A good neighbor is better than a distant friend. It will not surprise you that Galicia and Portugal are friends. For centuries. Not only because they are neighbors but Galicia and Portugal are connected by language and culture. Especially the South of Galicia, the Rías Baixas and the North of Portugal have a close bond. And are both equally beautiful!
Portugal and Galicië
If you are on holiday in Northern Portugal you are already close to the Spanish Galicia. Now Galicia is very big but you are close enough to have a day or 2, maybe 3 to taste of at least the Rías Baixas. Get acquainted with this well-stocked treasure chest of Spain, without mass tourism where the Galicians receive you hospitably in their green paradise. Not only Galicia and Northern Portugal are friends and have a close bond, this also applies to Tours Portugal and Portugal and Ontdek Galicië. Do you want to discover both regions, enjoy the beautiful nature, the beautiful places and the gastronomy of both countries? Whether you want to compose your complete trip yourself or if you want our help, let yourself be inspired by Tours Portugal and Discover Galicia. If you would like our help in composing your ideal trip, please contact us via the contact form at the bottom of this page.
The coastline of Galicia is divided into the Rías Altas (upper rivers) and the Rías Baixas (below rivers). The Rías Altas can be found in the far north of Galicia and are also part of the Cantabrian Sea. The Rías Baixas are located on the West Coast and run from Baiona to Finisterre.
Historie, vissersdorpjes en wereldsteden
Directly across the border you will find the first piece of history of Galicia. El Castro de Santa Tegra, a wonderful archaeological site. From here you also have a surprisingly beautiful view over the Atlantic Ocean and the Portuguese border.
In 1492 the Carabela Pinta moored in the port of Baiona after the discovery of America. The replica of this ship is indistinguishable from reality and it is very nice to look inside. The Virgen de la Roca, a 15 meter high Maria statue with a viewpoint, you will not forget easily. The boulevard and the historic center are what you can expect from a fishing village. Lots of eateries, shops and terraces at the port. The icing on the cake is an overnight stay in the Parador van Baiona.
Vigo is het Barcelona van het Noorden. Een belangrijke, metropolische havenstad voor Galicië. Je ziet prachtige momumentale gebouwen in de stad en als je van oesters houdt, zorg dan dat je rond een uur of 14.00 in de Calle de las Ostras (de Oesterstraat) bent. Vigo is de trotse bezitter van één van de mooiste stranden van de Rías Baixas, la Playa de Samil. Een mooie, brede wandelboulevard met leuke (en gratis) zwembaden, tennisbaan en nog veel meer.
The Cíes islands
If you are still in Vigo, an excursion to the Cíes Islands, about three kilometers from the coast, is a must-do. From the port in Vigo you take the boat and enjoy a day of this Tropical diving paradise off the coast of Galicia.
Pontevedra is the capital of the Rías Baixas but not only worth a visit. The most beautiful buildings you come across on the street and a large part of the city is closed to traffic. Sample local tapas at the Plaza de la Leña and have a look at the Iglesia de la Peregrina. You will literally and metaphorically spend the night in the Parador de Pontevedra, a hotel with blue blood. Ideally located, right in the center.
Backpacks and scallops
Pilgrims and hikers on their way to Santiago de Compostela can be seen everywhere in Galicia. The Portuguese route, el Camino Portugués starts in Lisbon and takes you along a beautiful route to the Pilgrims city. Most people start this route in Porto, along the coast, after which they change to Pontevedra Variante Espiritual. Beautiful nature, silence and a spiritual boat trip are part of this route.
Middle Ages, vineyards and beautiful beaches
Almost all the culture and history of Galicia can be found in this medieval fishing village. The collection of horreos (granaries) in Combarro is unique. Like the many flavors of home-cooked coffee liqueur that you are offered. There are many nice restaurants, souvenir shops and to your surprise also a hypermodern marina.
Sanxenxo is perhaps the most famous and therefore most touristy resort of the Rías Baixas. It has a beautiful beach, the Playa de Silgar, on a beautiful promenade. And to that boulevard hotels, apartments, boutiques, restaurants and terraces. In the harbor you look your eyes at the luxury yachts next to the fishing nets of the fishermen. Enjoy with a capital letter.
Near Sanxenxo, in O Grove are a number of great beaches that offer miles of beach, surf and sun fun. The beaches of A Lanzada, Montalvo or San Vicente are the pearls of the Rías Baixas.
The area between O Grove and Cambados is full of vineyards, the valley of O Salnés. Here is a very charming rural hotel, A Quinta da San Amaro. The hotel specializes in regional cuisine and serves a great breakfast.
The Rías Baixas in general and Cambados in particular are the cradle of the Albariño wine. Cambados was in European Wine Capital 2017, it will not surprise you that everything in this village is dominated by wine culture.
If you like mussels, you fall with your nose in the butter in the Rías Baixas. The Rías supply mussels of high quality. Especially the mussels from the Ría de Arousa, near O Grove are (at least in Spain) world famous.
Illa the Arousa
Beautiful island where you go to sing, to enjoy nature and the sea or to walk. There is no place here for party people.
Mystery and lighthouses
Santiago de Compostela
More to the north and inland lies the great pride of Galicia. The impressive Cathedral and the pilgrims make Santiago de Compostela a special city. Especially in and around this imposing building is a mystical atmosphere. But if you walk away from it you also discover a young, dynamic city where you can shop well and with beautiful city parks.
Even more to the north in the Rías Altas is the lively port city of A Coruña. The Torre de Hercules is one of the city’s attractions. Worth it to walk up and look out over the ocean. Here you can see a clear difference with the coast in the Rías Baixas. It is rough and savage and beautiful!
Red wine, pulpo and thermal baths
The interior of Galicia is just as surprising as the coast. The Ribeira Sacra in Ourense, for example, is a spectacle. Red wine like the Mencía comes from this special wine region. Particularly, because the tendrils grow high and obliquely on the mountain slopes of the River Sil. Wonderful to take a boat trip. Or visit one of the monasteries and look over all this beauty from the Balcones de Madrid. From here you have a spectacular view over the ravines of the Ribeira Sacra.
Or pamper yourself with a visit to one of the many thermal baths in Ourense, such as As Burgas.
One of the most beautiful remains from Roman times is the Muralla de Lugo. This wall that encircles the entire city of Lugo is the only Roman wall in the world that is still in tact. In the historic center you could try a tapa pulpo, the Galician delicacy par excellence.
And if you really have the time, a visit to the Playa de las Catedrales, the beach of the Cathedrals is an absolute must. A fantastic beautiful spectacle of natural violence.