celtic music can be heard most nights of the week, either in one of the bars or concert venues.

Good sources of information about local gigs and cultural events are the El Compostelan and Santiago 7 Dias magazines which are distributed around the bars, cafes and shops. The Galician newspaper El Correo Gallego also publishes details of entertainment in and around the city.

The most popular night time haunt of students is the area around Rua de Santiago de Chile, Rua de San Pedro de Mezonzo and Rua Nova de Abaixo. The bars here are packed with young people who bar hop till after midnight then listen to music or dance till the early hours.

The Old Quarter also has some good bars and clubs, many converted from old coach houses and palace stables.

Follow the locals from bar to bar and sample traditional Galician tapas tasty morsels of cured ham, local cheese and fried fish are often served free of charge with each drink. If you fancy something more substantial try the famous local specialty "pulpo a la gallega" (octopus with paprika), "empanada gallega" (a Cornish style pasty with a fish, meat or vegetable filling) or superb langostinos and other fresh fish dishes.

Wash down your meal with one of the excellent aromatic Galician wines which are fast gaining a world following Ribeiro and Albarino being amongst the most famous.

If you're feeling strong enough, do the famous "Paris Dakar" run along Rua do Franco from Bar Paris to the popular Cafeteria Dakar, a pub crawlers' paradise with more than 40 watering holes along the way!

While you're "doing the bars" you might be treated to an impromptu performance by a group of "Tunas" traditional musicians, often students, who tour the streets, bars and restaurants in medieval costumes. Take note that it's customary to give a donation when they pass the hat round.

Good live music venues include Retablo, on Rua Nova, and Casa das Crechas which is the place to hear Galician Celtic music.

Dado Dada in Rua Alfredo Brañas and La Borriquita de Belem in Rua San Pajo are best for jazz (the latter also has occasional theatrical performances).

For dancing, Casting and Liberty, both in Rua Alfredo Brañas, are amongst the most popular clubs in town. The young and energetic frequent disco pubs Ruta 66 and Factoria, both near Praza de Galicia.

Local fiestas offer a great opportunity to party Spanish style with street parades, open air music and dancing, fantastic firework displays and much good natured mayhem.

One of the biggest celebrations is the festival of St James the Apostle which involves two weeks of hard partying from July 25th onwards in honour of the city's patron saint.