Before coming to Galicia, Spain, I knew almost nothing about the northwest region or its people. Guidebooks don’t go into much depth about it. My college Spanish courses barely mentioned it. Even after spending a year in the south of Spain, I only learned that most of the Spanish don’t know much about this mysterious region either. Galicia is truly the hidden gem of Spain.
So I decided to make a trip up there and explore it for myself. During my first weekend there, I fell in love, both with Galicia and a Galician. I’m now going on my second year living here with no plans of leaving. Although there are a million things that make Galicia one of the most unique regions of the world, I made a list of some of the most typically Galician things that will happen to you if you visit or move to Galicia. I hope this article teaches you something you didn’t know about Spain’s coolest region!
1. You will get rained on.
2. Someone Galician will advise you before it’s going to rain.
3. You won’t heed their warning because it’ll look bright and sunny, but suddenly you will get rained on.
(Within 10 minutes it went from sunny to hailing in Ferrol.)
4. You will have some days where you experience all four seasons in the same day. (The region has a lot of different micro-climates.)
5. There will be a lot of conversations about weather.
6. You will have to buy more than one umbrella due to the wind breaking your others.
7. If you get caught umbrella-less, Galician friends or colleagues will loan you one of theirs—it’s like the Galician way of paying it forward.
8. Your clothes will take days to dry in the humid, cold winter without a dryer.
9. Although there will be months of rain in the winter, you will have gorgeous weather for almost all of the summer. Hello, high of 85 with a breeze!
Playa de Carnota
10. On the coast there are so many beautiful beaches, you won’t have any trouble finding a patch of sand all to yourself.
Playa en Cariño
11. You will be able to travel to the “End of the Earth.” (Fisterra) This is a peninsula on the coast that jets out to the most western point of Spain, with only ocean as far as the eye can see.
12. After the first dozen, you will lose track of how many catholic saints days, regional holidays, and town festivals there are.
13. Estrella Galicia beer will be recommended to you until you try it.
14. More than likely you will try Estrella Galicia because, in a shocking amount of locations, it is the only beer on tap. (Also, it’s great!)
15. You will learn about Estrella’s brother, 1906, which is referred to as “mil nueve/nove” (one thousand nine), and its close cousin, Red Vintage, awarded a gold metal in 2013’s World Beer Challenge.
16. Waiters will bring you tapas that you didn’t order. They are free! Disfruta! (Enjoy!)
17. There will be more than one costume/themed party that the entire town dresses up for.
Ponte un San Cosmeiro
Feira Medieval de Noia 2015
18. It will be hard for you to believe that the rent of a shared apartment can cost as low as 120€ a month. One night in a hostel in Santiago can cost 10€ or less.
19. Living in (or visiting) the most inexpensive region of Spain will never get old to you.
20. When going out, you will spend more time socializing outside the bar then inside, even when it’s cold and raining.
21. Apart from potatoes, you won’t be served a vegetable in a Galician restaurant unless you order a salad. There is the occasional pepper here and there.
22. Pulpo (octopus) will become a very normal part of your diet, especially if you dine or live with Galicians. (Check out my article about weird foods in Spain.)
Arroz meloso con pulpo de roca y verduritas de temporada by Fran Lampón
23. When you make some Galician friends, you will most likely be offered homegrown (organic) vegetables for free. (Always accept!)
24. You will realize very quickly that bull fighting, paella, and flamenco are NOT a part of Galician culture, like many other stereotypical Spanish things. (The Galicians don’t like to be referred to as Spanish.)
25. There is a lot of Celtic influence in the region’s history, so you will hear traditional bagpipe music at some point. There are a lot of free concerts in the summer that are definitely worth checking out.
A group called Leilía playing in Noia
26. When you hear Galician (the region’s other official language) spoken for the first time, you will think that you are just really bad at Spanish.
27. Mid-conversation, the language will switch between Galician and Spanish on you without warning.
28. If you have a decent grasp of Spanish, you will most likely pick up a few words in Galician and maybe even get the gist of a full conversation. Galician sounds like a mix of Portuguese and Spanish.
29. You will see very tan pilgrims heading for the region’s capital, Santiago de Compostela, on the Camino.
30. The more time you spend in Galicia, the more you will fall in love with the best region of Spain. Galicia is truly the hidden gem of Spain.