027 - Tui - Spain/Galicia

Tui, also known as Tude during the Roman period, is a city with a long history, most of it being so old that today it can be considered as just a myth, a kids story. It is inhabited since 20 000 BC and it was even raided by the vikings! Today pilgrims on the Portuguese Way of St. James stop here, visit, and even spend the night and here.  Let's discover!

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This is the first article featuring a city/location from Spain (on this website) and also the first article featuring Galicia.

In the previous 26 articles we did a round trip from Valenca (do Minho), situated North of Portugal, at the banks of the River Minho and from there we took a breathtaking journey to Lisbon (South of Valenca) and then came back to the Minho River to Melgaco.

So it is fitting to try to do the same for Galicia, start the journey from Valenca do Minho and from there we cross the bridge, on foot, over the River Minho, towards Tui, Spain, and climb north, and then return to Minho.

This image is actually made not far from the line that separates Spain from Portugal.

027.1 “Built by none other than the famous Gustave Eiffel”, some might say, however, it is in fact built by Pelayo Mancebo y Agreda and is it called the International Bridge.

027.2 At middle distance on the bridge (pedestrian side) there is an interesting graffiti on the floor, as Valenca is actually towards the left of this photo… I really wonder what did they mean with those arrows. Is this an art depicting the fact that Galicia used to be Portugal so Portugal si also to the right side? Anyway…

027.3 We traveled on the International Bridge on foot (on the sides of the bridge), on train (it is on the top level), on car and also with the touristic train (that runs on asphalt). The only options left are boat under the bridge and plane above the bridge 😅

027.4 Since we spoke about trains, and bridges, well if you would open the first article on this website (001) there is a picture of the train station of Valenca (the city across the Minho river). Inside that train station there is a train carrying wood. I would like to say that it is the same one, but actually these two pictures (train stations of Tui and Valenca) are not even taken at the same time and the locomotives are not the same number ID however is the same locomotive type, same company, same cargo and also a lot of cargo!

027.5 Panoramic view over Tui, from the fortress of Valenca. We also see the River Minho who separates the two countries (Portugal from Spain).

027.6 Make no mistake, these beautiful white windows, divided by even smaller square shaped glass (in groups of 3, 6 and 9) will ornate many houses, from Tui to… A Coruna, to say the least. This house look is iconic, and it is the design style that is found all over Galicia. More on that on later articles.

027.7 Tui will celebrate many artistic/architectural styles. Here for instance we see a full facade ornated in ceramic tiles which is closer to Portuguese style.

027.8 Some churches, like San Domingo Church will be made out of this dark grey stone, filled with signs of excess humidity, and no white paint. The most famous is the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, but not only. In Braga also we see this architecture.

027.9 Then we find a church that has that white facade that is iconic in Portugal - San Francisco Church. I did not see churches with ceramic tiles (azulejos) so that style is just for Portugal. (in Europe)

027.10 Back to the location where San Domingo Church is. From there we can get this beautiful look over the city of Tui, with the Cathedral at the top of the hill (this is the old town). Bellow the Cathedral (which is huge) to the left of the image is the San Telmo Chapel (see the legend at the end of this article). It is easy to see a theme of Galicia which will continue to exist in most towns -> cloudy sky, grey stone houses, white squared windows, orange rooftops, with vegetation in some top areas of the house.

027.11 In front of the San Domingo Church, there is lake with dozens of noisy frogs. Some cannot stay quiet, not even in hugging mode. We tried to use the little pond into a composition, but then when we looked better “in” the water… 😅

027.12 While we are still close to the River Minho, know that the best view over Valenca and the International Bridge, is taken from the area of San Domingo Church. So if there is nothing to like in Tui, at least crossing the bridge will be fun and taking this beautiful shot of the Fortress of Valenca.

027.13 Justice Palace of Tui, with the Spanish and Galician flags, side-by-side. Those bells sitting one on top of the other takes me to Italy.

027.14 Around the Justice Palace there are beautiful benches, that sit under the soft shadow made by trees. At the base of those trees there is this amber like cristal bed. Wish I knew why, but it looks so beautiful (this image does not really reflect the beauty). I hope this is the way you will find them when you visit Tui/Valenca.

027.15 Walking towards the Cathedral can be quite an experience, with extremely narrow streets and not that few pilgrims. Tui is a major stop on the Portuguese St. James Way (El Camino) (the rear of San Telmo Chapel).

027.16 Here is my lovely wife, trying to frame a photo with the narrow streets, the River Minho and the hills.

027.17 Tui is has many churches, pilgrim stores (to buy clothing, rain protection gear, shoes etc. More on that later) affordable rooms and meals (no joke here), and also fancy food and clothing for those with deeper pockets.

027.18 Cathedral de Tui. Is not easy to take a good picture of the cathedral (without a drone). The streets are very narrow and a fisheye lens will distort quite a lot. The best shot I’ve seen of this place is done with the help of a drone and is on wikipedia actually. This side of the cathedral is actually my favorite as we can see the circle shaped window, the bells, and the clock (so tiny on that side of the cathedral…). The only time we climbed the hill to the Cathedral, the door to go inside was closed.

027.19 Main entrance, and the wall surrounding the cathedral (it looks also like a castle to be honest.

Both times we visited Tui (the old town) it was filled with pilgrims and so there was activity, stores were open and we had good weather. I guess many tourists/pilgrims come to Porto (article 006 & 007) since it has an international airport, and from there they go north, on foot, towards Santiago de Compostela. Many of the other airports in Spain, require connection with Madrid, except Santiago de Compostela, but that usually is the destination of the El Camino so…

We also used to live not far from Tui, in Vigo (future article) so we would come to Tui, every time we needed cheap and awesome quality clothing (not a lot cheaper than Primark/H&M, more like similar, but big brand names so fairly better quality. Shoes were 50% cheaper than in the store. Real outlet prices. If you are from France, know that I had similar crazy deals (at least 50% reduction, in Le Havre). The name of the commercial center is OUTLETUI and is not that easy to reach on foot. Even on car you can get lost :)) There is a Lidl in the area plus other stores.

Now if you are a future tourist, going on the Portuguese El Camino, towards Santiago de Compostela, then definitely stop at Tui. We saw many houses that take tourists in, plenty of restaurants and like I just said, an accessible Outlet store (a bit far from the city, they had to keep the costs down).

If you are a future tourist going to Valenca, then in that case you should cross the International Bridge (on foot) to Spain and into Tui. From there you can take the tourist car/train back to Valenca if you so desire.

Valenca (just across the bridge) is a far more romantic, open, greener place to visit that Tui. Both are in a way similar (stone upon stone), however if you check article 001 you will find nature, vast open spaces, and more white than dark grey are in contrast with Tui. Even on this article, from the same place we’ve take a picture of the old town of Tui and the fortress of Valenca. In one one might think that it is winter and rain is about to come, and in the other (Valenca) is summer time and joy and cocktails.

If you just want to see a more beautiful and “magical” place in Galicia-Spain then check the next article! We really loved it there, and is one of those places that we came back with family, with friends, we even sent work colleagues to check it out!

Thank you very much for seeing this article, and we hope you check out more! Have a great day!


Sources for the legend:



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