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Vigo Information

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Vigo is an industrial city and municipality in the province of Pontevedra, within the autonomous community of GaliciaSpain. Located in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula, it sits on the southern shore of an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, the Ria de Vigo, the southernmost of the so-called Rías Baixas.
The municipality has an area of 109.06 km2 (42.11 sq mi) and a population of 295,364 in 2019, making it the most populous municipality in Galicia.
Vigo is one of the region's primary economic agents, owing to the French Citroën automotive factory and to the Port of Vigo. Close to the Portugal–Spain border, Vigo is part of the Galicia–North Portugal Euroregion. The European Fisheries Control Agency is headquartered in Vigo.

In 2021 the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) of Spain has prepared a survey among residents in 15 provinces. According to the responses received, Vigo is crowned as the city with the best quality of life, according to this study. The Galician city stands out for its good evaluations in safety, cleanliness, education or environment and pollution. And it is also one of the best cities for families with children.

Julio Verne said that Captain Nemo's best kept secret is in Vigo. Did you know that this is where the Nautilus submarine came to stock up on gold? In Vigo's estuary there are dozens of sunken ships loaded with the gold from the Americas. Treasures that have not yet come to light.

But there are also treasures at everyone's reach. Such as strolling through the Old Quarter and having oysters in A Pedra. Or spending a day at the beach in Samil. Or visiting the Castrelos park,with its manor house and its gardens. Or going on a boat tour to the halcyon Cíes islands. Or strolling along streets full of elegant camellias.

Or climbing up to the Castro (ancient fortification) to see an amazing sunset. And for those who feel young, Vigo's legendary night life… open till dawn. This is Vigo, Galicia's largest city. A modern and venturous city, open to the world.


Battle of Vigo Bay, 1702


In the Middle Ages, the small village of Vigo was part of the territory of Galician-speaking neighbouring towns, particularly Tui, and suffered several Viking attacks. However, its number of inhabitants was so small that, historically, it was not considered a real villa until around the 15th century, when the earliest records began.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the city was attacked several times. In 1585 and 1589, during an unsuccessful attack by the English counter-Armada, Francis Drake raided the city and temporarily occupied it, burning many buildings. Several decades later a Turkish fleet tried to attack the city. As a result, the city's walls were built in 1656 in the reign of Philip IV of Spain. They are still partially preserved.

At this time, and in spite of the attacks, Vigo developed its earliest commerce and was given several privileges by the kings of Spain.
In 1702, the Battle of Vigo Bay occurred, and in 1719, because a Spanish fleet which departed from Vigo attempted to invade Scotland in support of the Jacobites, the city was occupied for ten days by a British force.

In 1808, the French Army annexed Spain to the Napoleonic Empire, although Vigo remained unconquered until January, 1809. Vigo was also the first city of Galicia to be freed from French rule, in what is annually celebrated on March 28 as the Reconquista (reconquest from the French in the context of the Peninsular War). In 1833, the city of Pontevedra was designated the provincial capital of the province of Pontevedra, within which is Vigo.



Vigo grew very rapidly in the 20th century thanks to the fact that the Franco government granted it a tax-free zone in 1947 so that companies could set up there for free and an Industrial Development Pole in 1964, a very unusual case for a non-capital of a Spanish province. Continuous urban-planning changes left Vigo less structured than other Galician cities such as Pontevedra and A Coruña.



Vigo, as seen from the opposite shore of the ria.


Toponym. Vigo's urban area is built over both a hill-fort (Castro) and a Roman settlement. It is generally accepted that the name Vigo is derived from the Latin word vicus spacorum, meaning "small village".

The standard pronunciation of Vigo in both Galician and Spanish is [ˈbiɣo].
Vigo has been given the nickname cidade olívica (city of olives). It is said that, after the conflict between the Isabel de Castilla and Juana la Beltraneja—where Galician nobility fought for the latter—the victor ordered all of Galicia's olive trees to be cut down, as they symbolized peace. She couldn't uproot the tree in Vigo, however, because it was planted in sacred ground. The tree is represented in the city seal, and a descendant of it is still alive in Vigo's city centre.


