Every March, the historic city centre of Vigo in Pontevedra (Galicia) is transported back to the early 19th century to commemorate the popular uprising when the citizens of Vigo expelled Napoleon’s troops from the city at the start of the Peninsular War (1808-1814).
Vigo was the first European city to succeed in reclaiming its independence from French occupation. It all happened on 28 March 1809. Every year, the citizens of Vigo proudly celebrate the anniversary of this event, known as the Reconquest of Vigo. The historic city centre becomes a large outdoor market where you can buy all sorts of foods (empanadas, steaks and pancakes, with local spirits) and crafts; the streets are decorated and the locals dress in period costume to bring the 18th century soldiers, peasants and fishermen to life.In any corner of the city, you can find French troops battling Galicians in a multitude of reenactments. One of the most important depicts the incident at Puerta de Gamboa, led by two of Vigo's most beloved local heroes: Carolo and Cachamuiña. As well as the historic festival, the city comes alive with concerts, culinary tastings and other events over several days from late March to early April.