Galicia, Spain is an autonomous region in the northwest of the Iberian Peninsula. It is home to breathtaking landscapes, marvelous beaches, and delectable delicacies. Galicia also has a very interesting history full of myths, legends, potions, and witches. This is rooted in the culture of religion and mystical elements.
Are there witches in Galicia? Meigas, rites, and traditions
The stories of witches and spells date back for centuries. Meigas or witches in the Galician language are older women who possess extraordinary or magical powers. They were trained in the occult art. People would go to them to receive spells or even for healing purposes since they were highly respected healers. However, it is said that the term meigas is used for people who did evil things to others. They were said to have made a pact with the devil. Making them a little untrustworthy, mysterious, and suspicious.
Galician people were and are very superstitious so they may not deny the fact that their lands once held meigas but they will also not confirm it. This way they are not defying luck and staying on the safe side.
Food from the orchards and delicious seafood from the estuaries
If you ask anyone what they like most about Galician food, they will 100% reply that they love the seafood. It is easy to see why. Galicia is home to many estuaries that dot along the coastline. It is so easy to enjoy fresh seafood. In fact, the seafood here does not taste like the seafood you are used to eating anywhere else. This is because the conditions are perfect in Galicia, and the coast offers plenty of cold waters too. Nowadays you can find a wide variety of flavors that are native to the land.
Galician tapas are out of this world because they all consist of seafood pleasures. Some examples can be seen with grilled squid, spaider crab, clambs, mussels, sardines, calamari, shrimp, oysters, lobster and scallops. As a curiosity, the scallop´s shell is the iconic symbol of the Camino de Santiago for pilgrims.
But the most famous delicacy would be the Galician octopus. This dish is world-renowned. The “pulperías”, or octopus shop, or restaurant that specializes in octopus, prepare the octopus by cooking it and slicing it. Then they season it with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and sweet paprika. That’s it! This dish does not need any fancy preparations or seasonings because it’s so flavorful on its own.
But if you’re not into seafood, don’t worry! There are plenty of options of delicious Galician cheeses (San Simon, Tetilla, O Cebreiro), Padron Peppers– typical to Galicia, and beef (known as ternera gallega) that is tender and full of flavor. We also love enjoying a Galician pie or better known as empanada gallega. This is like a regular empanada made from wheat flour, though there’s a simply delicious variety made from corn flour and scallops. The only exception is that the filling is different. Unlike other empanadas, the traditional Galician empanada does not have tomato sauce. Instead, the contents included a stir-fry of onions and peppers. The versatility makes it perfect for eating at restaurants or on the go.
Tarta de Santiago is a delicious dessert that is somewhat unknown to tourists (this does not mean it’s not delicious). This delectable cake just requires three simple ingredients: almonds, sugar, and eggs (all equal parts).
And what about the Camino de Santiago routes?
If you’re game for an adventure then you can’t miss completing the Camino de Santiago. There are various routes depending on how ambitious you feel. They range from hard to “easy”. We say “easy” because any route you choose will have its challenges and difficulties since you are basically hiking across several towns and environmental conditions. The French Way is the most internationally recognized with the greatest historical tradition.
This route was recognized as early as 1135 in the Jacobean Book. It describes the sanctuaries, the hospitality, the people, the food, and the local customs. It also takes you through breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. The last stop on this route is the Cathedral of Santiago. This is an astonishing cathedral that is open to everyone. It is especially a rewarding and welcoming sight after pilgrimaging for so long.
Another route to see the charming and astonishing views of Galicia is the Way of Fisterra and Muxía. This route starts at Santiago de Compostela and leads the brave pilgrims to the Fisterra Lighthouse. This route goes along the Costa da Morte which is where the pre-Roman people believed that souls ascended to heaven. It is a big cliff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It was also once said to be the last point before the world ended.
The Atlantic route or Portuguese route are also very famous because they cross the River Baixas. As you can see there are many routes to choose from.
We will leave a link for the official website of the Xunta de Galicia about the Camino de Santiago. Here you can find more routes, advice on how to prepare for the journey, and testimonies from people who have completed the pilgrimage.
Fabulous landscapes and paradise beaches in Galicia
O Fuciño do Porco
Galicia has an amazing landscape of beaches and mountains. Some are becoming more famous for their stunning views. This could not be truer for O Fuciño do Porco. It is a cliff with spectacular views of the water and the coast of Lugo. Recently, it has become easily accessible by a wooden ramp. Allowing everyone to soak in the views.
If you want to take a trip to the Caribbean look no further than Islote Areoso. It has crystal clear waters and a reef. This islet is a hidden gem that could even fool your friends and family into thinking you’ve escaped to one of the many islands in the Caribbean.
Vía Verde del Eo
If beaches and beautiful coastlines aren’t your thing then you must visit Vía Verde del Eo. It is a cave that was used for mining. It’s located in A Pontenova. Thanks to its preservation and reconversion into a greenway people can explore these hidden tunnels.
Although the water might be chilly, the beaches sure are stunning. There are more than 900 beaches! This makes it very difficult to select just a couple. These will range from a ranking based on their environment, wilderness, and tranquility. First and foremost, we strongly recommend visiting Galicia with a car. This enables you to visit the most secluded beaches and not have to worry about a bus schedule. Now, let’s get into the beaches!
Playa de Rodas in Islas Cíes
Playa de Rodas in Islas Cíes in Pontevedra is known as the best beach in the world. It’s located in the National Park of the Atlantic Islands along with three other islands: San Martiño, O Faro, and Monte Agudo. It is accessible by boat from Vigo. You can also go through beautiful fishing villages from the Morrazo peninsula such as Cangas and Bueu. We hope you like cold swims because this water is notoriously known for being cold.
Since these are islands, only a certain amount of people can go per day. We will leave you the website where you can request authorization to visit the islands and buy the tickets. This website is also very informative about the islands and where to eat.
Playa de A Frouxeira
If you are an avid surfer then you need to check out the Playa de A Frouxeira. It’s known as one of the best beaches in Galicia to surf due to the strong waves and wide-open sea. It’s also close to a town making it an easily accessible beach.
Playa de Ortigueira
Where the land meets the sea, Playa de Ortigueira is appealing to everyone. This is a very extensive beach that also has stunning views of the surrounding natural environment. It is close to the city La Coruña which could make for a great day trip.
No life is complete without visiting Galicia
Obviously it is impossible to fit the beauty of Galicia in one article. Between the stunning beaches, the natural landscapes, the cities, and the food; we highly recommend visiting this beautiful place to really see for yourself all that Galicia has to offer. We really enjoy our time there. Especially the stunning beaches. It truly is a beautiful and magical place.
So far our favorite city to visit is La Coruña. It’s located right next to the water. It has a lot to offer but our favorite sight is the Tower of Hercules. It’s the only Roman lighthouse in the world and the oldest in operation. The best is to climb the 234 steps (we know it sounds daunting!) but the views are worth it! From here you can see a panoramic view of the city as well as the estuaries and islands. What a perfect way to soak up the beautiful landscapes of Galicia!
If you love travelling in Spain, we are sure that your will enjoy this post about Valencia.