View of the city centre



The city of Vigo had 293,642 inhabitants in 2018 with an extended metropolitan population of 478,508, in a southern part of the province of Pontevedra making it Spain's 14th-largest metropolitan area.
In 2020 - according to the data provided by the INE on 1 January 2020 - it had a population of 482,858 inhabitants in total, of which 296,692 lived in the municipality of Vigo, which represented 61.44% of the total population of the metropolitan area.
In 2019, 15,319 foreigners lived in the city, 5.2% of the total population. The main nationalities are Portuguese (12%), Venezuelans (9.2%)Brazilians (9%), Romanians (7.5%), Colombians (6.5%), Senegal (4%) and Chinese people (3%).
By language, according to 2013 data, 7.68% of the population spoke exclusively in Galician, and 51.39% in Spanish; 11.38% spoke in Galician more often than Spanish, and 29.55% more often in Spanish than Galician. This made Vigo the least Galician-speaking city in Galicia


City Hall

Government and administration.

Vigo is a municipality, the basic level of local government in Spain. The Ayuntamiento (concello in Galician) is the body charged with the municipal government and administration. The Plenary of the concello is formed by 27 elected municipal councillors, who in turn invest the mayor.
The last municipal election took place on 26 May 2019, leading to a plenary formed by 20 councillors from the Socialists' Party of Galicia–PSOE, 4 from the People's Party, 2 from the Marea de Vigo and 1 from the Galician Nationalist Bloc.[19] The current mayor is Abel Caballero (Spanish Socialist Workers Party), who has won four mandates in a row since becoming mayor in 2007.



García Barbón Theater


Main sights

An industrial and recent city, Vigo has few remarkable old buildings but is home to a collegiate church and a few museums, most of which were inaugurated between the late 1990s and early 2000s. Among them, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO) and the Museum of the Sea. The oldest museum is the Quiñones de León Municipal Museum. The most important historical centre of the region is located in its capital and rival city, Pontevedra.

    • Casco Vello (historic centre)
    • Porta do Sol, Policarpo Sanz and Alameda area (modern centre)
    • Príncipe and Urzaiz Streets (commercial area)
    • Celtic Castro ruins
    • Castro fortress
    • Collegiate church of Santa Maria de Vigo


  • Naturnova Museum: Museum dedicated to the environment. Interactive contents.
  • Museum of the Sea: Museum dedicated to the Sea, and to tinned food and to naval. Important building designed by famous architects Aldo Rossi and Cesar Portela.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Vigo: One of the most important museums of Contemporary Art in Spain.
  • Museum of Castrelos.
  • Verbum, Casa das Palabras. A museum dedicated to languages and communication. Important building designed by famous architect Cesar Portela.
  • Pinacoteca de Vigo
  • Galician Center of Photography
  • Ethnographic Museum Liste
  • Pedro Barrié de la Maza Foundation


Façade of Church of Santa María de Castrelos in the parish of Castrelos

Romanesque architecture of Vigo

The municipality of Vigo is not only one of the major industrial cities in Galicia, but it is also one of the more important Roman centers of Pontevedra. Although within the city one will not find much Romanesque architecture, it can be seen a few kilometers away from the city center. In many of the municipality's neighborhoods and parishes a large number of Roman ruins remain. Such is the importance of the Roman remains in Vigo that many Spanish authors have come to coin the term Romanesque Vigo (románico vigués in Spanish). Vigo retains some interesting examples of Romanesque churches in southern Galicia:

  • Santa María de Castrelos
  • Santiago de Bembrive
  • San Salvador de Coruxo


Samil beach



Throughout the municipality of Vigo there are 47 coves and beaches, including sandy areas with waves for water sports, wild coves, family beaches, nudist beaches and urban beaches.[25][26] Some of these coves and beaches have various facilities or services for their users, such as sports areas, showers, footbaths, public address system, promenade, Red Cross lifeguard and rescue post, areas adapted for people with disabilities, etc.
In June 2020, the Association for Environmental and Consumer Education (ADEAC) awarded the blue flag distinction to the following 10 beaches in Vigo: Argazada, Canido, Carril, Fontaíña, Muíños de Fortiñón, Punta, Rodas, Samil, Tombo do Gato and Vao.
Following.a list of some of the beaches of Vigo:

Around Samil, several services have been created: museums (such as "Museo do Mar" and "Verbum") to different catering premises, clubs and cafés. Its promenade covers the littoral zone and it offers several leisure facilities (three public swimming pools, garden areas, basketball courts, a mini-soccer court, tennis and paddle courts, a skating rink, and terraces).


