Virtual Tour of Rias Baixas
The western coastline of Galicia comprises of a series of old and unique, fjord-like sheltered estuaries that contain numerous safe swimming beaches and precious islands including the National Park of Los Islas Atlanticos, which leads to the border with Portugal, separated by the hugely impressive river Mino and are known as the Rías Baixas.
The scenic shots have been taken from a number of famous local places in the southern part of the Rias stretching from the border in the south at Monte Santa Tecla and A Guarda (which technically is not an estuary but still forms a part of this stretch of coastline) to Baiona then Monteferro and finally further north at Patos Beach.
Starting with Monte Santa Tecla the views from the top, which is reachable by car, in every direction either looking towards the Atlantic Ocean,the Port of A Guarda or inland towards Portugal and the Mino river valley are incredible and taking in all that fresh air is one of the wonders of Galicia! The pre-historic hilltop,celtic settlement with a few restored huts is the second most visited place in Galicia after Santiago! We then head down to the old Port of a Guardia which is scenic and there still exists some of the original fishermans cottages. After that its off to the Playa de Os Muiños at Camposancos which lies at the head of the river Mino and is dramatic as the sea meets the river. On the way to Baiona we take a detour to enjoy a nice walk and visit the Muíños do Folón and do Picón,ancient mills in an impressive wooded,mountain setting. We then take a quick look at the Monastery of Oia which dates back to 1137 before heading for the lighthouse at Cabo de Sillero.
We arrive in Baiona and stop at Monterreal Fort which is Baiona's most prominent sight and has been part of the landscape for over 2000 years. The peninsular covers over 18 hectares of walled fortifications which help enclose arguably Spain's finest hotel, the Parador Conde de Gondomar. There are unbelievable views looking out towards the sea and the Islas Cíes (Cies Islands) and inland across the ría (Bay of Baiona) and mountains beyond. The sheltered terrace of the Parador is one of the best places in the whole of Galicia in which to enjoy a nice beer or drink and a tapa in exhilarating surroundings. There's time to visit the replica ship La Carabela Pinta (entrance fee €2) in the Port of Baiona.
Then we travel past the Ria of Baiona towards Nigran and head for Monteferro. This is a narrow, prominent stretch of elevated,heavily wooded coastline whose top has a stone tower (a monument dedicated to all the fisherman who have lost their lives at sea) and which is visible from all parts of the locality surrounding Baiona/Nigran. The views of the Atlantic and towards the Cies Islands are again incredible – the spot is also a great picnic area shaded by woodland and even in summer is often nearly deserted. Lower down the slopes of this hillside there are footpaths which lead to an amazing clearing perched close to the open ocean. From here, a green,peaceful oasis, the views towards the Cies Islands and Atlantic waves are again dramatic- there are also glimpses of the beginning of Vigo with its equally stunning location.
The short journey ends at Patos beach which is the one of the best beaches in the area to relax, swim, surf and sunbathe in complete tranquility and there is so much space in which to pass the day away! All these places can be visited in half a day with still time left to enjoy a great lunch in the numerous beachside bars/restaurants which are situated along the Nigran/Baiona coastline.