Okay, I’ll admit that small provincial towns are bourgeois, small-minded, and oppressive. And my hometown Pontevedra is, of course, no exception…or is it?
Lots of things have changed here for the better in the last 12 years. The city is now pedestrian-friendly, clean, and nicer. We have received several awards for the enormous effort done regarding accessibility. People moving in wheelchairs or parents with pushchairs will find no obstacles to crisscross the town. Its almost perfect size and lack of hills make it the perfect place to move around, see the sights, and go shopping.
Pontevedra lies at the mouth of river Lérez, where the river meets not the sea, but the “Ria of Pontevedra”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ria. The port was navigable until the 18th century, and the town was a thriving fishing port until then. In the 19th century, Pontevedra was made head of its own province, much to the neighbouring Vigo’s discontent. Today, it is a nice, quiet provincial town with a steadily growing population and an exciting future ahead.
Pontevedra is divided into two different parts. The new town, busy and bourgeois, always swarming with rushing people and businesses, and the picturesque old town full of restaurants, tapas bars, and the usual venue for young people and nightlife. The new town is nice and all that, but Pontevedra’s real asset is the old town. Smaller and not as monumental as Santiago, it is however, nicer to walk and more enjoyable. All its beautiful and picturesque squares are taken up with esplanades where you can eat our delicious Galician specialties or have a drink in the company of your friends. Pontevedra is the only town in Galicia where people are still in full possession of their streets.
We boast of the quality of our Museo Provincial, easily the best of its type in the whole of Spain. There are also some interesting churches to visit, if you are into that kind of thing: a Peregrina stands in the portion of Saint Jacques’ Way that runs through the town. It’s worth a visit because its plant has the form of a scallop, the symbol of the Way to Santiago.
But the must-see place, what no visitor should miss are the “prazas”, the squares in the old town. Take a stroll from one to the other, stop for a beer or a glass of wine and an octopus tapa; watch and take photos. You won’t regret it.
The best times of the year to visit us are spring and summer. The whole town shakes off the winter slumber and seems to run amok as a busy ant colony. Some of the best beaches of Galicia are just a few kilometres away and lots of people stay here in those months. There is a week-long festival in August and the most amazing Renaissance Fair in the first weekend of September, when everybody greets the summer goodbye and joins in the biggest fancy dress party in Galicia. Don’t miss that!