However, there is no shortage of restaurants, bars, taverns and opportunities for souvenir shopping in the smaller squares and narrow, granite paved streets of the historical centre. Places to sit and stare, to enjoy a tortilla and a glass of rioja, followed by a slice of traditional Santiago tarte, whilst marvelling at the architecture of the dozens of monasteries, convents, churches and museums. One great advantage of the city is that its historical heart is small enough to be explored on foot and has an intimate atmosphere which is vibrant without being frenetic.
Outside the old centre, Santiago is a city like many others, with department stores, commercial buildings, hotels, fountains and green spaces – and traffic. If you wish to travel further afield, hire a car and visit the seaside town of Sada or the bustling port of La Coruna, with its attractive glazed facades lining the Paseo Maritimo.