Vigo (/ˈvɡ/, Galician: [ˈbiɣʊ], locally [ˈbiħʊ], Spanish: [ˈbiɣo]) is a city and municipality adjoining the Atlantic Ocean in the province of Pontevedra in Galicia, northwest Spain. It is the capital of the county of Vigo and Vigo metropolitan area.

From top: Port of Vigo seen from across Vigo Bay; Vigo skyline; Policarpo Sanz Street


Coat of arms
The Olive City
Interactive map outlining Vigo
Location within Spain
Location within Europe
Coordinates: 42.231356°N 8.712447°W / 42.231356; -8.712447
Autonomous communityGalicia
ParishesSanta María de Vigo, Santiago de Vigo, Freixeiro, Castrelos, Sárdoma, Alcabre, Navia, Comesaña, Coruxo, Saiáns, Oia, Matamá, Coia, Candeán, Cabral, Teis, Bembrive, Beade, Zamáns, Valadares, Lavadores, Bouzas
  BodyConcello de Vigo
  MayorAbel Caballero (PSdeG-PSOE)
  City and municipality109.1 km2 (42.1 sq mi)
0 m (0 ft)
  City and municipality293,642
  Density2,700/km2 (7,000/sq mi)
vigués (m), viguesa (f)
olívico (m), olívica (f)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code(s)+34 986

Vigo is the most populous municipality of Galicia, the 14th in Spain, and the most populous Spanish municipality that is not a provincial capital. It has an area of 109.06 km2 (42.11 sq mi) and had a population of 292,817 in 2016. According to the National Statistics Institute of Spain the city itself has 198,537 inhabitants, the rest belong to a high number of rural and suburban population living in its parishes, being the municipality of Spain with a higher percentage of rural population.

The city is located in the southwest of Galicia, in the southern part of Vigo Bay, one of Europe's rainiest areas. In the northeast, it borders the municipality of Redondela; in the east, Mos; in the south, O Porriño and Gondomar; and in the southwest, Nigrán. On the other side of its bay are the municipalities of Cangas and Moaña. They are all part of the southern Galician region called Rías Baixas. Vigo is just north of the border with Portugal; its nearest larger city is Porto, Portugal's second-largest city and the most important city in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula.

Vigo and its metropolitan area are one of the region's primary economic agents.


In the Middle Ages, the small village of Vigo was part of the territory of Galician-speaking neighbouring towns, particularly Tui, and suffered several Viking attacks. However, its number of inhabitants was so small that, historically, it was not considered a real villa until around the 15th century, when the earliest records began.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the city was attacked several times. In 1585 and 1589, during an unsuccessful attack by the English counter-Armada, Francis Drake raided the city and temporarily occupied it, burning many buildings. Several decades later a Turkish fleet tried to attack the city. As a result, the city's walls were built in 1656 in the reign of Philip IV of Spain. They are still partially preserved.

At this time, and in spite of the attacks, Vigo developed its earliest commerce and was given several privileges by the kings of Spain.

In 1702, the Battle of Vigo Bay occurred, and in 1719, because a Spanish fleet which departed from Vigo attempted to invade Scotland in support of the Jacobites, the city was occupied for ten days by a British force.

In 1808, the French Army annexed Spain to the Napoleonic Empire, although Vigo remained unconquered until January, 1809. Vigo was also the first city of Galicia to be freed from French rule, in what is annually celebrated on March 28 as the Reconquista (reconquest from the French in the context of the Peninsular War). In 1833, the city of Pontevedra was designated the provincial capital.

Vigo grew very rapidly in the 19th and 20th centuries. Continuous urban-planning changes left Vigo less structured than other Galician cities such as Pontevedra and A Coruña.

The city of Vigo, seen from the other side of the bay.


Vigo's urban area is built over both a hill-fort (Castro) and a Roman settlement. It is generally accepted that the name Vigo is derived from the Latin word vicus spacorum, meaning "small village".

The standard pronunciation of Vigo in both Galician and Spanish is [ˈbiɣo].

Vigo has been given the nickname cidade olívica (city of olives). It is said that, after the conflict between the Isabel de Castilla and Juana la Beltraneja—where Galician nobility fought for the latter—the victor ordered all of Galicia's olive trees to be cut down, as they symbolized peace. She couldn't uproot the tree in Vigo, however, because it was planted in sacred ground. The tree is represented in the city seal, and a descendant of it is still alive in Vigo's city centre.


The city of Vigo has 293,642 inhabitants (2018) with an extended metropolitan population of 478,508, making it Spain's 14th-largest metropolitan area.

