Lugo is in Galicia, northwestern Spain. The city is well known for its historic Roman walls which circle the old town, reaching a height of almost 15 metres - they are still in excellent condition, and remain completely intact. Their historic status is recognised internationally, and form a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Lugo has a population of 98,000 people (2018), and a campus of the nearby University of Santiago de Compostela to the south of the city centre. The town lies on a hill surrounded by the rivers Minho, Rato and Chanca.
The city was founded by Celts, who named it Lugos after the Celtic god of light, oaths, and the arts. It remained a small town of little repute until the Middle Ages when it became a seat of pilgrimage. This was because the cathedral would show the Blessed Sacrament to the public 24 hours a day.
The Roman walls which give the city its fame were built between 263 and 276 AD to defend the then Roman town of Lucus Augusti against local tribes and Germanic invasion. However, their success in the defence of the town was limited, and over the next 700 years the town was invaded and sacked by Suevi, the Visigoths, the Moors, the Christians and the Normans.
In 1833 Spain was split into provinces, and Lugo became the capital of Lugo province, which gave it more status, which was further helped by the railway arriving here in 1875. The city kept on growing as an administrative centre, and when the Civil War broke out it was quickly under the control of Franco’s fascists.
By air, the closest airport is Lavacolla (SCQ IATA), about two hours by bus away. Empresa Freire[dead link] operates a regular bus service to and from Santiago de Compostela, with a stop at the airport.
The following companies operate at this airport:
- Adria Airways: Ljubljana
- Aer Lingus: Dublin
- Air Europa: Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Caracas
- EasyJet: Geneve and Basel
- Iberia: Madrid and Bilbao
- Ryanair: Frankfurt, Milan, London, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante, Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, Lanzarote, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Tenerife
- Volotea: Venice, Ibiza and Menorca
- Vueling: Barcelona, Málaga, Paris and Zurich
- Turkish Airlines:Istanbul
RENFE has a train station in the city, which connects Lugo by rail to the rest of Spain.
- Daily overnight sleeper services to Madrid and Barcelona leave Lugo each night.
- Regional services connect Lugo directly to A Coruña, Ourense and Monforte de Lemos, and from those destinations every major town in Galicia can be reached
- There is also a daily service to Bilbao.
Lugo is just off the A-6 national highway, which reaches from A Coruña in Galicia to Ponferrada and Madrid. It is also on the N-640 Galician route from Ourense to the northern coast at Ourense. Driving around town is relatively easy, however there are a number of one way streets which can be confusing. Much of the old town is pedestrianised, and as such off-limits to most drivers.
Distances to Lugo:
- Madrid 505 km,
- A Coruna 97 km,
- Ourense 96 km,
- Pontevedra 150 km,
- Oviedo 255 km
Lugo Bus Station (Praza Constitución) is just outside the old city walls, and serves a number of destinations.
- Empresa Freire[dead link] provides a regular service to Santiago which goes via the airport.
- ALSA also serves destinations throughout Spain, including Madrid (5-6 hours), Madrid Barajas Airport (6-7 hours), and Santander (6-7 hours).
- Arriva Galicia serves destinations throughout northern Galicia, including A Coruña, Ferrol, Viveiro and Ribadeo.
The city is small, and the tourist centre is easily navigable by foot. Maps are available from tourist information offices and most hotels. Bus services operate to the outskirts.
- 1 Murallas Romanas (Roman Walls). The Roman Walls are the principal historic attraction in the city, and are considered some of the best preserved in Europe. They have been made a UNESCO World Heritage site, and form a loop of around 2 km around the old city, with 71 towers along their length. Entering the old city still requires you to walk through one of the gates, which were used until the 19th century. Free.
- 2 Catedral de Lugo (Lugo Cathedral). Construction began here in 1129, with further work taking place for several hundred years after. Also on the same site is the diocesan museum with an interesting archaeological collection. Free.
- Convent and church of St. Francis. In Gothic style, with remains of the sober cloister. It houses the Museo Provincial, which shows a display of Galician art and other buildings of the 18th century.
- Church of St. Dominic.
- City Hall (Casa do Concello in Galician). A large Baroque structure with a mid-18th-century façade. Annexed is a clock tower from the 16th century that was rebuilt later.
- Palace of the arts (Círculo das Artes).
- 3 The Roman Bridge over river Minho.
- Rosalía de Castro Park. A 23-ha park in the city centre. It has a small pond in the middle and contains many species of trees, like three sequoias.
- Museo Interactivo de Historia de Lugo (MIHL), In Parque da Milagrosa on Avenida Infanta Elena, Duquesa de Lugo. Tu-Sa 11:00-13:30, 17:00-19:30; Su 17:00- 20:00. An interactive museum about the history of the city. Free.
Two important festivals take place in Lugo:
- Saint Froilan festivity. 4–12 October. Dedicated to the city's patron saint. It's a Fiesta of National Tourist Interest and it's very popular to eat polbo á feira in one of the many stands near Rosalía de Castro park.
- Arde Lucus. A festival celebrated in the last weeks of June, it revives the Roman and pre-Roman past of the city. It emerged to commemorate the declaration of the city's Roman wall as a World Heritage Site in 2000. In its latest editions it has reached nearly half a million visitors.
The University of Santiago de Compostela (one of the best in Spain) has a campus in the town to the south of the centre, which offers a number of programmes, including exchange opportunities for private students and those looking to study through existing exchange programmes such as Erasmus. They offer courses in:
- Veterinary Medicine
- Business Administration
The Centro de Linguas Modernas attached to the University provides a number of language courses in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English. These courses are generally only available to registered students.
There are supermarkets and bakeries throughout the city which sell everything the self-caterer needs.
- Pastelería Don León, Calle de San Pedro, 39 (Other branches throughout the town.), ☏ +34 982245119. Serves fresh bread and sweet and savouries throughout the day.
- Gadis (Good supermarket), Calle de Quiroga Ballesteros, 10 (Other branches outside the walls.), ☏ +34 982280324. 0930-2130. Good quality supermarket that stocks local and international produce.
- Fonte do Rei 2, Avenida de Madrid (15 minutes walk from the old town). Serves excellent tapas and seafood for good prices to hordes of locals.
The vast majority of bars will provide you with a small portion of food (tapa) with a drink order (even a soft drink), and with enough drinks often a sizeable amount of food can be had! The local beer is Estrella Galicia, and other common brands include Cruzcampo, Steinburg and San Miguel.
- Cook, Augas Férreas 7 (about 15 minutes walk outside the walls). Open until late. Popular bar in a student area, with good beers and tapas.
- Loft 52, Circulo das Artes 5 (over the road from Cook), ☏ +34 982229993. A decently priced dance bar in a student area of Lugo, which hosts regular nights for students and locals.
- Comic, Plaza del Campo. 23:30 - 04:00. A popular alternative nightclub, that also doubles as a comic book gallery.
- [dead link] Buda Spa Galicia, Carretera de Forxan 30 (in the town of Foz).
- [dead link] A Casa de Piego, San Acisclo, 10 (Foz (Lugo)), ☏ +34982142148. The passage of the time stand out the massive volume of this village house of the 19th century.
Lugo is a really safe place to visit like Galicia in general, however some caution never hurts (especially on the weekends at night).
For all emergencies dial 112.
The Policia Nacional responds to emergency calls and patrols the city centre. They are also able to provide written reports in the event of a crime. The Policia Local also patrols, and deals with less serious offences.