RÍAS BAIXAS

Rías Baixas with your dog 

The Rías Baixas (Rías Bajas in Galicia) is a large area of coastal Galicia that covers the stretch south of A Coruña and the entire coast of Pontevedra. I visited a small part of this beautiful land in June 2018 and had the first swim of my life on a beach (a dog-friendly one, of course).

TO STAY:
HOTEL ALDA ACQUAMARIS

TO EAT:
AS DE GUÍA (Rúa Oscura, 23. O Grove)

RESTAURANTE BOGAVANTE (Av. de Beiramar, 80. O Grove)

TO HAVE A COFFEE:
AS PANEIRAS (Luis Antonio Mestre, 1. O Grove)

The Galician stage of my tour of Spain got underway at an archaeological jewel: the Celtic hill-fort of Santa Tecla (Santa Trega in Galician). This settlement is the most emblematic and most visited in the whole of Galicia. It’s located on the 341 metre-high Mt. Santa Tecla, meaning there are splendid views over the ocean and the Miño river, which separates Spain and Portugal.

In the  video of my journey around Galicia you can get an idea of what this place is like, characterised by oval-shaped stone dwellings whose heyday would have been the 1stcentury B.C. Taking advantage of the fact that there were hardly any visitors, I decided to run around from one end to the other between the stone walls of the site and then took a nap while contemplating the views over the mouth of the Miño and the Portuguese mountains. We dogs are not allowed to enter the site´s interpretation centre (which is a little higher up the mountain), although it’s still worth visiting Santa Tecla. By the way, you have to pay one Euro per person to drive up the mountain by car.

As we arrived at dusk, we decided not to climb up to the summit, where there is a car park, viewpoints, a chapel, bar and restaurant, as well as the museum/interpretation centre mentioned above. Remember to allow enough time! 

After leaving behind A Guarda, the place attached to the hill-fort, we headed directly to the area around Sanxenso, where we made out our base camp. We stayed overnight in a hotel that opens during the summer season and is halfway between O Grove and Sanxenso, just two minutes’ drive from the beaches: the  Hotel Alda Acquamaris Sanxenxo.  We chose it because it has just become the first hotel to accept pets among those belonging to the chain. You can read the interview we conducted with the manager in our blog. 

From there we went on several excursions, the most noteworthy of which was the morning we spent on O Espiño beach, beside the Pedras Negras marina in O Grove and where I took the first beach dip of my life. This beach is great – it has fine sand and the water is really clean, and also features some curious rocks that give it some personality. We dogs are allowed to be off the leash as long as we don’t bother anyone. From among the eight dog-friendly beaches in high season in Galicia in 2018, this is one of the best, if not thebest. You can check the rest at  Redcanina.es

In O Grove there is also a park for dogs on Mt. A Toxa. This is an enclosed area with wooden attractions where we mutts can have a fun time. We had it noted down in the activities diary, but it was so hot that day that we decided to stay in the hotel – although everyone there suggested we visit it. 

There are many terraces in O Grove  where you can eat and some restaurants that allow dogs inside. We chose  As De Guía, a restaurant serving typical dishes from the area that allows dogs at the tables by the entrance (Rúa Oscura, 23. O Grove).

And we had  coffee at As Paneiras, a super dog-friendly café in the pedestrianised centre of O Grove where, as soon as we arrived, I was given a bowl of cool water. The girl who runs the place is very friendly.

Apart from O Grove, we also visited Sanxenxo and Combarro (we took several of the photos on this page in this village, which has lots of beautiful raised granaries and crosses). As it was sunny and the air was cool, we opted to have lunch and dinner on some of the countless covered terraces you can find there.

COSTA DA MORTE AND OTHER ICONIC PLACES IN GALICIA

Technically, the Rías Baixas also include the  Coast of Death (A Costa da Morte). There we visited Finisterre (Fisterra), which the Romans thought to be the end of the world and where many pilgrims arrive to contemplate the final sunset on the Camino.  I should point out that I ended up exhausted after chasing so many seagulls over the rocks, and even a drone – something I’d never seen before. The coast is beautiful and there are lots of footpaths. You can see it in the short film I recorded in the area. 

By the way, many of you will have wondered if we were able to get across to the  Cies Islands, which regrettably is not possible nowadays because the boats connecting the coast with the archipelagodon’t accept four-legged friendsThe alternative is to go on a boat trip around the estuaries (rías) and visit the mussel beds. There are companies in O Grove that allow dogs on board, and the trip tends to last an hour and a half and includes copious amounts of mussel tasting for humans.