Visit Galicia

By: Stephen Morgan

Ask most people what they actually know about Galicia and the majority will probably look at you slightly quizzically and then move on to another topic. Those that do know anything about Galicia will probably have a knowledge particularly based around the goings-on or happenings at Santiago de Compostela.

The above would it be a tremendous disservice to what has actually been described by others as some sort undiscovered jewel but in this case the description is true.

The stretch of coastline that effectively makes up the south-western border of Galicia is known as the Rias Baixas and it is in the middle of the Rias Baixas that one of the more interesting geographical treasures of Galicia can be found and this is in the small village of Baiona.

The village of Baiona is a largish village that can found about two hours driving south from Santiago de Compostela. This route is very easily driven on the motorway but as is usually the case in a lot of cases that an awful lot more can be taken in and appreciated if you were to drive this road on the ordinary road.

If you are thinking of driving down the motorway from Santiago then drive virtually all the way to Vigo and the route to Baiona is effectively the next junction off the motorway after you bypass Vigo.

The history of Baiona goes back some 800 years when its name was changed to Baiona and it came under royal protection. As a result a Castle was built on a rocky promontory and though the building might not be in the best of conditions the ramparts are well preserved and provide for an interesting walk for about 2 km.

However it is inside the Castle that things become really interesting. This is because inside the wall of the Castle is a Parador that possible has one of the most spectacular locations in all of Spain.

Now for the uninitiated, a Parador is actually a state run hotel and befall you head for the hills thinking the last thing you want to do is to stay in any government run establishment, staying in a Parador is slightly different.

OK, so it's a hotel what's new? Well, if you happen perchance to be able to stay in a Parador you might find yourself pleasantly surprised with regards to the quality of service and cuisine that is on offer. Certainly in this case the location is rather spectacular with the hotel being surrounded by the sea on three sides and actually protected by ancient ramparts.

The village of Baiona has an old quarter which actually houses some quite interesting houses and monuments in the harbour lies an extremely interesting replica ship. Now this replica ship is actually a replica off the Pinta, which alongside the Santa Maria and Nina comprised the fleet that took Christopher Columbus from Western Europe to his historic discovery of the New World. The historic significance here was that the Pinta was one of the first ships back from this historic voyage of discovery and brought back the news of what Columbus had actually found.

It is quite amazing what you will find if you take the time and trouble to look. Sounds obvious I know but in this case it most certainly true.

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