In Baiona, we’ll call to mind the discovery of America. In Oia’s thalassotherapy spa, we’ll take full advantage of the Atlantic. Aboard a sailboat, we’ll ply the waters of the Ría de Vigo to discover the San Simón archipiélago, with its history full of glorious – and dark – episodes.

We can enjoy the benefits of its waters as they are applied to thalassotherapy. We can also get caught up by the spectacular scenery, flora and fauna of Vigo’s bay and the San Simón cove, a Special Protection Area for Natural Assets and Site of Community Importance in the Red Natura 2000.

The municipality of Oia shows us the Atlantic’s most relaxing and exciting side. We can enjoy the benefits of its waters as they are applied to thalassotherapy. We can also get caught up by the spectacular scenery, flora and fauna of bahía de Vigo and the San Simón cove, a Special Protection Area for Natural Assets and Site of Community Importance in the Red Natura 2000. Meanwhile, we’ll dive into exciting stories of pirates, sea battles and sunken sea treasures.

More information...
- Talaso Atlántico. www.talasoatlantico.com
- Fundación Illa de San Simón. www.fundacionilladesansimon.org
- Convent of Santa María de Oia. www.monasteriodeoia.com

Day 1

History in Baiona and seawater in Oia

Our proposal for you to enjoy the benefits of thalassotherapy will take us to the facilities at the Talaso Atlántico, seawater spa, located in As Mariñas, in the municipality of Oia.

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We’ll recall the discovery of America
We suggest that you arrive in the area – separated from the town of Baiona by barely fifteen minutes’ travel by car via the PO-552 – early in the afternoon, which is why we propose that you previously make a stop in this attractive town.

The first thing that catches your eye is the Seaside Promenade, which is very carefully tended and extends six kilometres. You can start your stroll at A Ramallosa, facing Ladeira beach, and continue on to the fishing port and marina.

If you’ve got something more relaxing in mind, drive towards the town centre and begin at the marina, itself on Avenida Monterreal. You’ll enjoy the view over its busy bay teeming with fishing boats and modern pleasure craft. At the end, you’ll be able to see the the fortress now a  – state-owned hotel, capping the peninsula of Monterreal.

Among the ships moored at the end of a long pier, there is an older one that will catch your eye, reminding you of the caravels that accompanied Columbus on his discovery of America. This is an exact replica of the caravel La Pinta, which is closely tied to Baiona’s history. The original reached this port in 1493 with the first news of the existence of the New World.

In 1493, the caravel "La Pinta"
reached the Port of Baiona
with the first news of
the existence of America

In commemoration of this historic milestone, every year on the first weekend in March, Baiona celebrates the Festa da Arribada, (Reaching Home Port Festival) which has been declared an official Tourist Event.
The ship’s interior can be toured and is a fun way to relive the exploits of the discovery. Inside, it houses a small museum on Columbus with figures representing the crew and Native Americans. It has reproductions of metals, plants, food and exotic animals that it brought from the New World on its first trip back to Europe.

A stroll through Baiona’s Old Town
After the tour, you’ll have the feeling that you’re continuing your trip back in time if you enter the narrow streets with arcades and cobblestones of the Old Town, which can be accessed from the seaport. You’ll will surely enjoy a short walk as at every step you’ll find a church, a fountain or the house of a member of the nobility. In Baiona, as in any of the towns and cities of Galicia, tapas are on offer everywhere if you’re in the mood to enjoy this custom.

Treatments with sea-based products in Oia’s thalassotherapy spa
After the tapas, it will be time to head over to the village of Oia to enjoy the benefits of the water and other sea-based items. You’ll find a wide range of accommodation locally, including the four-star hotel that houses thalassotherapy spa facilities.

Once you’ve dropped your luggage in the accommodation of your choice, it will be time to try the seawater pool heated to body temperature or any of the treatments based on algae, silts, mud or salts with rehydrating and remineralising properties.

Barnacles, sea urchins, winkles or sausage for dinner
Following the treatment, it’s nice to rest a bit before dinner, for which there are many alternatives. Restaurants, bars and seafood restaurants are located on both sides of the coastal road and in the villages it passes through. We keep in mind that barnacles, sea urchins, the caramuxo (winkle) and sausages have their own food festivals in this village.

Day 2

The dark and glorious history of the archipelago of San Simón

During the second day of your stay, we suggest that you take advantage of the proximity to Vigo’s estuary to get to know its landscape, environmental treasures, history and legends found in its seabeds as well as emerging from its surface, such as the small archipelago of San Simón.

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The crew will let us handle the rudder and sails
The various local charter sailing companies offer boat tours. Touring this way can help us to add even more excitement to the experience, for example by plying the waters in a sailboat. The embarkation point will be on the Bouzas pier, in Vigo,where we can head after breakfast. Remember to take warm clothes, sunscreen and avoid shoes with black soles.

