The ancient city of Lugo Spain is the only city in the world to be surrounded by a completely intact Roman wall. It is one of two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the other being the Cathedral of Lugo. The city is also along the Camino Primitivo to Santiago de Compostela.
We took a walk along that Roman wall, viewed the city from above, and also walked within the city. We found a modern city surrounding an ancient one. There are Roman baths (now a spa), large pieces of mosaics, and the intact wall.
Lugo City Walls
The Roman Walls of Lugo are a World Heritage Site. They were built in the 3rd century and according to UNESCO are, “the finest example of late Roman fortifications in western Europe.” What stood out for us were the 85 towers along a wall that is only 2 kilometres in length.
Take a Guided Walking Tour of Lugo Spain
Like so many cities in Spain, Lugo’s interesting history is best learnt with a guide. This tour is available in Spanish, English, or Portuguese, and gives a great overview of the city. Plus, the price is relatively inexpensive.
Cathedral of Lugo
The Santa Iglesia Catedral Basilica de Lugo (Cathedral of Lugo) is the other UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lugo. Built in the 12 century, it serves as the diocese of Lugo.
Plaza Mayor and Town Hall
As in so many Spanish towns, the Plaza Mayor is the most important square in the city. Here, we found the Town Hall, built in 1738.
Roman Pools in the Praza de Santa Maria
Under the Plaza de Santa María we can find remnants of the town’s Roman ancestors. The best of these are the Roman pools.
The Provincial Museum of Lugo is one of the best small town museums we have visited to date. It is filled with art exhibits, Roman tiles, and ancient statues. Then, we came upon the special art exhibit in a very pink room. All seemed well and normal until we looked through the “lenses” to the mini items inside these “boxes.” We were a bit surprised by the randomness of the shiny boy bits we found inside.
Arde Lucus Festival
The Arde Lucus is a festival that takes place the last week of June and revives the Roman and Castroian past Lugo, celebrating the founding of the city. In 2018, it attracted nearly half a million visitors/participants. It looks like loads of fun.
Before we went back to La Coruña, we left the Old Town of Lugo and headed towards the river to see the Roman Baths. We crossed a Roman bridge built in the 1st-century and located near the Balneario Hotel.
Sometimes, history is intermixed with modern life. The Balneario Hotel is built over the Roman Baths. You don’t need to stay here to see them, just walk on in. They were nothing like the Roman Baths we saw in Bath, England a few months back, but they were interesting in their own right. They no longer have much water, as they are diverting it off into a spa.
Getting to Lugo Spain
Lugo is located in the region of Galicia Spain towards the northwest corner of the country. It is a one hour drive from La Coruña or a ninety-minute drive from Santiago de Compostela. We had a car as part of our home exchange. Without our own vehicle our three primary options to get to Lugo would include:
1. Rent a Car. We use Rentalcars.com, and to date have had no problems. We have been very pleased with the customer service, care and quality.
2. Take the bus.
3. Tour the Galicia Region.
Practical and Interesting Information on Lugo Spain
- Lugo is called Lucus Augusti in Latin. The same latin name is given to the city of Luc-en-Diois, France.
- We visited Lugo as a day trip from our two-week home exchange in La Coruna, Spain in Galicia. Our other day trip destination was Santiago de Compostela.