In 2019, 15,319 foreigners lived in the city, 5.2% of the total population. The main nationalities are Portuguese (12%), Venezuelans (9.2%)Brazilians (9%), Romanians (7.5%), Colombians (6.5%), Senegal (4%) and Chinese people (3%).

By language, according to 2013 data, 7.68% of the population speak exclusively in Galician, and 51.39% in Spanish; 11.38% speak in Galician more often than Spanish, and 29.55% more often in Spanish than Galician. This makes Vigo the least Galician-speaking city in Galicia.[2]



Vigo's climate is usually classified as oceanic (Köppen climate classification Cfb); however, its summers tend to be warmer and drier, and its winters milder than most areas of similar classification. In actuality, with its noticeable drying trend in the summer, Vigo's climate is more similar to the variant of the oceanic climate commonly seen in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Substantial rainfall throughout the year prevents it from being classified as a Mediterranean climate, even though there is a drying trend in summer. The average annual temperature in Vigo is 14 °C (57 °F). Compared to many other Galician towns, Vigo experiences warmer summer temperatures than A Coruña and milder winters than inland areas. This is due to its sheltered location, surrounded by mountains inland and the Illas Cíes out in the bay towards the sea.[3] The all-time record high for the city is 39.7 °C (103 °F) set on July 5, 2013.[4] Vigo is known for its extreme rainfall in winter. December 1978 saw 925.6 millimetres (36.44 in) fall at the weather station in a single month.[5][6] During that month on 7 December, 175 millimetres (6.9 in) fell on a single day.[7] Normal values for 1981-2010 was 1,791 millimetres (70.5 in) falling on just 129.2 days indicating heavy rain to be common.[8] The airport where values are taken is at a higher elevation than the city centre, which likely is warmer year-round.

Climate data for Vigo (Vigo Airport 261m) (1981-2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 21.8
Average high °C (°F) 11.9
Daily mean °C (°F) 8.6
Average low °C (°F) 5.4
Record low °C (°F) −4.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 208
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 14 12 12 14 12 7 5 5 8 13 13 15 129
Average relative humidity (%) 84 78 73 73 73 71 71 71 74 81 84 84 77
Mean monthly sunshine hours 114 131 178 193 228 273 296 287 212 154 112 101 2,269
Source: Agencia Estatal de Meteorología[9]


Vigo is administratively divided into 23 districts (parroquias), which are further subdivided into wards (barrios)

  1. Alcabre: Ameixeira, Barreiro, Carregal, Castañal, Cristo, Forte, Gándara, Igrexa, Pardaíña, Roade, Sobreira, Viñagrande
  2. Beade: Babio, Balde, Carballo do Pazo, Coutada, Gándara, Porto, A Pena, Quintián, O Seixo, A Venda, Sáa
  3. Bembrive: Baruxans, Carballal, Chans, Xestoso, Mosteiro, Outeiro, San Cibrán, Segade, Areeiro, Eifonso, Mouteira, Recaré, Xesteira
  4. Bouzas
  5. Cabral: Becerreira, Carballal, Sello, Figueiras
  6. Candeán: Igrexa, Candeán de Arriba, Rabadeira, Fonte Oscura
  7. Castrelos: Alvite, Castreliños, Costa, Chantada, Espedrigada o Pereiró, A Pousa, Falcoa, Macal, Pazó, Portoloureiro, Viloura
  8. Coia
  9. Comesaña: Casas, Cocheiros, Comesaña, Eidos, Igrexa, Muíños, Pazo, Pedra Branca, Pedreira, Pereiras, Ponte, Romeu, Rodeira, Sanin, Tombo, Viña da Veiga
  10. Coruxo: Roteas, Río, Molans, Cean, Fontela, Breadouro, Silveira, Combro, Calzada, Cotarelo, Romeu, Verdeal, Melcas, Taberna, Burdes, Abade, Igrexa, Quintas, Carballal, Rozo, Coto de Arriba, Coto de Abaixo, Carrasqueira, Muiños, Gándara, Longra, Luz, Bouzas, Tarrío, Gato, San Lourenzo, Torre de Abaixo, Torre de Arriba, Laxes, Viño, Pedreira, Parrocha, Fragoselo, Tintureira
  11. Freixeiro: Mantelas, A Salgueira, Riobó
  12. Lavadores: Arriero, A Bagunda, Barreiro, Cambeses, A Ceboleira, O Couto, Gandariña, Gandarón, Naia, Pardavila, Riomaio, San Paio de Abaixo, San Paio, Igrexa
  13. Matamá: Balsa, Balvis, Barxa, Beirán, Campos, Carapuxa, Carneiras, Dehesa, Castro, Igrexa, Lagarella, Moo, Outeiro, Parada, Pazos, Pereiro, Revolta, Rivas, Ribelas, Roupeiro, San Amaro, Vilar
  14. Navia: Devesa, Gándara, Goberna, Pereiras, Quintela, Redondo, Samil, Tomada, Torre, Xuncal
  15. Oia: Bouzo, Cabo Estai, Canido Praia, Carretera Cortada, Cerqueiro, Cruceiro, Curras, Eiras, Estea, Esteriz, Estomada, Figueiras, Gontade, Grades, Hermida, Igrexa, Loureiro, Estación, Lantexa, Lavandeira, Liñares, A Maris, Matoca, Mide, Oia, Outeiro, Poza, Rochas, Rozo, Senra de Arriba, Senra de Abaixo, Silval, Toxal, Toucido, Verdella, Xistro
  16. Saiáns: Carballido, Cal do Outeiro, Garcias, Aral, Fontán, Gándara, Cova da Becha, Curbeira, Horta, Orxas, Castañal, Borreiros, Portiño, Tomada, San Xurxo, Capela, Misarelas, Estea, Pinal, Budiases, Souto, Cova da Barxa, Domeira, Cachoa, Dovesa, Fortiñon, Gondufe, Volta, Vilaverde
  17. San Paio
  18. San Xoán do Monte
  19. Sárdoma
  20. Teis: Cacharela, Mouta, Ferreira, Paradela, Fervenza, Ríos, Travesán, Presa, Chumba, Igrexa, Trapa, Arnel, Praixal, Rorís, Balbarda, A Guía, Oliveira, Espiñeiro, Frian, Santa Tegra, Bellavista, Calzada, Coutadas, Os Caños, Tovel, A Rabuda, Guixar, Barrio das Frores, Montecelo
  21. Valadares
  22. Vigo centro
  23. Zamáns: Casal de Abade, Cidáns, A Igrexa (San Mamede), As Lagoas, Marcosende, A Menda, Paredes, Vilariño, Vilaverde, Erville.

