Roadtrip in Galicia: between land and sea

My road trip to Galicia: Landscapes between land and sea, the ideal destination for nature lovers.
road trip to Galicia

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Let’s travel back to the remainder of our trip to the North West of Spain! This time, we’re off to Galicia. Landscapes between land and sea that you don’t expect to see, but that will blow your mind!

Galicia has a Breton or Scottish air about it. But it’s Spain! Let’s set off on a roadtrip between land and sea.

See also : My roadtrip in Asturias

Travelling in a converted van

In Galicia, the van is a common means of transport and it was fairly easy to find places to park and/or sleep (using the Park4night app).

You can also find hotels ➡ there.

We stayed in Galicia for 5 days before heading home. In 5 days, we had the opportunity to see a lot of the places we wanted to visit and get a good overview of the region! Of course, it’s always better to stay longer (if you could live on holiday, wouldn’t you? 😉 ).

Rent a van for a roadtrip

For this trip, we rented a van via the Yescapa platform. The website brings together individuals (or professionals) who own a van or motorhome and want to rent it out when they’re not using it! So we rented a fully-equipped Transporter from our home, went on our roadtrip and returned it to its owner.

Everything is very clear when you book (both the costs and the rules of use) and it’s a really good way of trying out vanlife or getting a van that suits your needs for the duration of a trip.

Practical info

Capital of the Community: Santiago de Compostela

Main airport: the community’s largest airport is Santiago de Compostela. There are also 2 smaller airports, in La Coruña and Vigo.

How do you get around? Rent a car and explore the region! This will enable you to get to the various cabos (capes) without difficulty and enjoy the natural beauty of Galicia.

Weather: How many days should you allow? 5 days to see the essentials, 8 to 10 to make the most of the region and head inland to explore the province of Ourense, for example.

Tourist information website in English here.

Itinerary for your trip to Galicia

Water, earth, wind, sand… Welcome to Galicia.

Many people will know this region for its famous pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which ends in the town of the same name.

But there are also miles of cliffs, including the Costa da Morte (Coast of Death), named after the many shipwrecks that have occurred there. Then there are the Cies Islands (Islands of the Gods), Ons and Arousa: little archipelagos of paradise. Finally, the province of Ourense is characterised by its magnificent views and hot springs.

itinéraire galice

1st stop: Las Catedrales beach and Fuciño do Porco path

After spending our last night in Asturias, we took off to Galicia for our first stop: Playa de las Catedrales, in northern Galicia. You have to visit the beach at low tide. The idea? Take a walk between the cliffs (some are over 30 metres high!) and the arches formed by marine erosion. Add a thick fog to the mix and you’ve got an almost apocalyptic landscape! Unfortunately, this site is a victim of its own success during the high season, and a system of entrance fees has been introduced. As far as we’re concerned, out of season and in ‘bad’ weather, there weren’t many of us there! 

Another spectacular site, 60 km from the beach, is the Ruta Fuciño do Porco. This is a long, zigzagging coastal path overlooking the ocean. It’s a lovely walk lasting around 1? hours (round trip, including the start from the car park), and a good representation of Galicia “between land and sea”.

PS: You may or may not believe me, but these two sites were visited on the same day… only a few kilometers separate them and a great ray of sunshine (little surprises you can expect on a trip to Galicia)! 😁

Practical tips for Las Catedrales and the Ruta Fuciño do Porco :

To visit Las Catedrales, you need to check the tide table/schedule and go at low tide. What’s more, you need to book your (free) visit in advance via this site. You’ll receive a confirmation email to show at the entrance to the site. Everything is clearly signposted!

For the Ruta, you can park near Abrela beach and take a signposted forest path that leads you directly to the starting point of the ruta. From September to June, you don’t need to book a visit. For the other months, visit this website (free).

Car parks at both sites are free of charge.

2nd stop: La Coruña

It’s the only town in Galicia that we visited (as I mentioned in the first article on Asturias, we preferred to go to wild places). 

The city is pretty but it didn’t charm us. We were parked a long way from the city centre (with the van) and were pressed for time. What’s more, it was very crowded! Fortunately, we found a very good restaurant at the entrance to the old town where we tried our first pulpo a la gallega and raxo de cerdo.