Before setting sail, the crew will give us all the instructions and safety-related material necessary. In addition – if this is our maiden voyage – they’ll let us try out handling the sails and rudder. This will be the right time to remember what Captain Nemo said to Professor Aronnax: “We are in that Vigo Bay, and it rests with yourself whether you will penetrate its mysteries”, because in this estuary, Jules Verne also found inspiration for his 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea..

Jules Verne found inspiration
in Vigo’s estuary for writing
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

We make a stop in front of a shellfish raft for oysters or mussels
Once on board, we head for the San Simón cove, which is the end point of the interior of ría de Vigo. Polygons of shellfish rafts for cultivating bivalves such as oysters and mussels flank both ends of the estuary, appearing huddled together. A little further on, the route includes a stop at one of them in order to get to know first-hand the process of breeding on these floating platforms.

The seabed at the bottom of the bay
of San Simón could hold the treasures
Spanish galleons brought back
from America

Our journey continues and we see how the banks of the estuary narrow until they meet at the cable-stayed Rande Bridge,which was the longest of its kind in the world when it opened. Once across, we’ll enter the bay of San Simón. It is said that on its seabed lie the treasures brought back fromAmerica by Spanish galleons there were moored here, which were ordered to be sunk by the Franco-Spanish fleet when it was defeated by the Anglo-Dutch coalition in the memorable battle of Rande, fought on 23 October 1702.

Colonies of ducks, herons, gulls and cormorants
The cove’s appearance will remind us of a large lagoon. Here, the salt water of the Atlantic and the fresh water of the Rivers Verdugo and Maceira meet. This phenomenon gives rise to a unique ecosystem known as the Special Protection Area for Natural Assets and Site of Community Importance in the Red Natura 2000:extending before our eyes, we see a marsh- and estuary-filled landscape. If you are birdwatchers, the colonies of ducks and wading birds (herons, gulls and cormorants) will provide a magnificent spectacle.

In San Simón, we are received by a sculpture of Captain Nemo
As we approach the islands of San Simón and San Antón – joined by a lovely three-arched bridge – in the middle of the water, we’ll see the sculpture of Captain Nemo, master of the submarine Nautilus. At low tide, two divers appear at its feet, only to be once again engulfed in the water when the high tide returns.
After docking at the Captain’s pier, we’ll enter San Simón. From this moment forward, we’ll be immersing ourselves in the history of the archipelago, which has been revived after years of neglect. It has become a think tank, a laboratory of ideas that serves as a platform for different groups for expression and the free flow of thought. An environmental restoration project included the rehabilitation of its old buildings; this initiative is an homage to the dark and glorious history of the islands’ past.

The archipelago of San Simón was
a lepers’ hospital,
Franco-era concentration camp
and then prison

Standing in the hermitage of San Simón, with the waves beseiging me; how big they are! And I, waiting for my friend, waiting for my friend!”.
Mendinho, trovador gallego-portugués

For ten centuries, the islands served as a settlement for monks Templars, a place of inspiration in mediaeval Galician- Portuguese lyric literature, the object of looting by Vikings and pirates and witnesses of naval battles. And later, a lazar house, concentration camp and Franco-era prison, orphanage and holiday retreat for Franco’s guard. We can discover the details of this story at the Interpretation and Documentation Centre, which occupies the building known as the “little hospital” on San Antón Island.

We have lunch and walk around the island of San Simón
After our visit, we can cross the bridge to the other island in San Simón to eat in the restaurant and café and afterwards go for a stroll. The beauty of its landscape leaves no visitor indifferent. Its lush vegetation has many non-native species, including some that are exotic. The Paseo dos Buxos – a vault of box nearly two hundred years old – is quite interesting. Although the small size of the archipelago allows it to be crossed in a half-hour, we recommend a leisurely walk, discovering the abundance of natural and artistic details, which are at times obvious and at other times more hidden.

By mid-afternoon, once we’ve docked in Vigo, heading back to the thalassotherapy spa for some thermal treatments before dinner may be a very inviting idea.

Day 3

From the sea to the mountain

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After breakfast, there will still be time for a dip in the thalassotherapy spa’s seawater swimming pool. We can also have a massage or one final relaxing, aesthetic or health treatment.

Among wild horses
When you’ve finished, head towards the south of the municipality of Oia along the coastal road so that after a seafilled weekend, you can explore the mountains. Along this trip, we encourage you to take one of the roads that head towards the Serra da Groba. from Viladesuso or Mougás. Its forest trails lend themselves to discovering the world of summer pastures and wild horses.

We’re in the land of Galicia’s most traditional curros one of the well-attended and most popular spectacles in the area, which consists of corralling the horses from these mountains and subsequently trimming their manes and branding them. This event takes place in May and June.

Here, the Galicia’s most
traditional roundups are held,
a battle between man and horse
whose purpose is to cut their manes and brand the animals

A convent on the waterfront
We also recommend that you continue a bit further south to the municipality of Oia, the location of the Convent of Santa María la Real de Oia. In addition to the magnificent construction of this austere Cistercian convent, which was founded in the twelfth century with the help of King Alfonso VII, its oceanfront location will also amaze you.

Arriba