Galicia, a region located in northwestern Spain, is a hidden treasure filled with stunning natural landscapes, rich and profound culture, delicious gastronomy, and fascinating history. From its coasts bathed by the Atlantic Ocean to its mysterious mountains, Galicia invites its visitors to immerse themselves in a journey of discovery and wonder.
The Majestic Galician Rías
We begin our journey at the famous Rías Baixas, a series of sea inlets that meander along the Galician coast creating dreamlike images. These rías are famous for their beauty, the diversity of their marine life, and their Albariño wine vineyards. Coastal towns like O Grove, Cambados, and Combarro retain their maritime essence and offer unparalleled views. Seafood lovers will find themselves in paradise, as the Rías Baixas are renowned for their barnacles, crabs, and mussels.
Santiago de Compostela: Cradle of Pilgrimage
Without a doubt, one of the main attractions of Galicia is Santiago de Compostela, the endpoint of the famous Camino de Santiago and the region’s capital. The city is full of life, history, and spirituality. The imposing Cathedral of Santiago, where the remains of the Apostle James are reputedly laid to rest, is a masterpiece of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque art. After its recent restoration, the Cathedral shines brighter than ever and welcomes pilgrims from all over the world.
But Santiago is not just about its cathedral. Strolling through its old cobblestone streets, full of history and legends, is delightful. The Mercado de Abastos, the second most visited site in the city after the Cathedral, is a veritable feast for the senses, with stalls of fresh seafood, local meats, freshly baked bread, and artisanal cheeses.
La Coruña: The City of Glass
Next, we head north to the vibrant city of La Coruña. Known as the ‘City of Glass’ for its characteristic glazed balconies, La Coruña perfectly blends tradition and modernity. The Tower of Hercules, an ancient Roman lighthouse and UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a city emblem. Walking along the maritime avenue, enjoying the sea views, and visiting its urban beaches like Riazor or Orzán is an absolute pleasure.
La Coruña is also known for its nightlife, with a plethora of bars and restaurants where you can sample the famous Estrella Galicia beer and delicious tapas.
Lugo and its Roman Wall
Lugo, the only city in the world surrounded by a complete Roman wall, is another must-visit in any trip to Galicia. Walking along the parapet of the wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers privileged views of the city. Lugo is also famous for its Arde Lucus celebrations, during which the entire city dresses and lives as in Roman times.
The Charm of the Cíes Islands
The Cíes Islands, part of the Atlantic Islands Maritime-Terrestrial National Park, are one of Galicia’s best-kept secrets. Their white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, unique fauna and flora, and the spectacular views from the Cíes Lighthouse make this place a true paradise. The Rodas Beach, the largest on the islands, was declared the “best beach in the world” by the British newspaper The Guardian in 2007.
Ribeira Sacra: Nature and Heritage
Inland Galicia awaits the Ribeira Sacra, a region of breathtaking beauty where the Miño and Sil rivers have shaped the landscape by creating deep canyons. The area is famous for its monasteries, many of them built in the Middle Ages in hard-to-reach places, and its terraced vineyards, which produce some of Galicia’s most appreciated wines.
Boating through the Sil canyons, visiting the monasteries of Santo Estevo or San Pedro de Rocas, tasting the wines of the Ribeira Sacra Designation of Origin, and enjoying the tranquillity of this region is an unforgettable experience.
The Costa da Morte
We conclude our journey on the Costa da Morte, one of the wildest and most authentic areas of Galicia. This coast, lashed by the violent Atlantic, has been the scene of numerous shipwrecks throughout history, which has given it its name. The area is famous for its Finisterre lighthouse, which the Romans considered the end of the known world, and its Camino de los Faros, a hiking route that runs along the coast offering spectacular views.
Galicia is a region that captivates and enchants, a land of contrasts where history, culture, nature, and gastronomy come together to offer visitors an unforgettable experience. No matter how many times you visit, it will always surprise you and there will always be something new to discover. Galicia, the true Spain, awaits you with open arms.