The peace of nature
The Aloia knows that it is attractive, set as it is in an area touched by a benign climate and exuberant nature. A green mountain which also has solid roots set in the granite. Throughout its history it has been put to defensive, religious, forestry and recreational use. It was the first Natural Park in Galicia, and here it is, in complicity with the river, which, at its feet, begins to say its goodbyes before giving itself up to the sea.
The hills of O Galiñeiro, which rises up as a small hill range on the coast, starts from a height of less than one hundred metres and ascends to 629 metres at the peak of San Xián. The hill dominates the landscape, described as an observation point over the Miño. All the streams that flow from the Aloia seek the Miño valley in a short but rough journey, an indication of their milling past.
The location of the Park in one of the most densely populated areas of Galicia and the north of Portugal provides it with great environmental education possibilities. Thus, the house built by the Tui forestry expert Rafael Areses in 1921 is now used as a Visitors’ Centre.
On clear days the panoramic views from the Aloia will not fail to please. This is an area closely linked to open-air leisure activities, especially hill-walking. It is included in the network of routes throughout O Baixo Miño, which runs to here from the city of Vigo.
Rich vegetation. Smudges of indigenous forest, mainly of deciduous species. Restocked with pines and masses of exotic trees close to a hundred years old, accompanied by the typical fauna of the mountains. In this respect, the Aloia represents a refuge from the pressures around them for species like the rabbit, birds of prey and amphibians.
Not to be Missed
There is a permanent exhibition and extensive information about the Park in the Visitors’ Centre “Casa do Enxeñeiro Areses”. The six routes which enable us to learn about the mountain start here. They connect five lookout points, as well as many recreation areas and seven water mills which can be visited (the Tripes mills route and the Paredes mills route). A total of ten kilometres to be covered, including a botanical trail with explanation panels, that illustrate the plant diversity in the area and show how to identify the different species through games.
The most visited place and the centre of local folk traditions, is the chapel at the top of San Xián. The shrine, of Romanesque origin, and the flight of steps to the saint’s fountain which was reconstructed in 18th century was a response to the ancient Christianisation of the cult of the stones and other natural elements. The rituals speak about the part of the bed in which it seems the saint slept and where the grass never grew, and about the water stone and the sun stone which were used to predict the weather.
The oldest route on foot is that of the Alto dos Cubos castro, a fortified town of which a 1,250 metre long wall still survives, called by the curious name of the Cyclops wall because it was made of large stones without mortar.
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In Tui (Pontevedra).
Turn off near Tui, on the local PO-340 Gondomar-Tui road.
Accommodation: No, but it can be found in Tui. Food: Yes.
Nature Interpretation Centre ”Casa Forestal Enxeñeiro Areses” (Tel. 986 685 095). Information panels.
Other related natural spaces / nearby:
SCI “Baixo Miño”
“Serra da Groba”