Located in the southwest part of Galicia in Northern Spain and at less than one hour from Santiago de Compostela, Rias Baixas coastline is one of Spain´s most beautiful areas. The coastline mixes the blue from the sea with the greenery of the inner land. Las Rias Baixas is also a pradise for foodies. This is a land where locals and tourists alike enjoy seafood and albariño white wines. The Rias extend from the estuaries of Muros and Noia on the North to the border with Portugal in A Guarda.
Rias Baixas Travel Guide - Contents
Top reasons why you should visit Rias Baixas in Galicia
White sand beaches and turquoise waters await you in Rias Baixas. This is especially the case in the Cies island national park. The most famous beach is Rodas Beach, but there are many more to be enjoyed, including the popular and enormous Lanzada beach in O Grove. Some of our favorite beaches in the area that includes O Grove and Isle of Arousa include Aguieira, Furnas or O Testal. One of the top tourist attractions of Galicia is its gastronomy. Galician gastronomy is rich and varied. The mountains and the inland areas are famous for their tasty and hearty dishes, while the sea brings the exquisite seafood and fish that populate its Rias and estuaries.
This is a land of fishermen. Rias Baixas enjoys the reputation of providing the best seafood in Spanish gastronomy. One of the best places to enjoy it is at the market of O Grove. There is even a local Fiesta fully dedicated to seafood in O Grove in the month of October
Spain is the country with the largest surface of vineyards in the world. Most people know Spanish wines thanks to sherry from Jerez de la Frontera and red wines from Rioja or Ribera del Duero. Spain´s geography makes it less obvious for white wines. There are of course exceptions to this and the brightest example is the wines from Rias Baixas. They are produced with the albariño grape and are the perfect match for the fish and seafood of this land.
Elegant cities and fascinating villages
Any trip to this part of Spain should include at least short visits to Vigo (from where most excursions to Cies islands depart), Pontevedra, Cambados, Tui, Baiona, Guarda or Combarro. You can find details about our top recommended stops in the Rias Baixas itinerary below.
Culture and heritage
Galicia is a land different from all other regions in Spain. Celtic culture is felt everywhere and local traditions are strong. These can best be felt at local Fiestas, but also in architecture. The horreo is the best-known element of local civil architecture. A horreo is stone greenery. They can be found in many locations, but the most famous ones are at Combarro, whereas many as thirty horreos face the water providing one of Galicia´s most typical images.
Recommended itinerary to enjoy Rias Baixas
Your itinerary will be influenced by the place from where you get to Galicia and Rias Baixas. In any case, we provide you with our top recommendations. This itinerary can be enjoyed best from 5 days, but it could even be doable in 3 days.
Recommended stops include Pontevedra, with its interesting historic centre, the nearby monastery of Poio, and the municipalities of Combarro and Cambados, the market of O Grove, and nearby beaches. Towards the south, you will discover very interesting cities like Tui and Vigo, and some of Galicia’s top attractions like Baiona and its harbor and the Celtic village of Santa Tegra.
Villa Garcia de Arousa
Villa Garcia de Arousa is an important town. What used to be a charming village (you can still enjoy this feeling in the old part of Villa Garcia) has evolved into a mid-sized town. This is the entry point to the island de Arousa, and it is also a great place to enjoy some of the best Pazos (traditional farmhouses) in Galicia, including the impressive Pazo de Rubianes, a great Pazo where you will be able to enjoy an amazing park with an important collection of Camelias, and also vineyards and spectacular views of the Ria de Arousa. Villa Garcia is very close to Carril, one of the top destinations for those who love seafood.
Ribadumia is probably the least touristic stop on this list. It is the perfect place to enjoy a walk while you discover a path of 10 kilometers of water mills, ancient laundries and fountains, and the Castro of Besomaño.
If we claimed right above that the town of O Grove could not be exactly described as beautiful, the opposite is to be said of nearby Cambados. This is the capital of Albariño wines and a place locals and tourists alike visit to enjoy its fantastic square, small streets, and many restaurants. Cambados hosts the Casa del Pescador, an interesting small museum that portrays the life of seamen.
O Grove cannot be described as a beautiful town. It is however a top destination for foodies that enjoy the amazing seafood that arrives at its market and its many restaurants. O Grove is also the Gate to enter the elegant Isle of Toja, or Toxa, a peaceful place where tourists enjoy spa treatments during their holidays.
From O Grove you will be able to enjoy excursions in the sea that sail next to the largest shellfish banks in the world. Over 3,000 shellfish wooden cages float on the sea to breed scallops, oysters, and mussels. During such excursions, you may be able to enjoy some of the tasks the fishermen carry out throughout the year. Locals mainly leave thanks to the breed and trade of seafood. Back to the shore, you will be able to enjoy seafood at one of the many excellent restaurants in O Grove. The town is close to many fantastic beaches, most of them unspoiled, which include the long beach of Lanzada. There is also a Celtic Castro and on a hill the remains of a fort and a Roman necropolis. They both stand close to the current hermitage of Lanzada.
This small fishermen´s town offers one of Galicia’s (and the Rias Baixas) top highlights. The coastline of Combarro is the place where up to thirty horreos (stone and wood granaries) are located facing the water.
Pontevedra is not included in most routes or guides to Spain. This is an elegant town that, at first glance. seems to ignore its proximity to the sea. The Ponte de A Barca bridge is one of the most beautiful bridges in Galicia and leads to the old part of Pontevedra. The Square of Alonso Fonseca and the Basilica de Santa María la Maior are mandatory visits in Pontevedra. The construction of this church in the 16th century was financed by the fishermen´s guild. The guild enjoyed excellent revenues at that time thanks to the income generated from sardine fishing. Your visit should continue towards the streets Tristán de Montenegro, Álvar Páez, Formigueira, or San Martiño, with beautiful architecture and many bars, taverns, and restaurants.
Driving South you will find Vigo. A mid-sized city, it is home to a very important harbor and it is the place from where most excursions to Islas Cies depart. Vigo offers very interesting architecture from the XIXth century and excellent and affordable food. This is not a city where you will feel like a tourist. Some of its top highlights include the sea museum, its beach (Praia de Samil), and the Celtic village of Monte O Castro at the top of the hill with the same name. Vigo is a perfect stop during your itinerary in Rias Baixas.
From Vigo, the itinerary in Rias Baixas continues to Baiona. A strategic port through history, this medieval city is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing walk by the sea or an overnight stay at its famous Parador. We are sure you will love the cobbled streets and the boats in its fantastic harbor.
A Guarda gets as south as you can get in Galicia. The river Miño is next to A Guarda, and on the other side, you will already find Portugal. Most visitors to A Guarda (mainly locals or from neighboring Portugal) get here to enjoy food and to visit the fascinating Celtic village of Santa Tegra, the most important one in Galicia and Spain. At Santa Tegra you will be driven back to history and you will be able to enjoy amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Spanish and Portuguese coasts.
Rias Baixas, video
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