Spain Square


Vigo has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate "Csb" according to the Köppen climate classification. Although Vigo is the rainiest city in Galicia, in actuality, with its noticeable drying trend in the summer, Vigo's climate is more similar to the variant of the oceanic climate commonly seen in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The average annual temperature in Vigo is 14 °C (57 °F). Compared to many other Galician towns, Vigo and Pontevedra experience warmer summer temperatures than A Coruña or Santiago de Compostela and milder winters than inland areas. This is due to its sheltered location, surrounded by mountains inland and the Illas Cíes out in the bay towards the sea. The all-time record high for the city is 39.7 °C (103 °F) set on July 5, 2013. Vigo is known for its extreme rainfall in winter. December 1978 saw 925.6 millimetres (36.44 in) fall at the weather station in a single month. During that month on 7 December, 175 millimetres (6.9 in) fell on a single day. Normal values for 1981-2010 was 1,791 millimetres (70.5 in) falling on just 129.2 days indicating heavy rain to be common. The airport where values are taken is at a higher elevation than the city centre, which likely is warmer year-round.

Economy. Vigo is characterized by a diversified economy linked to the fishing sector, industry, trade, tourism and services. It is often considered with A Coruña one of the economic and industrial engines of Galicia.

citroen1 citroen2


Vigo is one of the leading industrial areas in Galicia, with a French car factory, shipyards, and auxiliary industry in both automotive and marine sectors. Situated in Vigo, the French factory PSA Peugeot Citroën since 1958, in 2007 produced a total of 545,000 vehicles, of which more than 82% were sold outside Spain.
The publishing industry in Galician is prominent in the city, with Editorial Galaxia and Editorial Xerais

Fishing sector

Vigo is the home port of one of the world's largest fishing company, Pescanova and the most important centre of the Galician canned fish industry. The headquarters of the European Fisheries Control Agency are also located in the city.
The fishing sector in Vigo generates more than 32,000 direct and indirect jobs and a turnover of more than 1 billion euros per year. More than 660 fishing vessels are registered in the port of Vigo, making it one of the main ports for the marketing of fresh fish for human consumption in the world, with around 800,000 tonnes per year.]
Vigo regularly hosts congresses and trade fairs related to industrial fishing, such as the World Tuna Conference (biannually), Conxemar (annually), or the World Fishing Exhibition (which was held periodically from 1973 to 2009).
Vigo is home of the European Fisheries Control Agency.

puerto trasa

Port of Vigo (GalicianPorto de VigoSpanishPuerto de Vigo) located in VigoPontevedraGaliciaSpain is the biggest fishing port in the world and one of the busiest in transportation. It is also home of the world's largest fishing company, Pescanova. In 2008, unloaded fish reached 751,971 tonnes.
The Port of Vigo covers a length of more than 20 km and offers more than 9 km of docks. The largest port traffic is general freight, highlighting container traffic, RO-RO of vehicles (the second in Spain in Ro-Ro traffic for new vehicles), natural stone and granite (the first of Spain in granite traffic), wood and preserved food. More information



The University of Vigo is located in a mountainous area 15 kilometres away from the city, in the parish of Zamáns.  It is a center for studies related to engineering, ocean-based industries,etc. The university has additional campuses in Pontevedra and Ourense.
The University of Vigo was founded in 1990 as split from the University of Santiago de Compostela.[33] The Zamáns Campus features several examples of modern architecture, projected by the likes of Enric Miralles, Alfonso Penelas, Pilar Díez y Alberto Noguerol César Portela, Gabriel Santos Zas and César Padrón.
The University of Vigo (GalicianUniversidade de Vigo) is a public university located in the city of Vigo in the Province of PontevedraGaliciaSpain. There are three campuses:

  • Campus of Vigo in Lagoas-Marcosende, between the municipalities of Vigo and Mos, 15 kilometres away from the city centre. Also known as CUVI (Ciudad universitaria de Vigo, University city of Vigo);
  • Campus of Pontevedra in A Xunqueira, Pontevedra, and in the city centre;
  • Campus of Ourense in As Lagoas, Ourense. More information

Considered the most technical of the universities of Galicia, it offers engineer degrees in MiningTelecommunicationsForestry EngineeringComputer Science and Industrial Engineering.


