Galicia received huge amounts in EU subsidies up until the 2008 financial crash and these have given it a superb transport infrastructure that on the whole is much better than those of the countries that funded this.
Such was the level of funding that in Santiago de Compostela a whole new shiny designer airport was built next to a perfectly adequate old one which now sits closed off.
As well as this funding the Galician transport infrastructure benefitted from the Spanish attitude to protests against building motorways wherever the government wants, which is that the vast majority believe fighting proposed routes is futile and the few who don’t subsequently find out that actually it is.
Also, a motorway appearing in your back garden is actually a positive thing as far as most Galicians are concerned!
As a result of this, for better or worse, an entire motorway network that flies over valleys and tunnels through hills was constructed in Galicia in less time than a 3 mile stretch of bypass takes in the UK.
All of the major cities in Galicia are connected by motorways, some of which have tolls and some of which don’t, although in all cases motorways can be used to get from one side of a city to the other without tolls.
- The autopista del atlantico connects Ferrol, A Coruna, Santiago, Pontevedra and Vigo and continues down into Portugal. Whilst an excellent road it does have quite expensive tolls.
- There are toll-free (until quite close to Madrid) motorways going towards Madrid from A Coruna and from Vigo via Ourense (and from Santiago with the initial section to Ourense a toll road).
- There is a toll free motorway from A Coruna that goes along the north coast of Spain to Gijon, Oviedo, Santander and Bilbao and on into France where it becomes a toll road. Note that a couple of short sections of this are still under construction.
As well as these major motorways there are numerous short sections of dual carriageway and extra overtaking lanes on main road uphill sections.
Away from city centres and apart from on certain holidays traffic jams are virtually non-existent and you can generally work out travel times based on the distance divided by the speed limit with complete accuracy.
Galicia has three airports:
All of these connect with the major Spanish cities (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, etc.) and Santiago and A Coruna both have daily flights to London (A Coruna to Heathrow with Vueling and Santiago to Stansted with Ryanair or to Gatwick with Easyjet) as well as some other EU destinations.
There is quite cheap car hire at all three airports along with extensive terminal parking, although this is expensive.
The major Galician cities are well connected to each other by frequent and inexpensive train services.
A Coruna, Santiago and Ourense are already connected by Spain’s high speed AVE train service, and the section connecting this line to Madrid is in advanced stages of construction and will also feature a connection to Vigo in the future.
Spain has the 2nd largest high speed rail network in the world (behind China) but by far the largest amount per capita worldwide.
Apart from railway lines connecting the major cities there is only the small northern branch line that trundles through stunning countryside from Ferrol to Oviedo.
Whilst there are quite a number of small stations along the train routes it seems to often be the case that only a small percentage of trains stop in the smaller of them, the aim presumably being to keep connection times between cities to a minimum.
If you are factoring the presence of a railway station into a choice of property it is therefore worth checking RENFE’s actual timetable from that station.
Galicia has plenty of cruise ships calling at A Coruna and Vigo but doesn’t have any ferry connections.
For anyone aiming to come to Galicia by road Brittany Ferries runs regular ferries from Portsmouth and Plymouth in the UK to Santander and Bilbao. Driving to the border of Galicia (Ribadeo) along the Cantabrian coast motorway at a moderate pace takes 3.5 hours from Santander port and 4.5 from Bilbao.