Santiago de Compostela, a Galician city in the northwest corner of Spain, is best known as the final destination on the historic Christian pilgrimage Camino de Santiago. Famous as the burial ground of St. James, the entire region is also renowned for its delicious cuisine, particularly seafood dishes. You don't have to be religious to come here, though. The city has plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs, and its university gives it a lively, youthful edge.
8am - Breakfast at Café Metate
(Rúa de San Paio de Antealtares)
So you've just woken up, and you want to pack as much as possible into the day. The first thing you'll need then is breakfast, and not boring old cereal either. Churros with thick, hot chocolate are a Spanish staple, either for breakfast or as a snack. The best place for them in Santiago de Compostela is Café Metate, a former chocolate factory where the owners make all their confectionary by hand, including the churros.
9.30am - Obradoiro Square and the Santiago Cathedral
Arriving early means you get to beat the crowds that appear later on in the day and take in the magnificent Cathedral looming overhead, where the remains of St. James are said to have been buried. There's a small entry fee to enter the Cathedral itself, but it's definitely worth it to experience the serenity within.
11am - Visit the Monasterio de San Martin Pinario
(Plaza de la Inmaculada)
This is a former monastery for Benedictine monks who settled here as early as the 9th century. Very little of the original features remain, as it was largely rebuilt after the 16th century, but the immensely beautiful baroque entrance is jaw-dropping. Take a self guided tour inside for a couple of euros entry fee.
2pm - Lunch at O Curro da Parra
(20 Rúa Travesa)
Spaniards take their afternoon meal very seriously, so follow suit and enjoy a long, leisurely lunch at O Curro da Parra in a stylish and contemporary setting. Tucked away in a narrow side alley, it's a little difficult to find at first, but completely worth it, especially for the very reasonably priced daily market lunch menu and varied wine list.
4pm - Shopping in the Old District
(Rúa do Villar, Rúa Calderería, Rúa Nova)
Santiago de Compostela's traditional wares include silver and black jet, so browse jewelry and trinket shops for unique handcrafted designs. Given that the city is part of a pilgrimage, you can also buy unusual souvenirs, including walking sticks decorated with scallop shells, the symbol of St. James.
9pm - Dinner is served at Casa Marcelo
(1 Rúa Hortas)
In Spain, the evening meal is not eaten until very late, sometimes not until midnight, which may concern a few English-speaking tourists unaccustomed to such late night dining. Casa Marcello is slightly pricier than other restaurants around the city, but for quality food, it cannot be beaten.
11pm onwards - The Paris - Dakar challenge
(Rúa do Franco)
There are a ton of watering holes in Santiago de Compostela because of all the thirsty students wandering in and out of the city, but if you're feeling truly adventurous, have a go at the local drinking game. Doing the "Paris-Dakar" means starting off at Café Paris on Rúa do Franco, then visiting the 40 odd bars and pubs between it and the Dakar Bar, at the other end of the street.