Useful information about the Camino of Saint James Pilgrimage and Santiago de Compostela

Parks and gardens 3: Belvis

Posted in What to do in Santiago.

In its "Green Guide. Santiago de Compostela ", Maria Isabel Fraga counts 227 acres of parkland in the town of Compostela. The Parks and historical gardens are modern examples of landscaping linked to ancient monasteries.

The generosity of the nuns of Belvis



Belvis Park is another example of the important part that monasteries haveplayed in creating green spaces in the city centre. It is located in an area close to the Rua de San Pedro, at the foot of the monastery to which part of the land belonged. Belvís, together with the Minor Seminary, has now become one of the busiest pilgrims’ hostels.

Cloistered nuns still live in the convent of Belvis, and it was these same nuns who some years ago had no hesitation in donating some of their property to the municipality of Santiago.

This area was turned into a park in the late 90s and finally in 2008 the town added large lawns and terraces with recently planted trees. There was also a pioneering initiative: that of offering to the citizens of a number of allotments where traditional and ecological gardening methods could be practised.

This initiative has prospered and now represents a space where old Compostela and experienced farmers, share their experience with students and junior professionals eager to learn gardening. In addition, the council itself has planted an orchard.

The new Compostela: the park of Galeras

But along with the old monasteries and their gardens, modern daily life in Santiago can be seen on the paths and lawns of the park Galeras: children playing, young people reading, old men sitting in the sun, walkers and "joggers "of all ages, dogs of all breeds and even some bikes.

The park was created in 1999 occupying a large area crossed by the river is a slightly undulating green plain, very carefully planned with fine lawns, which serves as a platform to reach the large green spaces surrounding Santiago: the Monte Pedroso and Granxa do Xesto.

Flanked by buildings of a neighbourhood renovated in recent years, the park has a wide range of cafes and bars with terraces with fine views, where one can enjoy a beer, wine or a menu of the day for those who have completed their backpack provisions.

Beside the park there is the sports complex of Santa Isabel which, for a small fee, offers pilgrims its facilities, including a swimming pool, sauna and showers.

Other recommended areas of the city are: the South Campus, practically an extension of the Alameda with walks and numerous sports facilities; Carballeira de San Lourenzo, a small forest near the campus with buildings of Pazo de San Lourenzo, former convent of Trasouto; Park Vista Alegre or farm Simeon, very close to that of Galeras, and the Music Park in Compostela, built around the concert hall of the Auditorium de Galicia, with a large area of lawn and an attractive pond.