What to see in A Coruña

  • The Tower of Hercules, an ancient lighthouse. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2009, it is the only Roman lighthouse in the world still in working order.
  • Plaza Maria Pita.
  • Stroll around the medieval quarter.
  • Go to Parque Escultórico.
  • Do some shopping at the Mercado de la Plaza Lugo.
  • Enjoy a drink at La Tasca A Toquera as the sun sets.
  • Climb Monte San Pedro.

3rd stop: Cape Finisterre and Monte Pindo

After A Coruña, we headed for the ‘end of the world’: Cabo Fisterra or Cape Finisterre.  It’s a very important place, because the Romans thought it was the most westerly point on earth, and therefore the end of the world.  Today, it is the last stop (after Santiago de Compostela) for pilgrims, who come here to burn their clothes (often a sock) to mark the end of their pilgrimage. It is also one of the capes of the Costa da Morte. We spent the night with a dozen vans on the edge of the cliff.

Very close to Cape Finisterre is Monte Pindo (also called A Moa in Galician): a mass of rock, symbolising the erosion of time, forming a lunar landscape. We also experienced the vagaries of the weather here: dense fog on the way up and a clear view on the way down! If you’re a keen hiker, go for it!

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Monte Pindo walk

9 km (return journey, follow the yellow and white signs)

Departure from the church of O Pindo.

4th stop: Arousa Island

We absolutely wanted to do an archipelago or an island during our stay. Although the Îles Cies were tempting, they didn’t quite fit in with our itinerary, so we headed for the island of Arousa, accessible from the mainland by a bridge over 2 km long. A pretty little island with very few people and lots of secluded little beaches (perfect for sunsets!).

During thesummer, it’s also a popular spot for snorkelling.

5th stop: Combarro

One of the little villages I’d heard a lot about before we left and couldn’t wait to see for myself! And it’s well worth the diversions.

The historic centre is full of horreos (granaries) that were used as larders in Galicia and Asturias. Today, they are an integral part of the landscape!

A special mention for the little Bar Chousa restaurant outside the centre, which is very touristy. Great service and a daily menu between €12 and €18 with all the Galician specialities!

It is not possible to enter the village by car, but parking is available outside.

Ideas for activities in Combarrro

👉 Boat trip in the estuary + Mussel tasting: leaving from Combarro, you can take a one-hour boat trip. An original and very enjoyable activity, ending with a tasting of local mussels.

Price: €18/adult – €9/child – free for chuldren under 3yo

Please note that this activity only takes place during the summer season (until around mid-September).

6th stop: Balcon de Madrid and Parada de Sil

Ending our stay in nature! For our last night in Galicia, we headed for Parada de Sil, a village where the Balcón de Madrid is located. The Balcón de Madrid is a magnificent viewpoint over the Sil canyon, a gorge carved out by the river Sil. A breathtaking landscape! We couldn’t have wished for a better way to end our trip.

We also took the opportunity to visit our last restaurant: Restaurante O Curtiñeiro, located in the centre of the village Parada de Sil.

Galician specialities

Galicia is Spain’s largest fishing centre. So I can’t recommend that you try any of the many seafood products! But meat also has its own reputation. Here are a few Galician specialities (gallegas) to try when you visit the region:

  • Pulpo a la gallega, also known as pulpo a feira: chicken cooked whole and served with paprika, salt and olive oil, as well as a few potatoes.
  • Churrasco: grilled meat (red or white).
  • Raxo (a la gallega) de Cerdo: small pieces of marinated pork.
  • Zamburiñas: scallops from the region.
  • Arroz con carabineros y zamburiñas: rice with scallops and red prawns.
  • Platters of seafood served fresh from a port in a small village.
  • Tarta de Santiago: the tart of Santiago de Compostela made with almonds, sugar and eggs.
  • Filloas: a style of pancake for a snack.
  • Drink an Estrella Galicia beer (one of the best in Spain – the word of a Belgian).
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This trip to Galicia in a converted van (a first for me with this mode of transport-accommodation) was really very positive and I can’t wait to do it all over again!

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Hello! I’m Julie, digital content creator, travel enthusiast and Spain lover!

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