Holiday in Southern Galicia

By: Scott James

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 Northern Galicia 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 Northern Galicia.

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.

Northern Galicia covers an area north of a line to drawn from Santiago de Compostela in the West and Lugo and the Reserva Nacional De Os Ancares in the East.

If you include Santiago de Compostela in this region along with Coruna you actually have two of the biggest Cities of the region and two of the major tourist areas, the Costa de Morte and Rias Altas.

As has been mentioned, Santiago is the regions major tourist attraction and in many ways is the centrepiece of the entire region with regards to the "Way of Saint James" having routes leading to it literally from not only all of Galicia but from all of the Spain and beyond.

Other interesting towns and tourist destinations in Northern Galicia would consist of Lugo, Betanzos and Mondonedo. There is a nice coastal drive along the northern coast and the Rias Altas starting at Ribadeo in the East and travelling through Foz, Burela, Cervo, Viveiro, Ortigueira, Cediera and Ferrol finally arriving at Coruna in the west. As had been mentioned, this drive takes in the entire Rias Altas which is a beautiful area of the region in itself.

Heading westwards from Coruna you would then take in the area known as the Costa de Morta - the Coast of Death, so called because of the many shipwrecks found offshore.

The drive from Coruna takes in Caion and then leads slightly inland to Carballo before you arrive in Malpica. From there you would head south via Laxe and Camarinas arriving at the most westerly part of the Galician coastline in Cabo Fisterra. This drive is characterized by a wild and windswept landscape and the scenery is characterized by steep cliffs and a rugged coastline. Quite awesome natural beauty but also this has a strange feature in that at periodic intervals throughout the journey you'll find quite distinctive Cruceiros or Celtic crosses that indicate various stations of the Cross and in relation to this coastline where accidents and shipwrecks have occurred.

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