Santiago is a city of parks: the historic Alameda Park, conceived as a recreational space for compostelanos in the 19th century; numerous orchards formerly belonging the city’s old monasteries, have been turned into parks in recent decades; and now, most recently, the Galeras park and the Finca do Espiño, an area that, after the transfer of the Pilgrim’s Office to the Rúa das Galeras, has become the green zone closest to the pilgrims! It is a space to which the local council has been adding old farms and orchards, giving rise to a large and beautiful place of leisure, rest and enjoyment that is just 100 meters from the Pilgrim’s Office.
The Galeras park was created in 1999, occupying a large area through which the Sarela River flows. It is a green space, carefully planned and with large grassy areas, from which the hill of the Finca do Espiño rises, which gives further access to the large open spaces that surround Santiago: El Monte Pedroso, the Granxa do Xesto and the Sarela river promenade.
Flanked by the buildings of a neighborhood that was remodeled in recent years, the park has a wide range of cafes and bars on whose terraces you can enjoy the views, while enjoying a beer, a glass of wine and the varied menus on offer.
The central or plain area, is an area with a well-kept lawn and is always populated by children playing, young people reading or chatting, old people sitting in the sun, walkers, cyclists and “joggers” of all ages and, of course, dogs of every size and breed.
At the bottom of the plain we find the hill known as Finca del Espiño, which has recently been added to the park. It is 18,000 square meters big with a natural heritage of enormous value and botanical and zoological richness. In this park area we find camelias more than 80 years old, and a huge “carballeira” (oak) with 250 specimens, 100 holly and very rare species in Galicia like a Norwegian spruce and a large araucaria. Chestnut trees, magnolias, numerous shrubs and plants add to a space which also contains the ruins of a neo-Gothic palace and a lagoon area.
In this space of the Finca do Espiño the council has arranged several picnic spots, with benches and stone tables that occupy a space with marvellous views of the cathedral and the historic center of Santiago.
And we take advantage of our visit to the park to remind you that next to the plain of Galeras is the Santa Isabel sports complex where for a small fee pilgrims will have access to facilities, such as a swimming pool, a sauna and showers.