The final stop on the Camino de Santiago, Galicia’s wild coastline, jagged cliffs and rolling vineyards radiate a mystical energy that is sure to make any traveler return time and time again. As Spain’s most northwesterly region, Galicia’s beach hotels are far less frequented than that of Barcelona or the Costa del Sol; yet offer all the amenities and requirements one might need to enjoy the perfect getaway. Once considered the end of the known world, Galicia is the perfect vacation destination.
Beach Hotels in Galicia: Our top picks for 5-star destinations in Galicia, Spain
Vigo: Beaches, History and Islands
Beach hotels in northern Spain will not disappoint, but beach hotels in Vigo provide the best mix of exploration and relaxation. Once a tiny village that regularly saw Viking invaders land upon its shores is today a thriving industrial port and gateway to northwest Spain. With both a trendy beach atmosphere and historic center (Casco Vello), there’s plenty to keep you busy. Vigo is also the best place to try some of the freshest oysters in Spain, caught straight from the Vigo Estuary and served raw with lemon. The Castro Fortress should be your first stop when exploring the town, as it’s the best introduction to Vigo’s past. Built in the 17th century, the Castro Fortress offers a commanding view over the harbor, town, historic center and mountains beyond. Those with a beach hotel in Galicia should not miss the pristine beaches and protected wildernesses of the Cíes Islands. Regular ferries leave from Vigo’s harbor, so you can spend a day or two exploring this beautiful uninhabited archipelago. To the west, steep cliffs tumble into the churning Atlantic creating magical photographic moments, while the protected east is home to tropical-like bays with golden sand and gently lapping waves. Further beaches to unwind upon can be found along the city’s waterfront, as Vigo has miles of walkways meandering along the shore. Some of the most popular spots for a beach hotel can be found further along the coast near Baiona; a medieval resort town with superb beaches such as Playa América and Praia de Patos.
Pontevedra: Vineyards by the Atlantic
Galicia is home to more than one exciting port city, and Pontevedra is another that’s well worth exploring. Beach hotels near Pontevedra are protected from the might of the Atlantic by Ria de Pontevedra on which the city sits, meaning families on a beach vacation with little ones can enjoy the ocean alongside everyone one else. The city itself is both charming and modern, with the historic center being car-free and perfect for lazy days exploring the churches and markets. Pontevedra is also a great location for a beach hotel if you are looking to access the Rías Baixas; four coastal inlets which run into spectacular beaches and feature a landscape peppered with medieval fortresses and historic ports. Further inland from Galicia’s beach hotels are the famous vineyards of the Rías Baixas, producing Galician wine infused with the 2,000 years of knowledge. The most popular grape grown in the region is Albariño which produces a crisp white perfect for warm days spent on the balcony of your beach hotel.
Santiago de Compostela: The End of the Camino
Historic and holistic, Santiago de Compostela is a must visit on your way to your beach hotel in Galicia. Its 11th century cathedral is the final destination on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) trail that begins in various spots all across Europe – depending on which route you want to take. The remains of Saint James the Great are buried in the cathedral, making it an important place of pilgrimage for Christians across Europe. The cathedral itself was completed in 1211 and is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you don’t feel like hiking the 500 miles to Santiago de Compostela, then fear not, as there is still plenty to see and do in the vibrant Galician capital without venturing on foot through Northern Spain. The city is packed with museums covering everything from Galician ethnography at the Museo del Pueblo Gallego to the USC: Museo de Historia Natural – perfect for families with kids. After exploring the historic and cultural Santiago de Compostela, head to the coast to unwind in a luxury beach hotel along Galicia’s Atlantic shores.
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