Metropolitan area

The following towns are in the Vigo metropolitan area:

Municipality Population
Vigo 296,479 109.10 2717.5
Cangas do Morrazo 26,173 38.10 686.96
Moaña 19,309 31,50 612.98
Soutomaior 7,302 24.97 292.43
Fornelos de Montes 1,864 83.10 22.43
Pazos de Borbén 3,113 50.00 62.26
Redondela 29,918 51.90 576.45
Nigrán 17,738 34.90 508.25
Baiona 12,035 35.35 340.45
Gondomar 14,005 74.50 187.99
Mos 15,367 52.00 295.52
O Porriño 18,908 61.20 308.95
Salceda de Caselas 8,887 35.90 247.55
Salvaterra de Miño 9,816 62.00 158.32
Total 480,914 744.52 645.94

Main sights

  • Casco Vello (historic centre)
  • Porta do Sol, Policarpo Sanz and Alameda area (modern centre)
  • Príncipe and Urzaiz Streets (commercial area)
  • Celtic Castro ruins
  • Castro fortress
  • Collegiate church of Santa Maria de Vigo


  • Naturnova Museum: Museum dedicated to the environment. Interactive contents.
  • Museum of the Sea: Museum dedicated to the Sea, and to tinned food and to naval. Important building designed by famous architects Aldo Rossi and Cesar Portela.
  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Vigo: One of the most important museums of Contemporary Art in Spain.
  • Museum of Castrelos.
  • Verbum, Casa das Palabras. A museum dedicated to languages and communication. Important building designed by famous architect Cesar Portela.
  • Pinacoteca de Vigo
  • Galician Center of Photography
  • Ethnographic Museum Liste
  • Pedro Barrié de la Maza Foundation

Romanesque architecture of Vigo

The municipality of Vigo is not only one of the major industrial cities in Galicia, but it is also one of the more important Roman centers of Pontevedra. Although within the city one will not find much Romanesque architecture, it can be seen a few kilometers away from the city center. In many of the municipality's neighborhoods and parishes a large number of Roman ruins remain. Such is the importance of the Roman remains in Vigo that many Spanish authors have come to coin the term Romanesque Vigo (románico vigués in Spanish). Vigo retains some interesting examples of Romanesque churches in southern Galicia:[10]

  • Santa Maria de Castrelos
  • Santiago de Bembrive
  • San Salvador de Coruxo



Vigo is served by Vigo-Peinador Airport with flights to Lisbon, Dublin, Bologna, Milan, Paris, Rome, London, Edinburgh and several domestic destinations.

