Beautiful Scenery, Excellent Cuisine, What More Could you Want?

By: Scott James

With regards to the entire Spanish tourist industry Northern Spain and Galicia especially have been very much a hidden treasure. All over Northern Spain the climate is much more moderate than the rest of the Iberian Peninsula and the autonomous regions that make up this area of the country have exactly what it takes to help visiting tourists have a good time.

The Atlantic coast of northern Spain boasts extremely attractive sandy beaches whilst inland the mountain ranges are criss-crossed by numerous foot paths.

Of all of the autonomous regions of Spain it is understandable given its location that Galicia is considered the most remote. Located in the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula Galicia is a green, rain swept region remarkable for the diversity of its landscape, where coastal cliffs alternate with lowlands and "rias."

As well as beautiful scenery in Galicia you have excellent cuisine especially the seafood whilst at the same time you have right on your doorstep one of the most visited religious pilgrimage sites in the world at Santiago de Compostela. Indeed a whole tourism industry has sprung up around Santiago de Compostela and the whole Way of St. James otherwise known as the "Camino de Santiago."

The cultural and language origins of Galicia are very much rooted within the Celtic family of communities found elsewhere in North West Europe.

Historically, always classed as the poorer cousin to some of the other richer regions Galicia had an economy that did not easily lend itself to modernisation. Galicia always seemed to be a very closed and inward looking area being fiercely resistant to any formal external invasion. It was only very briefly an independent monarchy in the 10th and 11th centuries.

With the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Portugal bordering on the south opportunities for its inhabitants quite often were not that forthcoming. The result of this was that Galicia became very much like its Celtic cousins in the north such as Ireland and became a source of many waves of emigration.

Thankfully slowly throughout the 20th century Galicia has begun to develop a way in which to manage the traditional lifestyles with a modern community to ensure that none of its rich history is lost.

The port cities of and Corunna which are widely appreciated to be centres of culture and industry within Galicia. As has been mentioned elsewhere, the seafood cuisine is second to none as you would also expect from a region where fishing is one of the most vital sectors of the economy.

The coastline, cut with fjord like Rias is dotted with fishing villages. Galicia and its coastline like other parts of the Atlantic Coast was devastated in 2002 with the sinking of the oil tanker prestige however the coastline has appeared to make an outstanding comeback with a tremendous recovery and in some cases is almost as good as new.

The most westerly point in Spain, Cabo Fisterra is situated in this rugged stretch of Galician coastline. Throughout the region especially in the hills are concealed many remains of ancient Celtic settlement's, quite often especially up in the hills, these are often shrouded in mist. At road junctions and in towns throughout the region stand various old stone crosses and in the villages old stone granaries are quite commonplace.

As with other Celtic regions, the love of music and the arts is very common in Galicia and as well as its own traditional language, Gallego, Galicia has its traditional musical instrument the bagpipes!

There are a great many similarities between Galicia and the other Celtic Countries and nowhere is this more evident with Art and Culture. This is further exemplified with the slight theme of melancholy running through quite often the words and music of the region. With regards to Galicia (as with County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland), as anyone who has experienced some of the fierce storms coming in from the Atlantic perhaps this is understandable.

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