Among the wide range of sailing destination offered by aBoatTime, you will find also Vigo, the capital and the largest city in the Spanish region of Galicia, as well as the beginning of five well know estuaries called Rías Baixas.
The Rias Baixas are considered the largest Galician estuaries, characterized by the beauty of its beaches and cliffs. There is a legend that these estuaries are a sign left by God, who put His hand in this place to rest after creating the world and thus left the mark of His fingers: five estuaries that could fit well with the myth.
The actual formation of these rías is a result of water erosion along with the movements of the earth. Ancient valleys of Galicia were flooded by the sea millions of years ago, generating large spaces of saltwater that were protected from the open ocean, which facilitated the development of a unique ecosystem.
Sanxenxo, the jewel of the Rias Baixas
The town of Sanxenxo is considered being the capital of tourism in the region. The town has young population, and modern urban development, which is due to the tourism boom that transformed the city around its nightlife and especially its beach.
The center of the nautical tourism in the town is the port, which offers good anchoring options, especially for shallow-draught vessels. There are also numbers of small fishing boats, which work further up the estuary, anchored in the port.
Sanxenxo is not the only beautiful spot in the region. There are many wonderful coves in the province of Pontevedra, especially along the Morrazo peninsula. The coves of San Simon, Aldan and Bueu definitely have to be included in your must see list if you are doing a sailing trip in Galicia. Close to Vigo, you can find Combarro, a place with one of most wonderful sets of ‘hórreos’ and ‘cruceiros’ which are, respectively, granaries and stone crosses on a pillar, very typical and common in this region. Not far away from this place can be found two well known buildings – the Monastery of Poio and a bit further on, that of Armenteira.
National Park of the Atlantic Islands
Within the surroundings of the Rias Baixas, is one of the most amazing scenery that symbiosis between land and sea can offer. The Atlantic Islands National Park in Pontevedra includes the Cíes Islands, and the islands of Ons, Cortegada and Sálvora. These four groups of rocky islands offer variety of landscapes: wild cliffs to the west, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean as well as softer scenery with nice beaches and dunes looking landwards towards the estuaries. Such an amazing ecological diversity attracts the colonies of seabirds that inhabit these islands. The seafloor is important in terms of biodiversity of fish and shellfish, seaweed forests and the presence of several species of dolphins. In addition, the island of Cortegada is home to the largest laurel forest in Europe.
In order to preserve this natural beauty the traffic to Cíes Islands is restricted to 2,200 people per day. Besides that, the only place to stay overnight is a camping with space up to 800 people. Walking along its paths you can discover picturesque sandy beaches, spectacular caves and cliffs, but these paradise surroundings cannot be an obstacle to do some cultural tourism, for instance, visiting a pre-Roman settlement on the Cíes Islands.
The Gastronomy of the region
The cuisine of the Rias Baixas is almost inexhaustible, consisting of products both from the land and sea. The shellfish from Galicia is very famous, although the fish and meat dishes are delicious too, especially when accompanied by a good Albariño wine.
The cold winter is fought with other beverages such as brandy and ‘queimada’. In summer, gastronomic fairs and festivals flood the villages of the area, offering an excellent opportunity to sample the regional cuisine. Among these events, the most famous one is Albariño Fair in Cambados, which has been declared of National Tourist Interest.