I was in the port city of Vigo for work. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time to explore this interesting city, but I did manage to do a bit of wandering and enjoyed my time in this last outpost of Europe – just on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
As the Galicians liked to explain to me, theirs is not a dialect but a distinct language separate from Spanish. The Galician language developed in the 11th century, and is closely associated with Portuguese (the Portuguese border is only a few kilometers from Vigo).
Vigo is Galicia’s oldest and most industrialized city. Vigo has its roots in Roman times. It began to accumulate wealth after Charles V authorized it to serve as a port city with the burgeoning trade with America, in 1529. (Christopher Columbus’s Pinta ship docked nearby on its return voyage, south of Vigo in Baiona. If you’re a Columbus groupie, see my earlier posts on Columbus’ hometown of Genova and the statue in his honor in Barcelona)
Today, Vigo is the largest port for consumed fish in all of Europe. The city has developed a thriving seafood industry, and that alongside its port and shipbuilding industry keep the city’s economy humming.
It’s fun to wander the city’s old town, with its narrow twisting streets. The castle sits high above the city, and boasts beautiful views out to the bay – and offers a spectacular perch for the dramatic sunsets.
Vigo is an enjoyable city to wander. Enjoy this corner of Galicia, surrounded by the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, on your next trip to Spain.