We’ve been in Spain for two weeks and as I’ve been looking through my already huge amount of photos to pick a few for this post, it became obvious that as we’ve travelled South the blue skies and sunshine have followed us – phew! We arrived in drizzle and fog (welcome to Spain!), and to recover from the trauma of Biscay – “we never want to sail again!” – and to give Lot (Patrick’s sister and our invaluable 5th crew member for crossing Biscay) a bit of holiday time, we have slowly meandered down the Rias of the west coast. We have been rewarded with gorgeous bays, almost empty anchorages, dolphins, mussel beds and plenty of swimming time!
Our route with a few highlights and top tips:
Camarinas – gorgeous almost Scandinavian looking bay with pine tree forests leading down to a lovely little beach (NE corner). We anchored nearby so that kids could kayak themselves to the beach – their first taste of freedom!
Ria de Muros – very friendly and helpful marina at Portosin but otherwise not the prettiest of the Rias. Santiago de Compostela: we hired a car and took a little trip inland to see this beautiful city – kids VERY happy with time ashore and delicious churros and chocolate!!
Ria de Arousa – we anchored among the boulders in Peninsula del Grove (SE corner) which, although resulted in a few sleepless nights for me (checking the anchor hadn’t dragged every few hours!), was absolutely stunning and the perfect introduction to snorkelling for the kids – Stella is officially addicted and now wants to become a marine biologist!
Ria de Pontevedra – we visited the National Park at Isla Ons (very rolly so didn’t stay) – if you want to visit the National Parks you need a permit which was easy to do online but must be done in advance – having said that our permits never got checked! We also visited the gorgeous little town of Combarro which is a world heritage site & well worth a visit.
Ria de Vigo – lovely visit to National Park Islas Cies (stunning beach!), short eye opening visit to a lovely anchorage off the nudist beach (Enseada De Barra) in the north corner, followed by two totally functional ‘get stuff done’ days and nights at the shabby Real Club Nautico Vigo right in the centre of the metropolis of Vigo. Fantastically stocked and helpful chandlery at Bouzas – Effects Navales Jesus Betanzos, Eduardo Cabello. We also went under the suspension bridge (hold your breath!) to Enseada de San Simon where Patrick rediscovered the joy of windsurfing!
Baiona – Blue Zulu lifted out the water for P to do some propeller repairs. Baiona is a charming if slightly touristy town and home of the replica of the Pinta (one of Christopher Columbus’s boats) which was fun (and educational!).
All in all Galicia seems to be visited mainly by Spanish tourists and has a lovely laid back relaxed feel – the seafood is mostly great (order carefully!) with Pulpo (octopus with obvious tentacles!) being the speciality! We would definitely recommend the Rias Baixas as a great cruising ground or holiday destination – now off to Portugal!