"Galicia" Top 5 Page for this destination Galicia by Aitana
Galicia Travel Guide: 1,268 reviews and 3,754 photos
We have travelled along the coast of Galicia in our holidays for two consecutive years. Both times we flied to Santiago de Compostela, where we rented a car. First year we focused on the Rias Bajas and Costa de la Muerte: from Tuy to Laxe. Second year we started at La Coruña and travelled along the north coast till Ribadeo. Then we crossed to Asturias. On the way back we crossed Lugo, visiting the capital and also Mondoñedo.
In 2009 I wrote:
We have just come back from Galicia, where we have been for a week. This region is so different from the place we live, in the mediterranean coast! The weather was very smooth: the first days, we had some 22ºC. This is an important relief, as we had here 35 to 40ºC. The lanscape, with so much green, the hills and mountains so close to the sea, the Rias, the seafood... we enjoyed all these differences.
We focused on the Rías Bajas and Costa de la Muerte. Our travel around Galicia started at Tuy (Tui), on the banks of the Miño river. There we visited the cathedral and enjoyed the fantastic view of Valença do Minho, in the Portuguese bank, a wonderful walled city (actually, a citadel).
At La Guardia (A Garda), on the top of Santa Tecla (Santa Tegra) there is a Castro and a Sanctuary. There are fantastic views of the mouth of the Miño river. Going to the north, we visited Bayona (Baiona) at the mouth of the Ría de Vigo.
Pontevedra city is worth a visit. The house where Valle-Inclán lived, the church of San Francisco, la Peregrina, the Basilica de Santa María la Mayor, the museum of Pontevedra, the Parador Nacional, other pazos and some nice corners along the city. From time to time, you will find a cruceiro.
In the north shore of the Ría de Pontevedra, Combarro still preserves the old houses of fishermen and the horreos at the very shore of the Ría. Following the Ría to the mouth are Sanxenxo and Portonovo. From these ports a catamaran goes to the island of Ons, where you can combine trekking and swimming in the cool water of the Atlantic Ocean.
Going to the north we arrived to O Grove, a peninsula that limits the Ría de Arousa. O Grove was once an island but now A Lanzada sandy area joins it with the mainland. There some nice beaches at O Grove. You can get the island of La Toja (A Toxa) crossing a bridge. This island is famous for the spa. There is also a casino and a golf club.
Following the Ría de Arosa from west to east, Cambados is famous for the seafood. Other places to visit are Vilanova de Arousa, Villagarcía de Arousa and the island of Arousa, connected to the mainland by a bridge.
At Noia we eat the best mariscada (seafood platter) (see my restaurant tips).
Our first contact with the Costa de la Muerte was in Carnota, where the largest horreo is. Also the beach is quite long, 8 km.
Finisterre (Fisterra) was considered the end of the Earth. The sunset from the lighthouse is a spectacle that many people admire every day. From Finiesterre to the Cape Touriñan there are some sand beaches among eucalyptus forests where the ground is covered in fern. The shape of the coast and the mountains make easy to lose the direction. There are many Romanesque churches, such as Santa Leocadia at Frige, Santa María at Muxía and San Julián at Moraime.
The cape Vilán is impressing when the weather is rainy and windy, like the day we visited it. This way it is easy to understand the name of this part of the coast. How many shipwrecks have this rocks seen! There is a nice route along the coast, following a track that passes close to the cemetery where the crew of the British ship Serpent wrecked in 1890 was buried.
In the area there are some castros (celtic constructions) and dolmens. We visited under a storm the Castro de Borneiro and the Dolmen of Dombate.
The last day we stayed at Santiago de Compostela, just two days before the feast day of Santiago, July 25th. The rain didn’t allow us to enjoy very much the promenade; fortunately some streets have arcades that protect people from the rain. The huge Romanesque cathedral, the plaza del Obradoiro, the University and other places were on our route.
The place names in italic type correspond to the Galician toponyms.
This year we went to the north coast. The first day we went to La Coruña, where we enjoyed the Atlantic climate and the seafood. The white glass-covered balconies of the houses are famous. The Tower of Hercules, built during the Roman Empire, is a must.
Betanzos was our next stop. The city has been very important in the past, as its cultural patrimony testifies: pazos (palaces) and churches, and the important legacy of Garcia Naveira brothers, who emigrated to America and after some years destined a part of their fortune to improve the town, building a park, schools, asylum, etc.
Pontedeume is a very pleasant town on the edge of a ria. From there we went to the Natural Park Fragas do Eume , a magnificent forest with plenty of fern, chests, hazels, alders, etc. The Monastery of San Xoao de Caaveiro, in the forest, is an interesting place to visit.
Ferrol, due to its strategic situation, has been a very important post for the defense against raids. It has been also a rich city because of the shipyards. In the city center there are many modernist houses built in the early 20th century. At the harbor you can take a boat to cross the ria to Mugardos, a nice fisher town, or a cruise along the ria. Following the coast, San Felipe Castle is a good sample of military architecture, very well preserved. Monte Ventoso, on top of which there was a meteorological observatory, offers very nice views of the coast: the rias of Ares, Betanzos and La Coruña on one side, seing even the tower of Hercules, and on the other side, Doniños with its lagoon and Cape Prior.
Valdoviño has many wonderful beaches. A Frouxeira is quite long and open, but there are also small ones, more quiet and safe.
At Cedeira we saw people collecting seafood on the ria at low tide. We tried also good seafood in a tavern near the shore. On the way to the north, San Andres de Teixido is a place of pilgrimage. The sanctuary is in a privileged place in an area of high cliffs. Following to the north, Cabo Ortegal is the limit between Atlantic Ocean and Cantabric Sea.
Ortigueira is a nice town, the main one of this part of the coast. A bit further is the most northern point of Spain: Punta de Estaca de Bares.
Viveiro really surprised us for its heritage: Churches, Monasteries, the Carlos V gate in front of the bridge… At Burela we visited the church of Santa Maria at Vila do Medio with paintings from the 14th century. At Fazouro we visited the castro, on a small peninsula.
At Foz, don’t miss San Martiño church, which began to be built on the 11th century and was the Cathedral (the first one ever built in Spain) before the seat moved to Mondoñedo.
It’s said that the best beaches are between Foz and Ribadeo. Playa de las Catedrales outstands with its impressive cliffs, arches and beaches that appear or disappear depending on the tide. Ribadeo is a nice town on the shore of the ria.
From Ribadeo we crossed to western Asturias where we visited Vegadeo and some small villages at the region of Oscos. Then, we came back to Galicia, visiting Vilanova de Lourenzá on our way to Mondoñedo, with its superb cathedral and other samples of the ecclesiastical power the city once had.
Lugo was the last city we visited. The Roman walls built in the 3rd century still surround the heart of the city. The cathedral is also a jewel of Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
The Episcopal See of San Martiño de Mondoñedo was moved from Foz to Vilamaior do Val de Brea, or Vallibria, the previous... more travel advice
Ferrol has been an important shipbuilding city. Now the activity has decayed but along the ria one can still see the... more travel advice
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