Lakes and lagoons for a family outing

We have lakes and lagoons in the interior, at the mouth of some rivers, at the top of mountains, on the coast and even lakes made on purpose, such as those from reservoirs or those from old open-pit mines filled with water.

If we are looking for an excursion in the middle of nature, with first-rate biodiversity and routes that do not require much effort, ideal for families, there are several lakes and lagoons waiting for us.

In our lakes there are not many monsters like the one in Loch Ness, here we are more of submerged cities. Practically one at the bottom of each lagoon. Each city with its legend, Christianized, that follows a similar scheme: a deluge-like punishment for not having been hospitable to Jesus or the Virgin. One or two kind souls are always saved, of course. The stories and the names of the cities are repeated, so that there are several Valverdes, Lucernas, Beira… and even an Antioch. This is very famous, since it is said to be under the Antela lagoon, in A Limia, which was the largest in the northwest of the peninsula, with more than 3,500 ha. In the 1950s, when it was dried up, many people expected to see the remains of the so-called “Antioquía de Galicia”, but nothing was seen. Although it is still said that every morning of San Juan the tip of a tower stands out in the water, and at Christmas the song of the rooster is heard at twelve o’clock at night. In winter the sound of bells also comes from the depths. Everything that has to do with the wetland is very well explained in the Casa da Lagoa, the interpretation center of the Antela lagoon, in Sandiás.

Another lagoon that must be seen is that of Traba, in Laxe. It is in the natural space of Traba, which includes a beach, almost 2 km long, between Punta Arnado and Punta de Traba, a dune ridge and a natural lagoon. It is a small and narrow coastal lagoon, formed from an inlet into which the Rego do Vao and the Traba River flow. It has a wooden walkway through which you can comfortably walk through the reeds. This lagoon is the favorite destination of many wintering birds, such as the bittern or the American pilro. If the weather is good, we can finish the excursion with a swim on the beach. Oh, of course, at the bottom of the lagoon, there is a submerged Valverde.

They say there is another Valverde in the Doniños lagoon. And that in the very center there is a well that takes whoever passes over it, unless they go in a resistant boat. Here we are in a beach-lake-coastal complex. The lagoon runs parallel to the dune system. It also presents a rich biodiversity, being a privileged space for ornithological observation. On the way that we visit the lagoon, we can visit the castreño settlement of Doniños, or the old military batteries, a vestige of the fight against the English army in the 19th century, or surf on the beach.

Among the coastal lagoons, so grateful to go with the family, that of Xarfas or Louro is quite impressive, between dunes, beach and mountains, it seems like an imaginary landscape. It is formed by the inflow of the Longarela River. At least twice a year the “ingüeiro rupture” phenomenon occurs, in which the waters rise and escape into the sea, breaking the dune.

The Cospeito lagoon, in Lugo, including Valverde, of course, is a rich ecosystem, with many species of waterfowl and even otters. The best time to go is in the months of October, November, February and March, which is when there are more birds. It has ornithological observatories and trails.

For athletic families, the Trevinca lagoons are a prize for climbing. They are very old, of glacial origin, formed in the Quaternary. The best known: Ocelo and A Serpe. In the latter, according to legend, on the night of San Juan, a black-haired princess is seen on a stone on the shore. The rest of the year it lives in the water in the form of a snake.

If we talk about larger extensions, there is usually more variety of resources for family entertainment beyond nature. These lakes do not flood legendary cities, but real mines, and they are always good news for environmental recovery. For example, in As Pontes, the largest artificial lake in Europe, the hole left by open-cast lignite mines has been used to fill it with water from the River Eume and rainfall. It has spaces for all tastes: meadows, beach, water sports… For a full day excursion.

The Pedras Miúdas lagoon, in the municipality of Catoira, was born in a granite quarry. It is filled based on rains and springs. It has a recreational area and trails with walkways from where we can see the mouth of the Ulla, the Arousa estuary and the Abalo windmills.

We finish off with a classic in Marín, typical of family and school excursions: Lake Castiñeiras. It is an artificial lake on Mount San Xulián, between the municipalities of Marín and Vilabao. The recreational area is very large, with tables, fountains, services and even a bar. The San Xulián Nature Classroom has been operating since 1987. Around the lake is the Cotorredondo Natural Park. There are areas with fallow deer, deer and a trout fishing preserve.

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