The northwest of Spain was inhabited by the Celtic people of Gallaeker more than 2,000 years ago. after whom the area is named to this day. High mountains (up to 2,100 meters) separate this part from the rest of Spain and Portugal. The coast covers almost one third of the entire Spanish Atlantic coast with a total length of almost 1,700 kilometers. It is highly fragmented. At their mouth into the sea the rivers have formed funnel-shaped rias – similar to the fjords in Norway, except that they are shorter overall. The climate is characterized by the Atlantic. The winters are mild and the summers are not too hot due to the high humidity. Fog, winds and the green mountain landscape sometimes remind to Ireland or Brittany.
Magnificent view of the “end of the earth”
The name of this cape is derived from the Latin “finis terrae,” meaning “the end of the earth.” For many pilgrims travelling along the Way of St. James, this is the true end of the pilgrimage trail, since the Camino a Fisterra, an extension of the trail, ends here. Those who hike from the town of Fisterra to the Romanesque church of Santa Maria das Áreas and continue on to the lighthouse are rewarded with a magnificent view of the Atlantic.
View into a magnificent canyon
Twenty kilometers east of Ourense, the Río Sil has carved a wild gorge and created a magnificent valley. From the escarpement above you have fantastic views. This round trip is an introduction to the surroundings at Parada de Sil. It leads through an ancient forest of chestnut trees to two wonderful vantage points. (3.4 kilometers, 1:15 hours, up and down: 65 meters)
From the hermitage to the rich Trappist monastery
The monastery was founded in the 13th century by Trappists, who prerered to settle in the wilderness. The order originated from the Cistercians and is known for its rigor. Silence and physical labor were essential for their monastic life. Soon, the hermitage became one of the richest monasteries in Galicia, so after a fire the whole complex could be rebuilt in Baroque splendor. In 1835 the monastery was abandoned and decayed. Nearly a hundred years later, it was again occupied and renovated. Until today it is inhabited by Trappists.
Historical town on the Way of St. James
This provincial Galician town is located along the Camino de la Costa, which is a variation of the Way of St. James. The town lies 160 kilometers from Santiago de Compostela. The focal point of the old town, which is classified as a Conjunto histórico-artístico, is the town's 12th-century cathedral featuring Baroque towers. A statue of Mary from St. Paul's Cathedral in London stands near the main altar. La Nuestra Señora la Inglesa had been brought here during the Reformation in order to protect it from iconoclasts.
Mountain with scenic overlooks near Tui
This small nature reserve surrounding the Monte Aloia (629 m) is worth a visit due to the Lebanon cedars that were planted here over one hundred years ago and which have grown to a considerable size. The nature reserve is also noteworthy for its several overlooks offering views of the magnificent river landscape.
Roman bridge, Romanesque gates
Even the Romans appreciated the hot springs in the area of Ourense and used them as thermal and healing wells. They built a bridge over the river Miño, whose foundations are still standing today. In the 5th century, the city became a bishopric. Today's Episcopal Church dates from the 13th century, when the “Giolden City” flourished as a trading center because of the large Jewish community. The cathedral is the landmark of the city and is considered the most beautiful church in Galicia after the Church of Santiago. Outstanding is the Portico del Paradiso to the western porch. The Romanesque gate is decorated with sculptures from the Apocalypse.
Blooming garden of a noble residence
The typical Galician country estate is worth a visit, especially because of the botanical splendor of the park. The origins of the complex date back to the 13th century, but its present appearance was shaped in the mid-18th century when the manicured gardens surrounding the house were built. The outstanding element is the masterfully used water, which is distributed over two large ponds. The stone island in the middle has the shape of a ship with two sailor figures.
Historic bridge over the Minho border river
This girder bridge is 318 meters in length and spans the Minho river, which is also the border between Portugal and Spain. The bridge connects the cities of Valença (Portugal) and Tui (Spain). The double-level bridge designed by Gustav Eiffel was constructed from between 1882 to 1884. Trains still run on the upper level and cars on the lower one. The border stations on both ends of the bridge have been out of service since the Schengen Agreement in 1995.
One of the most scenic areas of Spain, the rugged north-west coast is dotted with sleepy fishing villages and remote beaches broken by steep fjords that cut far into the interior. Tourism remains relatively undeveloped in these parts, much to the joy of nature lovers and off-the-beaten-track travellers. One of the region's most stunning attractions is the Vixia de Herbeira, the second highest cliff in continental Europe, which can be seen on a tour along the coast north of Ferrol.
One of the most scenic areas of Spain, the rugged north-west coast is dotted with sleepy fishing villages and remote beaches broken by steep fjords that cut far into the interior. Tourism remains relatively undeveloped in these parts, much to the joy of nature lovers and off-the-beaten-track travelers. One of the region's most stunning attractions is the Vixia de Herbeira, the second highest cliff in continental Europe, which can be seen on a tour along the coast north of Ferrol.
Lively port town dominated by two castles
Vigo is the largest city in Galicia and was constructed around an ideal natural harbor. The port has been used since ancient times, when Phoenician merchants and fishermen used to put in here. The old town, with its narrow stairways, rises up a hillside overshadowed by two castles: the Castillo de San Sebastián and the Castillo del Castro. The latter offers a magnificent view. The fish market is a particularly lively part of town along with the Rúa Real, with its many bars, restaurants and oyster stands.