Galicia, the Northwest corner of Spain, is like a little continent: Different landscapes, mountains, natural places, forests, rivers, history, old and modern architecture, the most known pilgrimage way worldwide (the Camino of Santiago), our wines, food, and seafood…
The coast of Galicia is one of the most beautiful in Europe. More than 1000 km of beaches, the highest cliffs in continental Europe, wonderful fishermen’s villages, and the omnipresent Atlantic Ocean.
One of the most remarkable features of the Galician coast are their “rías”. They are estuaries, some of them really small and others as big as a little sea, full of places to discover and unforgettable experiences to live. They are usually divided in two areas: Rías Altas (Higher Rías) in the Northern coast and Rías Baixas (Lower Rías) in the South. Today we want to discover you five experiences to discover Rías Baixas.
1.The culture of wine.
Rias Baixas land is the home of many wineries where the artisans create one of the most famous white wines in the world. Rías Baixas protected Designation of Origin identifies the winemakers of the area. Using traditional Galician types of grapes like Albariño, Treixadura or Godello, among others, they create a golden, rich-flavoured and tasty wine. Rías Baixas white wine has been multi-awarded year after year as one of the best white wines worldwide. We offer you the experience of visiting the graveyards and wineries and taste this liquid gold.
2. Seafood production and shellfishing.
Rías Baixas are the paradise of seafood lovers. In this fishermen area, women have a traditional role cultivating clams in natural areas and collecting them when the tide is low. But there are many more ways to cultivate seafood: the floating wooden platforms called “bateas” where mussels are grown, and the fishing on a wide range of seafood. You can book an unforgettable experience where we’ll show you their work and you can taste their products.
3. Architectural jewels.
Although there’s a lof of historical heritage in the area, our proposal in this point is a visit to Monastery of Santa María de Armenteira, in the heart of O Salnés area and surrounded by vineyards. A jewel of the 12th century architecture that will impress you by its majesty. Very close, a hidden treasure of traditional architecture waits for your visit: Watermills Route of O Salnés, where you can walk along the river in a magic world of water, stone and trees. And to finish, the charming village of Combarro, just besides Ría de Arousa (the biggest of Galician rías), a very well preserved and ancient village where the stone merges directly with the sea. We offer you the opportunity to visit this three treasures of Rías Baixas in a single day.
4. Cíes Islands and Atlantic Islands National Park.
Just where the Ría of Vigo embraces the ocean, Cíes Islands are a place that you can´t miss. Their beaches will make you believe that you are in the Caribbean. Awarded some times as one of the 10 best beaches of the world, a cruise shuttle service brings you there from Vigo. They are part of Atlantic Islands National Park, among with other smaller islands (Ons, Sálvora and Cortegada). They are a natural sanctuary for many species of birds and their transparent waters are a paradise for scuba diving. As they are a protected space, the visits are limited, so we strongly recommend you to get the mandatory authorization here: http://www.parquenacionalillasatlanticas.com/index.php?lang=es . After this you can book your boat ticket in advance. More information about tickets here: http://www.turismodevigo.org/en/how-get-cies
5. The legacy of ancient people.
If we move up north to the Ría de Muros and Noia, the frontier between Rías Baixas and Rías Altas, we will discover a breathtaking place full of mistery and legends. We are talking about Castro de Baroña (“castro” is the Galician name for the remains of prehistoric villages) situated in a high rock promontory between two beaches. We suggest you to go carefully to the top and watch one of the most amazing and peaceful sunsets in the ocean. This fortified village was inhabited until 1st century a.C and it’s one of the most well-preserved ancient villages, where you can see the remains of the typical Celtic-style circle shaped houses.
This is just a first selection of experiences at Rías Baixas, but there are many other amazing places to enjoy with all senses: Cities like Pontevedra, Vigo (the biggest of Galicia with a lot of industrial heritage) Pontevedra, Vilagarcía de Arousa, and many others. We’ll discover some more together in further posts.