The most famous celebration in Santiago de Compostela occurs on July 25, the feast day of Apostle St. James. Each year, thousands of pilgrims walk along El Camino de Santiago (the Way of Saint James), which has been proclaimed a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The most devout will travel the entire 650-mile (1000-kilometer) route over the course of about a month, wearing traditional pilgrim cloaks and carrying crooked pilgrim’s staffs topped by a clam shell. Then, on July 25, the Plaza del Obradioro and surrounding streets fill up as pilgrims pay homage to the remains of St. James. Dances, parties and fireworks in the city usually last for an entire week around the feast day.

Easter, or Semana Santa , is very much celebrated in Santiago, as elsewhere in Spain. The city throws a large fiesta of parades and fireworks. Also of significance is the Feria del Ganado , which honors Galicia’s Celtic roots with performances of Celtic music and dance. There are also major feasts of traditional Galician cuisine, which heavily features fish, shellfish and crustaceans. Regional specialties include quiexo de tetilla (a type of cheese), meat or fish empanadas , octopus dishes and ribeiro wine. King crab and the local soup, caldo galego , are also popular at this time.