Galicia is a charming community in Spain and a desirable destination for a holiday. With the Cantabrian Sea to the north, Portugal to the south, three other communities to the east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, it is fair to say that Galicia boasts a unique position.
Its coastline extends for an amazing 1,660 kilometres. That's not all though, because the Cíes Islands, A Illa de Arousa, and a number of other islets, like Salvora and Ons, just offshore. History is well preserved in this biodiverse community, which is home to over 2,800 plant species and 262 species of animals! If you're looking to unravel something authentically Spanish while basking in the sunshine on pristine beaches, Galicia will definitely satisfy your needs.
A city positioned to the south-west of Galicia, Vigo is the capital of the Vigo metropolitan area and was once part of a Galician-speaking town. Viking invasions were common back in the Middle Ages, which you can learn more about at Vigo County Historical Museum. Area attractions include Praia de Samil beach and the Castro Fortress. Numerous wineries are also sprinkled around the vineyard landscape – perfect for wine-lovers. Comprised of four estuarine inlets, this stunning area has a very tropical feel to it, thanks to the calm waters and large expanses of powder-white sand.
This nearby walled town is home to an ancient city, set amid a spectacular scene of cathedrals and castles. A fairytale-like atmosphere can be felt in Lugo, which was once inhabited by the Celts and Romans. The mark of past civilisations has been left on the culture-rich region, so why not visit to walk around monuments and admire the Neo-Classical and Gothic architecture?
Experience must-see sights and landmarks include Lugo Cathedral, Museo Provincial de Lugo, and Rosalía de Castro Park, and the Roman Walls of Lugo, which will come into view as you approach the traditional Spanish village. Stretching for two kilometres, the walls are believed to have been built in the 3rd-century. A blend of architectural styles can be noticed at Saint Mary's Cathedral, which exhibits a facade that merges Romanesque with Gothic, Baroque, and Neoclassical architecture.
Assuming its position in the Iberian Peninsula’s northwest, Pontevedra is made up of a few different neighbourhoods, including A Parda, Campolongo, and O Burgo. There are a number of reasons why Pontevedra is worth visiting, whether you want to delve into the area’s art, archaeology and history at Sexto Edificio, witness a sanctuary called Capela da Peregrina, or step back in time at the historical Ruínas de San Domingos. A famous church known as Ponvento e Igrexa de San Francisco is one of the major historical and religious landmarks in the town. Just a short stroll from Capela da Peregrina, which is an equally important place of worship. Walk a little further to Loro Ravachol to find out why the imposing structure is named after a famous parrot that once lived in Pontevedra.
Tower of Hercules
The oldest working lighthouse in the world stands proudly just over two kilometres from the centre of Galicia. Known as Farum Brigantium until the 20th-century, the Tower of Hercules is an ancient Romana structure and has been awarded UNESCO heritage site status. Formerly, it served as an entrance to the harbour and on its grounds, you can wander around a pretty sculpture garden.
Santiago de Compostela
Part of the Santiago de Compostela World Heritage Site, this landmark cathedral dates back to the 11th-century. Aside from being a heavily photographed monument, the building also serves as a venue for events. The Romanesque, Baroque, Gothic, and Spanish Gothic architecture is quite a sight to see, so charge your camera for this one.
How about a trip to a national water and land park? The Cies Islands are jaw-droppingly beautiful and have attracted the attention of many adventurers. Located at Ria de Vigo's mouth, the archipelago is made up of three islands - Lighthouse Island. Saint Martin. and Sharp Island. Flora and fauna are abundant on the islets, which were declared a nature reserve back in 1980. Visit them by boat on a day trip from Galicia if you want to stroll among the sand dunes and vegetation.
There is no shortage of beaches in Galicia, with the coastline stretching for longer than the distance between Spain and Austria! One of the best beaches is Rodas. You would be forgiven for thinking you're in the Caribbean when you step foot on Rodas, which looks similar to Carnita with its creamy beige sand and fertile patches of land. As Catedrais, Gradin, Pantin, Chanteiro, and A Lanzada are just a few other beaches that connect along the coast.
The food of Galicia is something special. A unique twist on traditional Spanish fare, there’s bound to be something to tempt your taste-buds. Potato is Galicia’s staple food and it has been since the 16th-century, when it arrived from the Americas. Since the region is located near the water, it’s not surprising that plenty of seafood is incorporated into the menus at area eateries. Typical dishes include Lacón con grelos (ham and turnips), Polbo á feira (cauldron cooked octopus), and Caldo gallego (traditional soup).
For a taste of traditional Galicia, opt for some empanada at Tira do Cordel. Treat yourself to a luxury dining experience at Casa Marcelo or join a group at Michelin-starred Restaurante As Garzas. The gastronomic journey can continue at other area restaurants, such as A Pulpeira de Melide, Mesón O Pote, and Mesón Muiño Kilowatio.
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