Pontevedra: The Spanish City that Banned Cars

Calle Mellado before and after the implementation of the scheme. Photograph: Concello de Pontevedra

Spain has been on top of the list of must see counties for quite a while. However, besides well known tourist attraction sites and cities, it also has some less known places, that are worth visiting. One of them is Pontevedra.

Most of the towns and cities around the world, were built for pedestrians in mind. But, evolution of technology made it more convenient for vehicles, rather than people. Today, sidewalks are getting smaller and smaller and it seems like towns and cities were meant to be for cars to roam around. Located in northwest Spain, the ancient city of Pontevedra has a lot to offer. But, what makes it unique is, that its old town is absolutely pedestrianized.

Central Pontevedra after the changes. Photograph: Luis Pereiro Gomez

Some legends about Pontevedra suggest, that the city was founded by the Trojan war hero Teucro. But, it’s hard to say if these legends are fact or fiction. Some historians argue, that Pontevedra was a part of an early Roman road. The Roman name for Pontevedra was “Ad Duos Pontes”, which means “an old or ancient bridge”. Since then, Pontevedra has had glory and falls. Fast forward to modern era, in 1999 the city became car free and received handful of rewards because of it.
The city has very well preserved medieval old town, with beautiful architecture and cobblestone streets. The places are easily accessible and even more enjoyable, when visitors are not distracted by car traffic.

Square in Pontevedra Old Town

Capela de Peregrina is a beautiful chapel, built in 1792. The architecture of the church is a blend between baroque and neoclassical style. Its unique round shape resembles a scallop shell; the symbol of the pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. Visitors can go up the stairs and to the dome for the incredible views of the city.

To the admirers of history and art, Sexto Edificio museum offers collections of Spanish and Galician art, along with pieces from the Roman times, Middle Ages, and the 20th century. Visitors can find the variety of archaeological and art pieces, including paintings, sculptures, coins and jewellery.

Besides historical, cultural and religious sites, the city has great stores, restaurants and cafes, that offer authentic flavor. Pontevedra must not be missed, if you happen to be in the area.

One Response
  1. March 23, 2019

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