A ferry service operates between the Port of Vigo and the towns of Cangas and Moaña as well as the Cíes Islands, 15 kilometres away from the city, part of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park, the only National Park in Galicia. European route E01 goes through the town. This highway goes south through Lisbon and north to the A Coruña area.

The A-52 road goes inland, east to Ourense and Madrid from O Porriño. The Autopista AP-9 connect Vigo to Pontevedra, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña and Ferrol.

The Urzáiz and Guixar railway stations serve Vigo, allowing direct connections to the rest of Galicia as well as Porto across the border in Portugal. An AVE train station is being built in the centre of the city to connect the city to Spain's high-speed rail network.

Urban transport is provided by buses by Vitrasa progestin.


The city is governed by a mayor-council form of government. Following the May 24, 2015 municipal elections the mayor of Vigo is Abel Caballero of the Socialists' Party of Galicia (PSdeG).[11] The city council (concello) is governed by the Socialists' Party of Galicia (17 councilors, to the People's Party of Galicia 7 and Marea de Vigo 3).

2015 local elections results

Party Vote Seats
Votes % ±pp Won +/−
Socialists' Party of Galicia-Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSdeG-PSOE) 73,07451.8017.37 176
People's Party (PP) 28,87420.4721.95 76
Marea de Vigo-Son (MdV-SON)[12] 16,22711.506.58 33
Galician Nationalist Bloc-Open Assemblies (BNG) 6,8004.826.26 03
Let's Win Vigo (Gañemos) 2,4401.73New 0±0
Animalist Party Against Mistreatment of Animals (PACMA) 1,5931.13New 0±0
Commitment to Galicia-Transparent Municipalities (CxG-CCTT) 1,1500.82New 0±0
Equo-Pirates (QP) 7950.56New 0±0
Union, Progress and Democracy (UPyD) 6820.480.72 0±0
Democratic Renovation Citizen Movement (RED) 6640.47New 0±0
Communists of Galiza-Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain (Comunistas-PCPE) 3760.27New 0±0
Electoral Group Zero Cuts (Recortes Cero)[13] 3760.270.16 0±0
Humanist Party (PH) 2920.210.01 0±0
Independent Initiative (II) 2830.20New 0±0
Galician Coalition (CG) 1800.13'New 0±0
Galician Democratic Centre Action (ADCG) 1610.11'New 0±0
Blank ballots 2,3811.691.13
Total 141,007100.00 57±0
Valid votes 141,00798.80-
Invalid votes 1,7181.20Red Arrow Down.svg
Votes cast / turnout 142,79559.792.66
Abstentions 96,05240.212.66
Registered voters 238,847
Source: Ministry of the Interior


Vigo is characterized by a diversified economy linked to the fishing sector, industry, trade, tourism and services. It is often considered the economic and industrial engine of Galicia. Significantly, Vigo was the municipality with the highest GDP in Galicia in 2013.

Vigo is the leading industrial area in Galicia, with car factories, shipyards, and auxiliary industry in both automotive and marine sectors. Situated in Vigo is Galicia's leading employer, French factory PSA Peugeot Citroën since 1958, which in 2007 produced a total of 545,000 vehicles, of which more than 82% were sold outside Spain.

In addition, Vigo has the largest fishing port in Europe and is the home port of the world's largest fishing company, Pescanova and the most important centre of the Galician canned fish industry. The headquarters of the European Fisheries Control Agency are also located in the city.

The publishing industry in Galician is very prominent in the city, with Editorial Galaxia and Editorial Xerais among others.

Vigo is also a major stop on the Portuguese Way path of the Camino de Santiago.

Port of Vigo

The Port of Vigo covers a length of more than 20 km and offers more than 9 km of docks. The largest port traffic is general freight, highlighting container traffic, RO-RO of vehicles (the second in Spain in Ro-Ro traffic for new vehicles), natural stone and granite (the first of Spain in granite traffic), wood and preserved food.


The University of Vigo is situated in a mountainous area on the outskirts of the city. It is an important center for studies related to ocean-based industries. The university has other campuses in Pontevedra and Ourense. The campus of Vigo is a modern project of the architect Enric Miralles, 15 kilometers away from the city.

Culture and lifestyle

Arts and entertainment

"A movida viguesa" was a hedonistic cultural movement that took place in Vigo during the 1980s triggered by the explosion of liberties after the death of dictator Francisco Franco. The most important artists of this postmodern movement were musicians; particularly punk and new wave bands such as Siniestro Total, Golpes Bajos, Aerolíneas Federales, Semen Up or Os Resentidos.

At the moment, the city still has notorious bands like Iván Ferreiro (ex-singer of Los Piratas) and Mon.

