A land of a thousand rivers, deep and richly verdant forests, bubbling hot springs and over 750 beaches… Galicia is a truly unique corner of Spain. This region really is unlike most of Spain and is often compared to Ireland – except it has better weather! It even has its own language, Gallego.
The region’s dramatic landscape is a significant part of its character – from its wild and irregular 1,000 miles of rocky coastline full of rías (tidal estuaries) to craggy massifs that are home to hundreds of thermal hot springs, and peaceful, rolling hills carpeted by grassy fields. You never quite know what striking view Galicia will unveil next.
The best way to explore this landscape is undoubtedly by following the Camino de Santiago, the famous medieval pilgrimage route still trekked by hundreds of thousands of people every year. The route’s final stop, the beautiful city of Santiago de Compostela is the perfect destination for a cultured city break.
Galicia also shares Ireland’s Celtic heritage, and is proud of it, with festivals and traditions playing a big part in Galician life. When the Roman’s discovered Galicia they thought it was the edge of the world and named its westernmost tip ‘Finisterre’ (end of the earth). They left behind what is now the oldest working Roman lighthouse in the world, the Tower of Hercules, at A Coruña – a coastal city with amazing beaches and a fascinating maritime past.
The sea provides some of Galicia’s most delicious cuisine. It’s a seafood paradise with a wealth of fish and shellfish from the coastal waters as well as succulent oysters, scallops and mussels farmed in the shallow rías. You absolutely must try the regional speciality of pulpo a la gallega, or polbo á feira, boiled octopus sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt and paprika. You’ll find this dish everywhere, especially in coastal areas.
Inland are rustic menus filled with hearty stews, filling empanadas and a host of meaty dishes using pork and veal. Whatever, you eat, enjoy it with the local wines – crisp, dry whites from the Rías Baixas made from the Albariño grape; tart, full-bodied reds from Ribeiro or exciting, complex wines from Valdeorras.