I hadn’t been to Lugo for years but, a couple of months ago, I was invited to an event there. Truth is that I didn’t remember much from my last visit to Lugo except for the Roman Wall and I was curious about how much of the city had changed.
It was raining, which is what you would expect at this time of the year in Galicia, but that also gave the visit a special touch. This is what you sholdn’t miss on a day trip to Lugo:
1. From Plaza de Ferrol to Plaza Mayor
Since I parked the car there, the Ferrol square was our starting point. It is very close to the door of San Fernando and Puerta Falsa, so if you’ve never been to Lugo, it is very well located to see the Roman Wall. Also, there is a fairly close access to go up the Wall and walk around, at Porta Nova.
The square has two unique buildings, one is the church of San Froilan, patron of the city, and the other one is the Cuartel de San Fernando. Both were built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
We decided to continue down the street of San Marcos towards Plaza de Santo Domingo. At San Marcos street you will find Pazo de San Marcos, a nineteenth century palace where Lugo Provincial Council has its headquarters.
Pazo de San Marcos is one of those buildings that attract your attention from the outside, but, being a government building, people do not often get to see inside. For those who go with enough time, it usually holds exhibits (free Access) and has some interesting gardens.
When we arrived at Plaza de Santo Domingo, first thing that we saw was the Bimilenario monument: an eagle sculpted in bronze to commemorate the two thousand years since the foundation of the city by the Romans. The sculpture sits atop a pillar of granite. They say it brings good luck to rub lottery tickets on it because the people from this place won the Christmas lottery on the same year of its construction (do not know if this is true, but you are free to try…)
There is also the convent-church of Santo Domingo, mendicant Gothic style and a little below the Church of St. Peter and the Provincial Museum.
Leaving the sculpture to our right and the Roman wall on the left, we decided to leave the visit to the local Museum for later and continue along the shopping street rúa da Raíña to Praza Maior, where we would stop for a drink.
2. From Praza Maior and the Wall, to the Cathedral
Towards Praza Maior, we walked through the side of the Church of Santiago A Nova (baroque) by Rua da Raíña (or Queen Street).
In such a small space (the Wall is no much longer than 2 kilometers) the idea of being enclosed is easily lost, although there are many points from which you can see the Wall around. It’s amazing how the city has grown respecting the Wall
One of those spots where you can see the Wall is this. Through Rúa de San Pedro (from where you can access the wall), as well as from the back of the Town Hall, you can clearly see the walled environment.
On our right, leaving the Town Hall on our backs, there is an small street (Doutor Castro) that leads to the Casa de los Mosaicos (House of Mosaics), a museum of decorative and architectural remains of the Roman city.
But without leaving Praza Maior, in the lower left corner, there is a green building, Circulo das Artes, which also holds the remains of a Roman temple. Right in front of ti, there is a bronze sculpture, they are the founders of the city: Emperor Augustus and Fabius Maximus Paulo.
Continuing on the main square, opposite to the Town Hall, we found the Cathedral, one of the main points of interest of the city. Romanesque and Gothic at once and with Baroque elements, it is also surrounded by roman remains: behind an ancient roman bath (Praza Santa Maria) and before the Domus de Mitreo Museum, where you can see remains of a roman domus and temple to the god Mithras (the museum has been dependent on the university and has a peculiar schedule, so you might not find it open, although it is worth the tour).
3. From the Cathedral to the Provincial Museum
Keeping the route along the inside of the Wall, we continued along Rua do Miño towards Praza do Campo, where the tourist office is – close to the Camino de Santiago Interpretation Centre. This whole area is full of small restaurants and bars and is a good idea to stop and eat (or drink) something.
Keeping the direction and without exiting the Wall, we soon reached Praza da Soidade, where the Provincial Museum and the Church of San Pedro are. Very close to where we started this tour.
The Provincial Museum is one of those small museums that house all kinds of decorative arts, from Sargadelos porcelain to Sacred Art, through Galician classic pictorial art and the cloister and the kitchen of the old Franciscan convent where it is located. The tour is free and highly recommended.
And from here we arrived again at Praza de Santo Domingo and ended our tour inside the Lugo Wall.
4. The Roman Wall of Lugo
There is no Lugo without the Wall, so here you can see some more pictures of this World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2000.
The photos are from a previous trip and no, it was not raining.
Other alternatives to see lugo:
In the last couple of years, you can also find “free tours” in Lugo. They are run by official guides in both English and Spanish but i would recommend booking through Civitatis, to make sure they can run in your desired language and because they don’t run daily in low season. Just a quick note: if you are joining a free tour, check what goes behind a free tour and what to look for when you use them.
Other World Heritage Sites in Galicia
Galicia has a few World Heritage Sites besides the Roman Wall of Lugo. Close from here, you have the old town of Santiago de Compostela, the routes to Santiago de Copostela (El Camino, the Way) and the Tower of Hercules (A Coruña).
On the tentative list, you have also Cíes Islands and Sálvora, the city of Ferrol and Ribeira Sacra.