Playa de las Catedrales beach

Located near Ribadeo, we find this spectacular beach that gives the Espacio Natural de As Catedrais its name. This beach is one of Spain´s top natural monuments. The natural domes at Playa de las Catedrales or Cathedral beach offer an unusual landscape of arches that make the visitor wonder about the force and beauty of nature.

The real name of the beach is Playa de las Aguas Santas (beach of sacred waters) though you should better call it Playa de las Catedrales if you ask for directions since it is the way everybody knows it.It is not clear when the beach started to be called like this, though the reason becomes obvious after having enjoyed the 30 meter high cliffs that nature draw and humans emulated in some of Spain´s Gothic cathedrals (including the nearby Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela)

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Playa de las Catedralest- visitor guide

Where is la Playa de las Catedrales? 

La Playa de Las Catedralles is located in the northwestern region of Galicia, near the cities of A Coruña, and Lugo. If you are exploring the region of Galicia, A Coruña, in particular, is worth at least a day-long visit

La Playa de las Catedrales is just an hour and a half from A Coruña by car. Lugo is slightly closer and it will take you just over an hour by car. 

How was the Catedrales beach formed? 

The coastal cliffs have been eroded for centuries, forming arches, some of which are 30 meters tall.

The rocks in the cliffs of the beach are made up of slate and quartzite. The orientation of the rock makes the current shape possible, with the constant pounding of waves during the movement of tides. Due to the fragility of the arches, only some of them remain.  

When is the best time to visit La Playa de las Catedrales beach?

This beach is best experienced during low tide, to be able to explore all of the beach’s caves and admire all the breathtaking natural arches.

If you are visiting the beach in summer, you will have to call ahead and make reservations. Easily one of the top beaches in Galicia.

What are the best times of day La Playa de las Catedrales?

The recommendation to visit the beach between 2 hours before and up to 2 hours after low tide. For example, if the tide schedule indicates that low tide is at 07:11 and 19:50, you have from 05:11 to 09:11 and from 17:50 to 21:50 to visit the beach and be able to walk through its gigantic rocks.

Is a ticket needed to visit Playa de la Catedrales in Galicia?

La Playa de las Catedrales has become increasingly famous and it is today a top tourist attraction in Galicia. This implies unfortunately many visitors during the high season.  This has led the local authorities to request a pre-booking in order to be able to visit the beach. You will need to book well in advance to be able to enjoy the beach. You can book your visit from this link. Another option if to join a guided tour where you will be able to discover the beach, but much more, including Ribadeo. You can find an excellent option below. 

How much does the entrance to the Playa de las Catedrales cost?

The price of admission to Playa de las Catedrales is zero euros, that is, it is totally free, but if you choose to visit the beach on your own and not with a guided tour, it is essential to book a place (maximum one month in advance) on the official website for this purpose of the Xunta de Galicia del July 1 to September 30.

How long does low tide last at Playa de las Catedrales?

This is important to consider because during high tide it is impossible to enjoy this spectacular beach. During the low tide the sea water reaches its minimum height within the tidal cycle. The tides go down 2 times a day and rise another 2, which means that they are approximately 6 hours rising and another 6 falling.

You can check this schedule by months to plan the perfect trip. 


Other spectacular beaches in Spain

Despite the Norther part of Spain is by far less frequented by tourists than the Mediterranean coast, or the islands (Balearic or Canary islands), it is probably in the North of Spain where we find the most spectacular beaches in the country. We include below three of our favorite beaches in Asturias and Cantabria, and in this other post we cover a complete guide with the best beaches in Northern Spain. We have included beaches from the French border all the way to the Northern part of Portugal. 

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Q What do red, yellow or green flags mean in the Spanishes beaches?

A green flag indicates that it is safe to bathe in the beach
A yellow flag does indicate however that bathing is not forbidden, but that caution is needed
A red flag indicates that bathing is forbidden.
Black flags are very rarely used and they indicate that the beach is closed. This would only happen in case of natural disaster for instance-