The town of Betanzos on the Camino Ingles celebrated 800 years of history this month. To mark this impressive anniversary we share our top things to do in Betanzos, one of the former capitals of the Old Kingdom of Galicia and one of our favourites on this Camino route.
BETANZOS OLD TOWN
With its medieval gates, elegant manor houses, dazzling white balconies and churches, Betanzos’ Old Town is one of Galicia’s finest. The historic town centre is mainly open to pedestrians, with very limited traffic, so it’s perfect for walkers. Enjoy a stroll in the old quarter, admiring its cobbled streets and squares, as well as its fascinating mix of architecture.
STAMP YOUR PILGRIM PASSPORT AT ST JAMES CHURCH
There are three churches of different styles and periods worth visiting in Betanzos’ Old Town: Santa Maria, San Francisco and Santiago. Given that you are on your way to Santiago we recommend you get your pilgrim passport stamped at St James (Santiago) Church.
While on the Camino you will probably sample many different tortillas. Each cook has its own recipe, style and preference. In Betanzos, however, tortilla is a local edible emblem and you shouldn’t leave the town without tasting its own oozy tortilla.
PARQUE DO PASATEMPO
Like many other Galicians, the Garcia Naveira brothers emigrated to Argentina in the 19th century looking to build a better life for themselves. Many emigrants of that time found wealth and success in America. They are known as ‘Indianos’ and many of them left an important legacy in their towns of origin, sharing their wealth and giving back to their home communities. The Garcia Naveira brothers funded many charitable projects but their most famous contribution to Betanzos was the construction of the Parque do Pasatempo (Park of Pastime), designed as a public space for learning where culture could be accessible to all the people of the region.
It took over 20 years to build this unusual park and garden, featuring caves, ponds, imagery from Ancient Egypt, Greek mythology, exotic animals… more than a ‘pastime’ park, it is a space dedicated to knowledge.
Furanchos are a kind of secret bar where locals used to sell their own wines and homemade tapas for only a few coins. Betanzos is one of the few towns in Galicia where you can still experience this unique establishment. It is in the humble furancho where you will appreciate the best local delicacies and home grown fruity wine.
For more information about the Camino Ingles or to book your trip to Betanzos and this fantastic Camino route, contact our travel specialists