All I have to say is Visit Galicia Spain soon! We found some of the most beautiful places to experience and thought we should share them with you.
We’ve been waiting 4 years to visit Galicia and we finally made it! We spent a full week in Galicia Spain, where we planned to just chill out and enjoy nature. Our plans worked out well and it helped refuel our souls after our first 2 weeks of our 8 week Spain road trip, with a bit of France. I’ve decided to not only share what we were able to see, but also make it into a guide for you to visit Galicia too.
Where the heck is Galicia?
I know you are familiar with the biggies in Spain, like Madrid, Barcelona, Seville and Valencia, but where the heck is Galicia? Galicia is an autonomous community (kind of like a U.S. state), located at the northwest tip of Spain. It is surrounded by the Principality of Asturias, Castile and León, Portugal, the Atlantic Ocean (to the west) and the Cantabrian Sea (to the north). It is the dark green area on the top left corner of the map below. There are some amazing Galicia beaches as well as mountain areas to explore.
Where did we stay? Carnota, A Coruña
This time we wanted a week of a low-key small village. Typically we like to be right in the heart of the action, but we needed to pace ourselves for our 8 week Spain road trip. We couldn’t possibly run a full steam the entire time. So this location was selected to recharge our batteries and also catch up on work. If you prefer to stay in the action zone, we have some recommendations at the end of this post.
Carnota is a coastal town located in the southwest area of the province of La Coruña in Galicia, which belongs to the province (similar to a county) of Muros. Our 3 bedroom apartment was booked with HomeAway.com. Don’t worry, we will share more about our rental in another post. This is a very small village with beautiful scenery of the Atlantic Ocean on one side and lush green mountains all around.
1 Week Visit in Galicia Spain, What is there to see and do?
Cascada Ezaro and Museum of Electricity
Just 10 minutes from our apartment were the beautiful waterfalls in Ezaro. These drop down into a small river, which leads to the Ocean. This is part of a hydroelectric plant, so they also have a free museum for you to visit, with very limited visiting hours. If you are already in the area, this is worth a stop by to see.
You can’t miss them, as they are all over the mountain tops. The cool thing is that you can drive right up next to them and see the giants up close and personal. Not to mention you will have spectacular views from above.
Finisterre (End of Earth)
We visited this destination, per the request by Lars. He read about it in a book and wanted to visit. This is the westernmost point of mainland Spain and also another finishing point for the pilgrims on their Camino walks. At one point, it was thought to be the end of the world. You will not be disappointed with the gorgeous views and perhaps you will enjoy a meal in the surrounding villages.
We didn’t have time to do this activity, but it looks like great fun. It was a very inexpensive local experience shellfishing, just outside of Pontevedra. It’s listed on Trip4Real and you can see the details here. (You may need a free account with them to see the details.) The shellfish is an ancient activity as old as fishing and hunting, being always a subsistence activity practiced by the people living on the coasts of Galicia: shellfish on foot, the sale of fish and repairing nets were tasks humble traditionally performed by women in coastal populations of Galicia.
Santiago de Compostela
If you plan to visit Galicia, this stop is a must do. Nestled in the mountains of Galicia, you will find this very down to earth and gorgeous city, full of charm, character, and friendly people. Just the perfect size to quickly know your way around and there is plenty to do, see and eat. It is also the destination of the Way of Saint James, a leading Catholic pilgrimage route originated in the 9th century. We just spent the day visiting, but it is an ideal location to actually base yourself. We do have some recommendations on places to stay below.
There are also many organized tours for you to enjoy from being active on walking or biking tour, to enjoying a food or wine tour. There is so much to do and Viator has so many great offers for you. Click here to see their latest Spain Deals!
Places to stay in Santiago de Compstela
- Parador de Santiago Hostal Reis Catolicos – Great reviews and set in a beautiful 15th-century building next to Santiago’s famous cathedral. Click here for prices and availability.
- Albergue Turistico la Credencial offers accommodation in Santiago de Compostela, 20 minutes walk from the Cathedral. Click here for prices and availability.
- San Francisco Hotel Monumento a historic monastery with an indoor pool and hot tub. This is located in the centre of town, just 150 m from the Cathedral. Click here for prices and availability.
- Hotel Montes is housed in a charming building dating from the 1700s, just 2 minutes walk from Santiago Cathedral. Click here for prices and availability.
- Catedral Suites Santiago – Set in a traditional Galician house in the centre of Santiago de Compostela, these stylish apartments enjoy views over the Alameda Park. The cathedral is a 5-minute walk away. Click here for prices and availability.
- Hotel Pazos Alba is located 350 m from Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, in the city’s historic centre. Set in an attractive, stone building with simple & elegant rooms. Click here for prices and availability.
- Tryp Santiago – Surrounded by Paxonal Park and 1.5 km from Santiago de Compostela’s old town. Offering spacious rooms with modern décor. Click here for prices and availability.
- Gran Hotel Los Abetos is set in the San Lazaro neighbourhood, offering impressive views of Santiago de Compostela. This luxurious 4-Star property offers an outdoor swimming pool during summer, and a free shuttle into the city. Click here for prices and availability.
- Fogar Natural is a great option for apartments in the city. The Museo del Pueblo Gallego is a 3-minute walk away, while Parque de Bonaval is 350 m from the property. Click here for prices and availability.
- If you are looking to rent an apartment you may also want to check HomeAway.com or Flipkey, where you can Travel in style, for less than a hotel. Search for vacation rentals in over 12,000 destinations.
Road Trip Galicia – A couple of must see destinations when you visit Galicia along the north coast.
El banco mas bonito del mundo
The most beautiful bench in the world! This was on my wishlist of things to do in Galicia. This is located at the very northwest tip of the country in Loida. A few years back a couple took some photos from the bench overlooking the cliffs and ocean. They tagged them as the most beautiful bench in the world. Over the years, the photos were shared and it is now a popular tourist stop. We of course viewed those photos and just had to see if for ourselves. Ah, so well worth the visit!
Playa de las Catedrales – Cathedrals Beach
There are no words to express how magical this place is and I would say it is easily one of the best beaches in Galica. This was a stop per Alan’s request (thanks for the recommendation Jesús!) and we couldn’t get enough of it. We visited at sunset and then again the next morning. The main attraction of the beach is the set of rock arches, coves and caves, carved by the force of the Bay of Biscay over the years. There is a trick to visiting however, you must visit at low tide! Otherwise you won’t be able to walk on the beach. They do limit the number of visitors to the beach each day, so please register in advance to save your free spot. Make your reservation here!
Tips: The monitored entry is from 9am-9pm, so if the tide is right for you to arrive outside of those hours, you won’t need the reservation. Also, we highly recommend arriving 1 hour before the low tide. This will allow you more time to enjoy the beach and splash around a bit too. Do make it back before the tide starts to come back in!
We’ve created a little map to help you when you visit Galicia!
Now you get to visit Galicia with our full photo Gallery. Enjoy!
Have you visited Galicia? Tell us about it in the comments below.