Galicia is one of the most picturesque regions of Spain
Galicia offers visitors a chance to experience authentic Spain in a picturesque and beautiful region full of charm set amongst green pastures and spectacular scenery.
The region of Galicia is known as the “land of the 1000 rivers”, and for good reason, as they wind there way all around the region, from the mountainous inland to the coast, where they form the characteristic “Rias Baixas” the low rivers.
This ancient Celtic region is made up of four urban provinces, A Coruna, Lugo, Ourense and Pontevedra, and also home to the cities of Vigo and Ferrol.
Santiago de Compostela
The region's capital is the historic city of Santiago de Compostela, the destination of the pilgrim travellers of St James ( Camino de Santiago ). The City of Santiago is a charming city with its historic stone buildings, winding streets and small alleyways to explore around the cities old quarter.
A must place to visit is the Baroque Cathedral ( Catedral de Santiago ) located on the heart of Santiago de Compostela.
The cathedral is the end goal of a long pilgrimage path that comes along the north of Spain, the St James Walk pilgrimage ( Camino de Santiago ) is walked by people from all over the world.
The main coastal towns and cities in Galicia
- Vilagarcia de Arousa
- A Coruna
Galicia has some of the best beaches in Spain
The region offers visitors a chance to explore a spectacular coastline with no less than 105 blue flag beaches, the highest number anywhere in mainland Spain.
These outstanding beaches regularly win awards for there sheer natural beauty, cleanliness, sea and sand quality.
There are too many of them to list here although some of the exceptional ones would be the Playa del Estorde, Playa de Longesteira with its smooth white sands and the famous San Francisco Beach located at the mouth of the River Muros and Noi.
One of the prettiest seaside towns in Galicia is O.Grove, situated in the middle of the Rias Baixas, some 25 km west of Galicia's capital Pontevedra.
O,Grove is one of Galicia's many charming fishing villages, which due to its unique situation on the eastern side of the headland, is protected from the tidal force of the Atlantic Ocean.
The town has a gentle personal endearing charm with an abundance of fish, restaurants, tapas bars and some of the freshest seafood you will find anywhere.
Galicia also has its fair share of wild and rugged coastal areas, noticeably the Costa de la Muerte, the “coast of death” located on the northwest coast of Galicia.
This is where the rock fishermen risk their lives hunting one of Spain's most sought after and prized seafood, Percebes or Goose Barnacles.
This highly prized delicacy needs large amounts of oxygen to survive and as such grow on the rocks in the most dangerous places along the coastline.
Many a fisherman have perished over the years whilst trying to cultivate them whilst avoiding the wild crashing waves.
One of the quaintest and most recognisable landmarks in Galicia is the small stone buildings known as "Horreos" or grain stores.
Farmers used them to protect and ripen grain and other food produce and although they are not used for this purpose anymore they are a welcome sight around the region, the one above is located in the small village of Combarro near Pontevedra.
The Tower of Hercules
The Hercules Tower is an ancient Roman lighthouse, one of only a few that are still working to this day.
It was built in the latter part of the 1st-century and the early years of the 2nd -century A.D at the mouth of the Gulf of Artabro.
The tower stands 57 meters in height on a rocky hilltop known as Punta Eiras.
Campo de la Rata - Menhirs Park
Located close to Hercules Tower are a series of 12 Menhirs stones that pay tribute to the Celtic heritage of Galicia.
Inaugurated in 2003 they are the creating of Galician sculptor Manolo Paz.
A Coruna has a unique charm with it's historic stone buildings, winding streets and small alleyways to explore.
Here you will find an interesting blend here of Roman Architecture and modern Spain plus the city is also one of the most important fishing ports in Europe.
Visit the impressive Plaza de Maria Pita, a majestic plaza in the heart of the old town with its statue of Maria Pita, a 16th-century woman who warned the town of the pending invasion by Sir Francis Drake.
