Beaches – temples of sand, history and tradition

The Rodas beach (Playa de Rodas), Islas Cíes

At the westernmost tip of Europe lies Galicia – its grassy and rocky landscape opening like a hand to the Atlantic Ocean and the Cantabric sea to the north. Here in this venerable landscape prominent cliffs alternate with clean, fine- sanded beaches. Beaches whose names allude to their topographic characteristics, to stories of sunken galleons, to navigators’ odysseys from Breogán to San Telmo, to globetrotter adventurers or explorers, to legends of fertility-inducing waves and Venus, to fables and stories of stone ships and treasures. Here waves carry Nature in the form of shells and algae. Indeed, many of these places were known throughout history as sacred or profane sites to the traditions of witchcraft. Temples of the landscape, contemplated by old chapels dedicated to the Virgin, “Estrela da Mañán” (Morning Star), and to evening, as well as “Stella Maris”, or to saints like San Adrián, an object of devotion for the sea people, springing from ancestral animistic cults.

Almost three thousand kilometres of coastline is exposed to the “Mar de Fora” (Open Sea) or “Mar Mayor”, (Great Sea) as well as the “Mar de Dentro” (Estuaries) formed at the mouth of rivers which served as guides to the adventurers and pilgrims travelling toward the interior; these estuaries gave rise to sheltered ports and lighthouses thanks to their privileged position. A sea of contrasts: calm to embrace and poeticise, to rest and soak the mind in its peace, the first step for those wishing to learn the art of navigating; but also friendly, an ally of the winds, of swaying waves that envelop and flirt with surfers – a sea that offers the full range of emotions. Each beach has its own rhythm, its own ballet of clear, blue or emerald waves, fine sand, and ambience; always inviting you to share the joy of living. A safe meeting point presided over by the waving blue flag. Here the Four Elements blend perfectly: sea and river waters, sand and rock, sunlight, and gentle breezes.

A coast with beaches distributed among the Cantabric side from the Ria Eo to the Cape Ortegal, and the Atlantic side between Ortegal and Fisterra that includes the lands of Capelada with the Sanctuary of Teixido, Ferrol, Mariñas, Bergantiños and the “Costa da Morte” (Coast of Death), and the “Rías Baixas” (southern Estuaries) with Muros and Noia, Arousa, Pontevedra and Vigo up to the Tegra and the mouth of the river Miño.

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