There are many reasons that invite travellers to visit Galicia: its gastronomy, its climate, its forests, its beaches, its people… it is easy to get caught up in its blue and green landscapes. A large part of the natural wonders this land has to offer can be enjoyed free of charge and on an improvised basis, although there are some emblematic areas of the community that require entrance or prior appointment. It is important that you make your reservation in advance so that you don’t feel like seeing them. Below, we show you 7 of these incredible places that you cannot miss during your stay in Galicia.
Cathedral of Santiago
The Cathedral of Santiago is the greatest work of Romanesque art in Spain and every year receives tens of thousands of pilgrims who follow the Camino and many other visitors who don’t want to miss the main attraction of a city whose historic centre has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Located in the Galician capital, you cannot forget to visit it if you travel to Galicia. It is true that the beauty of its facade can be admired from the Praza do Obradoiro, but the experience of visiting its interior is unparalleled and allows you to see other of its many attractions.
To discover the monument in depth, it is necessary to book a visit through its website. There are different tickets according to the user’s preferences: the first one gives access to a complete tour of the Cathedral Museum and to the visit to the Pórtico de la Gloria, while the second one only allows access to the Museum. Both are available throughout the summer but, due to the crisis, the timetable is reduced (from Tuesday to Sunday between 10:30 and 14:30). A third type of ticket includes a visit to the museum of sacred art in the collegiate church of Santa María de Sar, although this has not yet reopened its doors.
If you want to know more, visit their website and make a reservation: http://catedraldesantiago.es/
Archipelago located at the entrance of the Ría de Vigo, the Cíes Islands are one of the most popular places in Galicia, as they constitute an important natural heritage. In fact, they are one of the main areas of the Parque Nacional Marítimo-Terrestre das Illas Atlánticas de Galicia. Many tourists do not want to miss its spectacular landscapes, its fine sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, all of which have attracted attention in recent years from media outlets around the world. To access the Cíes it is necessary to request authorisation through the National Park’s website and, furthermore, to book in advance one of the boats leaving from several nearby towns, such as Vigo, Cangas or Baiona. In addition, there is a campsite on the islands that allows you to spend the night there and make the experience of visiting them even more complete. It is also necessary to book a place in advance.
On this website you can request authorisation to access the islands, which is also necessary to reserve a place on the boats. https://autorizacionillasatlanticas.xunta.gal/
As Catedrais Beach
As Catedrais beach is an emblematic natural area belonging to the municipality of Ribadeo and located on the coast of the province of Lugo. The uniqueness of the beach and the reason for its fame lies in the set of rock arches that were sculpted by the waters of the Cantabrian Sea over the years as they hit the stone incessantly. This group of cliffs can reach up to 30 metres in height and impress everyone who approaches them.
The beauty of this natural landscape can be contemplated from the paths or the viewpoints, for which it is not necessary to make any reservations. However, the best way to contemplate it in all its splendour is to go down to the sand at low tide and walk under the arches, listening to the waves. That is why it is important to check the tide times and ask for a free ticket.
Make your reservation at https://ascatedrais.xunta.gal/monatr/inicio
Cova do Rei Cintolo
The Cova do Rei Cintolo is the largest natural cave in Galicia, with more than 6,500 metres in length. Located in Argomoso, within the municipality of Mondoñedo, Lugo, inside you can see spectacular formations of stalactites and stalagmites and its labyrinthine structure is distributed in different galleries of karst origin. These peculiarities, together with the legends surrounding the area, give this place an interesting geological personality that many visitors do not want to miss.
To access the cave it is necessary to participate in the visit program, making a reservation at least one day in advance. These routes are carried out by means of an attractive tour prioritizing safety, in guided and reduced groups with a minimum age of 12 years. The price is 15 euros per person.
To schedule access to the cave or request information is to contact the tourist office of Mondoñedo or call 982 507 177.
O Invernadeiro Natural Park
O Invernadeiro Natural Park is a natural area hidden in the Central Massif, specifically in the mountains of the municipality of Vilariño de Conso. With almost 6,000 hectares, it is a paradise where rocky landscapes and green, undulating mountains predominate. The area is characterized by its rich and diverse fauna and botany, creating an important space of natural and cultural interest. The different routes traced and marked out in the park allow visitors to enjoy its varied landscapes, to go deep into century-old forests and to try to catch a glimpse of the diverse fauna that inhabits it.
To visit it, it is necessary to request in advance an access permit issued in writing by the Servizo de Conservación da Natureza de Ourense and to do all the marked routes on foot.
You can send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the following telephone numbers: 988 386 376 – 988 386 029.
Tower of Hercules
A Coruña can boast of having the oldest functioning Roman lighthouse in the world, the Tower of Hercules, on its territory. Declared an Asset of Cultural Interest and World Heritage Site, this building takes anyone who visits it to a time of myths and legends. Although the origin of the tower is unknown, it is known that it was rebuilt by the Romans in the first century and since then it has been a point of reference for navigators.
To enter the bowels of this emblematic monument you must join a guided tour, as the entrance is by 15 minute slots, with access limited to groups of a maximum of 17 people. Fees vary between 1.5 and 3 euros, although in specific cases access is free. It is possible to purchase the ticket at the visitor’s centre just before entering the enclosure, but it can also be purchased one day in advance, which is recommended in times of high tourist influx.
For more information, visit their website: http://www.torredeherculesacoruna.com/
Isle of Ons
The Ons archipelago is located at the entrance to the Pontevedra estuary and belongs to the municipality of Bueu. As with the Cíes Islands, it is a natural paradise included in the Parque Nacional das Illas Atlánticas. The main island stands out for its landscapes, its beaches, its routes and its coastal town, and is ideal for a summer getaway.
To explore this natural environment it is necessary to request an authorization through the website of the national park. Once the form has been filled in and the authorisation obtained, the next step is to choose the shipping company with which to reach the final destination. The boats leave from Vigo, Baiona, Bueu, Cangas, Portonovo and Sanxenxo. Ons also has a campsite where it is possible to stay overnight.
Ask for your authorization: https://autorizacionillasatlanticas.xunta.gal/illasr/inicio#