Ribadeo and the Northern Coast of Galicia

By: Stephen Morgan

Galicia in particular and Northern Spain in general have long been considered to be a hidden jewel in the entire Spanish tourist industry and hidden away within Galicia itself are some further jewels and we are going to examine Ribadeo further.

If you look at all of the autonomous regions that make up modern day Spain, Galicia has to be the most remote and hidden away within that remoteness lies Ribadeo.

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 and herein lies a paradox in that it is this very reluctance to embrace modernity throughout that gives the region much of its appeal as far as tourism is concerned.

The natives of Galicia if you trace them back far enough have origins very similar to their Celtic cousins in the north and are justifiably proud of their language and culture and these connections no matter how stretched or tenuous give them their sense of regionalism and uniqueness.

Galicia always seemed to be a very closed and inward looking area being fiercely resistant to any formal external invasion and in many ways this degree of isolation was very much driven by the geographical location of the region.

Slowly but surely in the 20th century, Galicia began to develop and today traditional lifestyles rub shoulders with modernity throughout the region whilst at the same time the region has lost none of its more traditional culture and within the tourism economy this is starting to show real benefits.

Ribadeo can be found on the northern coast of Galicia and Northern Spain. It is actually the most eastern of all of the major towns in Galicia and is on the main coastal road into Galicia (the N634) from Oviedo.

Like its near coastal neighbour, Viveiro, Ribadeo is on the stretch of coastline known as the Rias Altas, an area of outstanding natural beauty that should not be missed by any tourist or visitor to the area.

It would be wrong to call the Rias Altas paradise as that in itself would tend to attract possibly the wrong type of visitor that could in fact damage the very reason for visiting the area in the first place.

And Don Henley of the Eagles sings in the "The Last Resort" on the album Hotel California: "Call someplace paradise, I don't know why. Call someplace paradise kiss it goodbye" and such it would be with the Rias Altas.

Let's just leave it that it is an area of outstanding natural beauty that hopefully will be well preserved by European legislation and will be there for visitors and locals alike for a great many years to come.

With regards to Ribadeo, it can be found at the head of the Ria de Ribadeo and at the mouth of the river Eo from which the town gets its name. It is an attractive fishing town and the town itself is home to the Colegiata de Santa Maria de Campo, an 18th Century church with two extremely attractive baroque altarpieces. The harbour area of the town is extremely pleasant and can be found at the end of a series of steep streets leading down the hillside.

All in all it is quite picturesque, certainly with the views across the river to the neighbouring region of Asturias.

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