What to see in Galicia: 10 extraordinary places

Who I am
Aina Martin

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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What do I recommend to see in Galicia?

If I were to tell you ... what there is to see in Galicia, you would probably answer "Santiago de Compostela", after all Santiago and tourism are like honey and bees, attracts so much attention that it is certainly the fixed destination of any traveler who goes to these areas. In reality, Galicia is varied and colorful, Santiago is simply Cherry on the cake of a beautiful region.

Thanks to the project #InGreenSpain in collaboration with the Spanish Tourist Board I had the pleasure of knowing it better and now I can only say that I have a great desire to go back.

I wanted to make you a selection of the 10 things to see in the southern part of Galicia that you can also find in theitinerary for 4 days ontheroad in Galicia that I have recommended.

1 - Obradoiro square in Santiago de Compostela

In the first place there is obviously the main square of Santiago de Compostela. This is the destination of every pilgrim regardless of the path traveled (French, northern, Portuguese, the way of the plata ...).

Square from Obradoiro, or rather, plaza do Obradoiro is the place where pilgrims have a view of the Cathedral of San Giacomo.

The view of the Cathedral from Piazza da Obradoiro

They arrive on foot, sometimes limping, or by bicycle, perhaps a little less tired but still tried. The square is the place to cry or laugh. The path marks the spirit of the pilgrims who through it find or hope to find answers to their questions and their desire to think and reflect.

So in the Obradoiro square it is possible to find groups of people laughing and joking taking as many photos as possible, or to see people on the ground moved with their heads in their hands.

In short, here it is a great mix of sensations which is sometimes palpable. I was very little in this square, just an hour, but it seemed like tiptoe into the intimacy of each of those pilgrims who ended their pilgrimage that day. A square where it is nice to stop and watch life go by, and why not, to envy the courage of these pilgrims and want to experience their own sensations sooner or later.

2 - Pazo de Oca in La Estrada

They call it (and when you see it you will understand) the Galician Versailles, Pazo de Oca o Palacio de Oca is a noble complex built between the 30th and XNUMXth centuries just XNUMX minutes by car from Santiago de Compostela. It is owned by the Duchy of Medinacieli.

The entrance to the Pazo de Oca

In addition to the palace and the church, the Pazo de Oca is known for the beautiful and giant gardens extremely well-kept. 40 hectares of greenery in which to find plants of all kinds: Camellias, Rhododendrons, Azaleas and a large pond with a stone boat. The lake is divided by a bridge, with white swans on one side and black swans on the other; a metaphor, a sort of contrast between good and evil.

The pond with swans in the Pazo de Oca

The Pazo de Oca is absolutely a must see in Galicia. The opening hours change between winter and summer season:

  • Wintry (from November to March) -> From 9 to 18.30
  • Estiva (from April to October) -> From 9 to 20.30

Entrance ticket: 6 euro (2018 year price)

3 - Pazo de Rubianes

A short distance from the Pazo de Oca, more precisely a Vilagarcìa de Arousa, there is another splendid noble palace, the Pazo de Rubianes. This Pazo is very different from the previous Pazo, each Pazo was structured differently according to the interests of the family or according to the passions or architectural styles of the time.

The Pazo de Rubianes is studied in detail and is the ideal place to discover camellias, here there are all kinds and the best season to come and see them is winter. Months in which the camellias put on a show.

Some of the beautiful camellias of the Pazo de Rubianes

This happens especially in the Pazo di Rubianes area because thanks to the acid soil, thanks to the humid climate and the favorable temperature, the flowering period is much longer. The first camellias start blooming in September and the last in June, the best months are January, February and March.

The Pazo de Rubianes develops on the hill among thousands of camellias, old trees and 25 hectares of vineyards with Albariño grape (white berried grapes, and therefore of white wine). In fact, you must know that a very fine wine is produced here called “Albariño Pazo de Rubianes”.

The grape varieties of the Pazo de Rubianes

I recommend that you take a few hours to discover this magnificent place in Galicia, the Pazo de Rubianes is truly a place that puts you at peace with the world.

Su this page of the Pazo official website you can find further information on times and costs of the visit, as well as book directly for the chosen day.

Here are more photos of this natural paradise.