The locally produced award-winning feature movie Mondays In The Sun (original title Los lunes al sol) depicts the life of several men who have lost their work at the Port of Vigo. This film is not based on a single individual's experiences but on the perceived collective experiences of many local port workers.


Vigo has two daily newspapers; the Faro de Vigo, the oldest newspaper in Spain still in circulation, and the Atlántico Diario, a little local newspaper. There also exist a local edition of the Galician main headline newspaper "La Voz de Galicia". Vigo was also the main location of historic newspaper such as the nationalist weekly newspaper "A Nosa Terra", now defunct (published from 1977 to 2011).

Vigo also has a several TV local stations: such as "Televigo" and "Localia Vigo".

Radio coverage includes RNE —the Spanish public radio network—, Radio Galega —a Galician government-supported radio in Galician language—, and some private-owned stations ("Radio Vigo - Cadena Ser", "Radio Voz Vigo", "Radio ECCA", and so on).

Around 2000s, several online news websites emerged (for example, "") besides of the traditional media homepages. Vigo also participated in the Europeanwide free newspapers rush led by "Metro" and some free journals were published in 1990s and 2000s: "20 minutos", "Gaceta Universitaria", "Redacción Xove", etcetera. "España Exterior" is also printed in Vigo.



Vigo has one of the most important women's basketball team in Spain, Celta, more commonly referred to today by its sponsorship name of Celta Indepo. They usually compete in the top league of women's basketball, having won the championship three times. For the season 2012-2013, and following a number of economic problems, the team will play in the Spanish women basketball second division.


Vigo has a football team, Real Club Celta de Vigo, which (as of 2019–20) plays in La Liga. The women's team from the area, Federación Viguesa de Peñas Recreativas El Olivo, was the first team from Galicia to compete in the Women's Primera División.[14]


The Rías Baixas offer an excellent environment for nautical sports. Institutions such as the Real Club Nautico de Vigo (RCNV), founded in 1906, and the Liceo Marítimo de Bouzas (LMB), founded in 1907, are good examples of promotion of the nautical sports, especially sailing.

The RCNV organises important events like Atlantic Week, which in September 2006 included the World Championship of the Platu 25 class. Every August, the RCNV also organises one of the largest sailboat races in the Iberian peninsula: the Regata Rías Baixas. In 2006 more than 130 different boats participated.

The LMB is a yacht club which counts around 400 associates. The LMB has a long and intense history of sailing and recreational fishing. The LMB organizes two important regattas in the Galician sailing calendar: the Regata Vila de Bouzas and a Regata de Solitarios y a Dos.

The Regata Vila de Bouzas honours the neighbourhood where the LMB is located. The Regata de Solitarios y a Dos is sponsored by the firm Aister and is for crews of one and two members. It is a difficult race with two stages; the first consists of a race through the coastal bay of Vigo while the second stage is a longer race around the Cies Islands (and/or Ons Islands). The LMB has schools of sailing and fishing. Yearly it organizes a cephalopods fishing competition.

Notable people

  • In the movie Das Boot, set during World War II, the German submarine U-96 stops in Vigo for supplies and torpedoes.

International relations

Twin towns – Sister cities

Vigo is twinned with:

See also


  1. "Municipal Register of Spain 2018". National Statistics Institute. Retrieved 11 April 2019.
  2. Instituto Galego de Estatística.
  3. "Vigo". Retrieved 17 November 2010.
  4. "Vigo". Retrieved 5 July 2013.
  5. "Extreme Values for Vigo Airport". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  6. "Décembre 1978 á Vigo" (in French). Météo Climat. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  7. "Extreme values for Vigo Airport". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  8. "Standard climate values for Vigo Airport". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  9. "Guía resumida del clima en España (1981-2010)".
  10. "Igrexas Romanicas en Vigo". Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  11. "Abel Caballero achieves the best results for the socialists in twenty years" (in Spanish). 2011-05-23.
  12. Results compared with the combined results of United Left and the Galician People's Front in 2011.
  13. Results compared with the results of Communist Unification of Spain (UCE) in 2011.
  14. "Quiero que sepan que hay futuro en el fútbol femenino". Retrieved 2011-12-09.
  15. "Azcárate y Ristori, José María". Museo Nacional del Prado (in Spanish). Retrieved 2018-11-26.
  16. Verne, Jules (1871). "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas". J. Hetzel et Cie. Retrieved 2014-02-22.
  17. "International Relations of the City of Porto" (PDF). 2006-2009 Municipal Directorate of the Presidency Services International Relations Office. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 15, 2010. Retrieved 2009-07-10.
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