Cíes Islands 

The Cíes Islands (Galician: Illas Cíes; Spanish: Islas Cíes) are an archipelago off the coast of Pontevedra in Galicia, Spain, in the mouth of the Ria de Vigo. They belong to the parish of San Francisco de Afora, in the municipality of Vigo. They were declared a Nature Reserve in 1980 and are included in the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park (Parque Nacional Marítimo-Terrestre das Illas Atlánticas de Galicia) created in 2002.

The Cíes Islands, part of the municipality of Vigo, partially obstruct the access from the Ria de Vigo to the open seas.

The archipelago

The Cíes consist of three islands, Monteagudo ("Sharp Mount" or North Island), do Faro ("Lighthouse Island", or Illa do Medio, "Middle Island") and San Martiño ("Saint Martin" or South Island).


Monteagudo is separated from the Morrazo peninsula by the North Canal while San Martiño is separated from the coast of Santoulo cape (mount Ferro) by the Freu da Porta Strait. The Do Faro island is linked to the North island by an accumulation of sand 1,200 m (3,937 ft) long known as Rodas beach, in the eastern side of the island. During high tide the sea flows between the islands in the western side and, blocked by the beach it fills the lagoon between the sandy area and the rocks. The highest peak is the Alto das Cíes (197 m (646 ft)) in Monteagudo.

The islands formed by the end of the Tertiary, when some parts of the coast sank, creating the rías ("estuaries"). All three islands are the peaks of the coastal mountains now partially under the sea and are formed mainly of granitic rock.
The land is mountainous with rough, nearly vertical cliffs of more than 100 m (328 ft) on the western side, and numerous caves (furnas) formed by erosion from the sea and the wind. The eastern side is less steep, covered by woods and bushes and protected from the Atlantic winds, allowing the formation of beaches and dunes.
Atlantic squalls pass over the islands, unloading as they collide with the coast. Therefore, the Cíes receive more or less half of the rain than the rest of the Rías Baixas

The Cíes Islands promise the visitor an excellent excursion in a highly protected natural space to fully enjoy nature. In this unspoiled paradise we can highlight the Rodas Beach, awarded the title of "The Best Beach in the World" by the renowned British newspaper "The Guardian". It is worth coming and touring the islands, visiting the beaches and enjoying nature in one of the few Virgin Paradises that we have left on earth.


Nature reserve

Due to the high natural value of this area and to the deterioration it was suffering by human activity, it was declared a Nature Reserve in 1980. The level of legal protection varied until November 21, 2000, when the Galician Parliament unanimously agreed to apply for the status of National Park to the central Government. The Spanish Congress of Deputies signed a definite agreement in June 2002, creating the National Land-Marine Park of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia, formed by a number of archipelagosislands and cays, namely the Cíes, OnsSálvoraNoro [es], Vionta, Cortegada Island and the Malveiras [es].
The marine part of the Park is measured as a 100-meter-wide strip from the shore in low tide. Since 1992, underwater fishing is forbidden in the islands. National Parks are nature areas nearly untransformed by human activity that, based on their landscapegeological or ecosystems possess aestheticecologiceducative or scientific values worth of special protection. Therefore, the activities that alter or endanger the stability of the ecosystem are forbidden. Some traditional activities (like traditional fishing) are allowed as long as they are compatible with the environment and the preservation of natural resources.
Since 1988, the Islands have a status of ZEPA (Zona de Especial Protección para las Aves, Spanish for Special Protection Area for Birds), and they are included in the Natura 2000 network, which develops European Union Directives in relation to habitats and birds. It contains one of the main colonies of the yellow-legged gull.[1] The ZEPAs are protected mainly to avoid pollution and general deterioration of the places used by birds permanently or during their migrations.



In summer, boats link Monteagudo with the ports of Vigo, Baiona and Cangas. There is a camping area but permissions have to be reserved at the Vigo port. A supermarket, a visitor center and a restaurant cater for visitors. There are no waste bins on the islands. Visitors are required to take their litter back to the mainland. The Cíes Islands are composed of nine beaches with fine white sand and clear waters. In February 2007 the British newspaper The Guardian chose the beach of Rodas, on the island of Monteagudo,  as "the best beach in the world." "Galegos come here to spend long, lazy summer days on the Praia das Rodas, a perfect crescent of soft, pale sand backed by small dunes sheltering a calm lagoon of crystal-clear sea", says the magazine.

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