4 - O Grove and the fish restaurants

O Grove is a world unto itself that deserves to be seen. A small village overlooking a large cultivation of mussels. Here you can appreciate the beauty of the ocean and that touch of life and vitality that the sea transmits to those who live on the coast. Arriving at O ​​Grove in the morning you will see people bending over to pick up seafood in the distance towards the bays.

Also, I recommend a stop in O Grove for too a nice gorging on fish and shellfish, so good I have never eaten.

Recommended restaurant: Sal de Allo.

5 - Excursion to the cultivation of mussels

Also from the town of O Grove you can leave for an experience at the limit of the mystical: go and see the cultivation of mussels on tourist boats.

Ok, maybe it's a tourist experience and I don't get along well with too touristy experiences but in this case I recommend it openly because you will have fun!

How is it possible to have fun on a ship that takes you to see the cultivation of mussels?

The boat departs from O Grove and heads towards the bay where you can appreciate the various cultivation facilities. As soon as they leave they will give you a bottle of wine and bowls of mussels (spectacular). Arrived at the crops, they will explain how breeding takes place, after which you will return to the mainland. Here, it is precisely in this moment that you will have fun; Dozens of seagulls will begin to fly above you and aim your mussels, in the meantime the music on the boat will rise and people will begin to dance to Latin rhythms (and I believe you with the bottles of wine drunk).

You will then find yourself on a dancing boat with hungry seagulls. Funny!

Furthermore, you can also "Play" with the seagulls who are fond of mussels. Try to take a mussel and squeeze part of it with the shell; approach the edge of the boat and only when you are ready raise your arm to the sky. One second, two seconds at the most and your mussel will be grabbed by a seagull.

Tickets for the excursion can be requested at the port.

6 - Source Ermida da Lanzada

This is a viewpoint that if you are in this part of Galicia you should definitely see. We can define it a Mirador on the sea, a tongue of land that forwards timidly timid towards the ocean. A fantastic place to spend some time appreciating the sea, the wind and possibly the sun. Very beautifull.

7 - Igrexa de Santa Cristina and the Monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil

La church of Santa Cristina it is located in what is called the Ribeira Sacra in which there are also points n. 8-9-10 of this article. The Ribeira Sacra is a mountainous area "behind" Ourense, here the two main rivers (Sil and Meno) have formed navigable canyons extremely fascinating and steep.

Along the course of the river several monasteries were born, there are even 45 of them. Among them the main one was precisely the Monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil. The Monastery of the Church of Santa Cristina was a "secondary" monastery which today is logically abandoned but can be visited. It is a church completely immersed in the woods, the interiors of the apartments have been partially restored. It takes about twenty minutes to visit it and enjoy the silence of nature.

A short distance is also located the monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil, a monastery now converted into a luxury hotel of the national “Parador” chain. I had the pleasure and the good fortune of sleeping in this monastery and I must say that it is a much more experience mystique compared to going to see the cultivation of mussels ...

8 - Balcones de Madrid

Imagine going back in time and being on the "Balcones de Madrid". Over there, on the waters of the Sil, many husbands on boats bound for Madrid. The Balcones de Madrid was the place from which wives greeted husbands who went in search of fortune.

Now the Balcones de Madrid It is one of most beautiful mirador of the Ribeira Sacra where to stay for tens of minutes to contemplate the gorges of the Sil which in some places even reach 500 meters deep.

Mirador del Balcone de Madrid To get there you need to park about 200 meters away on foot, a simple walk will take you to this splendid viewpoint.

9 - The town of Castro Caldelas

Castro Caldelas was not among the things to see in Galicia that I had planned but it was a beautiful discovery. I got there on a sunny day, on a Saturday during the local market day. Popular music, people intent on shopping and a lady focused on cutting freshly cooked octopus, would later become the classic Pulpo alla Gallega.

The very good Gallega-style pulpo

Castro Caldelas, (castro = Celtic settlement, caldelas = denotes the presence of thermal springs) is a village with white houses mostly visited for its beautiful castle that allows you to enjoy a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

If you visit the Ribeira Sacra, I recommend that you include Castro Caldelas on your Galician itinerary.

10 - Mirador de Souto Chao

Finally, the Mirador de Souto Chao on the opposite bank of the Sil from the monasteries. This "Riba" of the river allows you to cultivate vines which for the conformation of the throat are practically almost vertical.

Il Mirador de Souto Chao it is the ideal point to appreciate this area of ​​the Ribeira Sacra.

The mirador de Souto Chao and the vines on the Sil

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