Located in the lush northwestern corner of Spain, Galicia is home to wild beaches, intense natural beauty, a rich Celtic heritage, and some of the best seafood in the country, offering a Spanish experience quite different from the norm. While this region may be largely unexplored by the majority of tourists visiting the country, Galicia’s old world charm and friendly atmosphere makes it a destination well worth exploring.
Wild, Sandy Beaches
Galicia boasts some extraordinary natural beauty, and its gorgeous beaches are a great place from which to take some of this in. With over 105 blue flag beaches to choose from, many of them award-winning, you could spend your entire vacation beach-hopping around the coastline. Playa de la Lanzada is a 1.5-mile arc of sand that faces the Atlantic, making it great for body boarding, while Playa de Longesteira is known for its exceptionally smooth white sand. For those looking for a beach that is quite deserted, head to Queiruga, which stretches out for around a mile, with strong waves lapping onto pale yellow sand.
Santiago de Compostela is considered to be the most beautiful city in Galicia, and features a stunning ensemble of monumental squares, wide pedestrian boulevards and an intricate Baroque cathedral, making it well worth spending a day here if you are touring around the region. However, this city can often seem quite touristy, so if you would prefer to visit somewhere more local, head to Pontevedra, whose maze of streets are ideal for a long tapas crawl. While Galicia is home to many seaside towns, the charming village of O’Grove is one of the prettiest, while Estaca de Bares is home to a lighthouse that dates back to 1850. If you want to soak up even more history, you can head to Barona and Santa Tegra to learn more about Galicia’s heritage, and visit a few of the remaining Celtic settlements. While Castro de Barona may only be accessible via a footpath that stretches out for just over a mile, a visit here is essential if you truly want to understand Galicia’s history.
Galicia is known for producing some of the best seafood in Spain, with the Rias Baixas area being the largest producer of shellfish in the country. The beaches are littered with clams, shrimps, cockles and small crabs, while Galician octopus, commonly served up in a dish known as Pulpo a la Gallega, is one of the region’s signature dishes, and most definitely a must-try. The restaurants here serve up impeccable Spanish dishes using seafood that has been caught just minutes ago, resulting in one of the freshest and most flavorful gastronomic experiences that you have ever encountered.
Galicia has long since been popular with Spaniards looking for a local getaway, and can become quite crowded during the summer months. For those hoping for a peaceful and quiet escape, try booking your Galician vacation during the off-season, as you will be able to experience the region’s untamed beauty in a much more intimate way.