Hostal dos Reis Católicos

Top choice historic building in Santiago de Compostela

Stretching across the northern end of Praza do Obradoiro, the Hostal dos Reis Católicos was built in the early 16th century by order of the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Fernando, as a recuperation centre for exhausted pilgrims. Later it became an orphanage and poorhouse. Today it's a parador (luxurious state-owned hotel) and shelters well-heeled travellers instead, but its four courtyards and some other areas are open to visitors: the self-guided tour, with leaflet and over 40 information panels, is well worthwhile.

The tour explains in detail not only the building's history but also the symbolism of the elaborate portal and heraldic shields on the facade.