And of course if your a seafood fanatic, Galicia is most certainly a must goto gastronomic destination, the region is famous for arguably the best tasting and freshest seafood anywhere in Spain.
As you walk along the beaches in the area as the tide reseeds it is easy to come across cockles, clams, shrimps and small crabs laying in clean golden sands of the Rios.
The Rias Baixas area is the largest producer of shellfish in Spain with crabs, mussels, clams, cockles, lobsters, percebes ( Goose Barnacles) and oysters all in abundance and pretty reasonably priced to, it really is a case of from fishing boat to plate in Galicia.
Gastronomy has a great reputation in this part of Spain and other local dishes include Empanada Gallega (a typical pie of fish or meat) and many traditional sweets some of which are prepared in monasteries.
Galicia with its DO regions of, Monterrey Rias Baixas, Ribeira Sacra , Ribeiro and Valdeorras, produces some fine quaffable red and white wines, ideal to accompany a plate of the freshest seafood straight out the nutrient-rich estuaries that Galicia is famous for.
Galician wines include the renowned Albarino white wine, made mostly from the Albarino grape ( small and sweet ) many of which are cold-fermented to maintain freshness.
Other grape varieties used for the production of the whites are Loureira, Treixadura, Caino Blanco, Torrontes and the Godello variety. Grapes used for the production of reds are Caino Tinto, Souson, Mencía, Espadeira, Loureira Tinta and Brancellao.
Some of the most popular Albarino wines include Burgens Rias Baixas Albarino 2005: ( White ) Pale golden Straw, rich, alive, flowery, peach and green melon. And Martin Codax, from the Martins Codax bodegas which has an attractive straw-greenish yellow colour, with ripe lemon nuances.
South east of the Rias Baixes is the DO area of Rueda which has a reputation of producing sherry-like wines although it is now the home of a selection of red and white wines made from the Verdejo grape.
Getting around Galicia
Travelling to Galicia from anywhere in Spain or from the EEC is easy these days due to an excellent air, rail and road transport system.
If you are looking to travel in style be sure to use the AVE High-Speed trains, there are frequent Ave services from Madrid and Barcelona
There are three international airports located at Lavacolla (Santiago), Peinador (Vigo) and Alvedro (A Coruna), all linked by means of a fast motorway and an efficient railway network.
A very good motorway infrastructure makes it easy to get to and explore Galicia, the main routes leading in are the N-VI from Madrid to A Coruna, the N-525 from Zamora to Vigo via Ourense, and the N-634 which comes into Ribadeo from Asturias. From Portugal, the N-13 comes from Lisbon and Oporto into Galicia through Tui, where it merges with the motorway that links A Coruna with Vigo.
Tours & Excursions
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Recommended Accommodation in Galicia
The highly rated Hotel AC Palacio del Carmen Autograph Collection is a popular choice for visitors looking for luxury accommodation in Santiago de Compoestela. The hotel is ideally located in a quiet area to the west of the historic old quarter. The hotel is within walking distance of Santiago Cathedral, the Monastery of San Martino Pinario and Santiago University. Reviewer Rating: 9.1
The Nova Compostela Apartments are an ideal pick within the mid range budget accommodation range. Conveniently located to the north of the historic city centre the apartments are close to shops, dining and Santiago de Compostela's nightlife. It is also within walking distance of Santiago de Compostela Old Quarter and Santiago Cathedral. The apartments are modern, stylish with all the facilities to ensure a comfy stay in Galicia. Reviewer Rating: 9.9
The Casa Rural Os Vilares is a charming rural retreat located to the north of Santiago de Compostela. This 3 star property offers large comfy rooms, a pretty garden, tour desk, free wifi and private bathrooms. Santiago de Compostela airport is less than a 15-minute drive from the property with the University of Santiago de Compostela, Casa del Cabildo and Santiago Cathedral a short drive away. Car Hire is recommended. Reviewer Rating: 10.0