The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important shrines in Christiandom, as it is the said to be the final resting place of Saint James the Greater, one of the 12 Apostles. Its history is as storied and intricate as its architecture, having been razed and rebuilt numerous times during the Church's conflict with Spain's Muslim invaders.
The cathedral is a stunning masterpiece of baroque architecture, and each of its four directional facades depict different monuments to St. James and Jesus Christ. Guided tours explain the detail in each facade, and in Holy Years, when St. James' Day falls on a Sunday, you can travel through the Holy Door in the Eastern Facade.
Inside the cathedral, you'll be treated to more stunning sculpture; as you walk through the crucifix-shaped interior, the edifices become more intricate and awe-inspiring, as the sculpture vividly illustrates scenes from the Bible. In the choir, five chapels contain a treasure trove of paintings, reliquaries and more sculpture. An alleged piece of the True Cross is said to be house here.
Whether your a pilgrim wishing to bask in the presence of an important holy site or merely interested in one of the most fantastic spots in Europe, the Catedral is a must-see for the sweep and scope of the art and architecture alone.
Nearby is the Museum of the Galician People (Museo do Pobo Galego), where visitors learn about the history, culture and traditions of Galicia throughout the ages. If you're interested in modern Galicians, however, there are plenty of nearby restaurants, pubs and bars. In particular, check out the late-night scenes at Casa de Crechas and Modus Vivendi.