Venturing into a path through the forests to end with a swim in a clean and cool water pool surrounded by butterflies, birds, and dragonflies? A hike from the mountain to the beach, feeling the ocean breeze and swimming, this time, in salty water? A route through the mountains, to the rhythm of cascading waterfalls? Or one along a river with old mills? Which one will refresh you the most? The best thing to do is to take a stroll along one of these routes; you’ll probably end up doing them all. Fill your water bottles, hikers!
Ruta de Donón (Cangas). Also known as the Blue Path along the Costa da Vela. This maritime route, about 11 km long, can be completed in a brisk 3 hours, offering a lot of nature, ethnography, history, legends… always with the refreshing sea breeze. The route begins at the foot of Monte do Facho, where remnants of an important past still exist, as evidenced by petroglyphs and Roman and medieval remains. Here, you’ll find the mysterious ruins of the Galician-Roman sanctuary of Berobreo (3rd-4th century AD) with no less than 174 votive altars. In this area, the “garita,” an 18th-century surveillance structure, serves as a magnificent viewpoint. Along the way, you’ll also come across many “hórreos” (traditional grain storage buildings) and a mill on the riverbank.
On this coastal route, you’ll also encounter a few lighthouses, starting with Punta Subrido. Between this point and Punta Robaleira, with its lighthouse, lies the Melide Beach, well sheltered between the two. If you stop here, you might be tempted to stay forever due to the idyllic surroundings. In the westernmost part, you’ll find the main lighthouse, Cabo Home, one of the tallest in Galicia, almost kissing the Cíes Islands, 2 km away.
Towards the end of the route, if you time it right at sunset, don’t miss the chance to gaze at the sun framed by “La Buguina,” a sculpture-viewpoint created by Lito Portela in 2005.
Ruta dos Casariños (Fornelos de Montes). This route takes you into the heart of the O Suído mountain range, the source of many rivers in Pontevedra (Tea, Verdugo, Oitavén, Avión). When it’s hot, the sun shines brightly here, but with water nearby, taking a refreshing dip is no problem. The journey begins at the Airoa recreational area. Here, you’ll follow a forest track that leads to a lookout point with a bench. After calmly enjoying the views, you’ll descend to the Os Casariños waterfalls, where several cascades in the Fonte Uceira River await, flowing over natural rock formations in an almost natural amphitheater. It ends in a pool, so bringing a swimsuit in your backpack is essential.
This short route can be extended with the Ruta dos Chozos da Laxe, a circular route a bit longer, in a mountain landscape dotted with “chozos,” small stone shelters for shepherds.
Parque Natural Río Barosa (Barro). This park features a small circular route of 4 km. Along the way, you’ll encounter numerous mills, up to seventeen, with some of them restored. As is well known, where there are mills, it’s a sign that water flows with strength, creating various waterfalls, some of them quite large. In fact, you’ll come across a waterfall with over 30 meters of vertical drop.
In this secluded world of waterfalls and forests, nature offers pristine flora and fauna, all native to the area: elderberry trees, hawthorns, mosses, reptiles, otters, wild boars, herons…
During your visit, you might even cross paths with some pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, as the Portuguese route passes a few meters away.
Ruta Máxica de Oia. This hike combines scenic, archaeological, and refreshing elements, as hidden waterfalls and pools for a good swim can be found in the mountains. The route is linear, covering about 20 km, and runs at an elevation of 100 to 300 meters above sea level in A Groba mountain range. At the first stop, you’ll find the petroglyphs of A Pedreira, offering views of the port and the Oia Monastery. Further along, rock engravings continue, as the mountain is filled with them, such as in the O Viveiro area and Outeiros de Morouzo, featuring the famous A Pedra do Cazador engraving.
You’ll delve into the Broi River canyon, which boasts a splendid cork oak forest, the westernmost Mediterranean forest in Europe: as Sobreiras do Faro. As you approach Cano dos Mouros, the views of the A Groba mountain range and the coast will give you an idea of your location.
You’ll continue along paved and forest tracks to the O Pousiño engravings. Nearby, several waterfalls and the pools of the Peito River await you: the Pozas de Mougás, where you’ll want to swim. Another key point on the route is the A Cabeciña summit, with remnants of fortifications, petroglyphs, and scenic vistas. The journey ends by descending the hillside towards Baiona, in the A Mata neighborhood.