The seafaring town of Cambados – sanctuary of seafood and Albariño wine – offers a tour of its wineries, its museums dedicated to wine and its historical pazos.

Cambados offers a unique wine tourism experience. Albariño wine – which captivates the palate of expert sommeliers – is joined to its rich variety of fish and seafood. In its streets, the monumental nature of its pazos and its stately manor houses of Galician aristocracy and nobility intensifies the delightful nature of this seafaring village.

More information...
- Cambados state-owned hotel. Teléfono: 986 542 250
- Museo Etnográfico e do Viño. Teléfono: 986 526 119
- Pazo de Fefiñáns winery. www.fefinanes.com

Day 1

Cambados, a seafaring village of monuments

We’ll arrive at  Cambados at dusk. If we decide to stay in a building of historical importance that is also a monument, the old Pazo de Bazán, a state-owned hotel, located right in the centre, is eminently suitable. The ancestors of the writer Emilia Pardo Bazán had it built in the seventeenth century. At one time, General De Gaulle stayed within its walls.

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The wine festival

The state-owned hotel is accessible via Rúa Príncipe, crossing the Paseo da Calzada, a lovely tree-lined avenue of poplars and black poplars that becomes a scintillating throng thanks to the Festa do Viño Albariño, an official Tourist Event. During that week, there’s an invasion of dozens of stands set up by the area’s best wineries, which offer their Albariño wines at affordable prices.

The sea and its delicacies

We cross the tree-lined avenue and reach the Boardwalk. Following a line of palms and green spaces, we can skirt a section of the coast or enter the marina. In both cases, we’ll have the islands of A Toxa and Arousa and the peninsula of O Grove right in front of us. In the sea, hundreds of shellfish rafts – floating platforms for cultivating mussels, oysters and scallops.

We have before us one of the planet’s largest deposits of phytoplankton. With good reason, it is said of the estuaries – and in particular the one in Cambados – that they are the sanctuary of shellfish, in addition to that of the Albariño wine. All the hotels, restaurants and tapas bars in the village offer a selection of excellent quality products on their menus. We’ll see how true this is when we sit down to dinner.

 

Day 2

Touring wineries and pazos

Today, we’ll explore in detail the winemaking wealth of Cambados through its wineries and themed museums.

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We enter the aristocratic district of Fefiñáns, continuing until we reach the square of the same name. It is the most imposing square in Cambados and one of most beautiful in Galicia. It will take us just a few minutes from Rúa Real, after we cross Asorey square. We’ll find the artistic complex built round it in the sixteenth century and declared a Heritage Element of Cultural Interest to be fascinating. It comprises the church of San Benito, a watchtower-viewpoint known as the “Keep”, a beautiful baroque-style arch bridge and the impressive Pazo de Fefiñáns, whose circular balconies at both ends of the building are quite eye-catching.

The Fefiñáns winery

Since 1904, Fefiñáns has housed the oldest winery in the locality. Touring it will take about an hour, or maybe a bit more if we extend it with guided tastings of the three types of Albariño wine that it produces along with its pomace brandies. Its typical vine arbours – located a metre and a half from the ground to avoid the damp – will pique our curiosity. We’ll be seeing them throughout a hectare of land from the interior of the pazo. It has a magnificent forest of native species and centuries-old boxwoods, which are tended to with great tenderness.

The tour through its fermentation, ageing and bottling rooms will help us understand the production process. Modern technologies coexist in harmony with the ageing of these wines in oak barrels kept in wine cellars dominated by stone and wood.

"A ti, mi Cambados
pobre e hidalgo y soñador,
que al cantarín son de los pinares
y al amparo de tus pazos legendarios,
duermes acostado al sol, a la orilla del mar"
.
"You, my Cambados,
poor, noble and filled with dreams,
that, to the singsong of the pine trees
and under the protection of your legendary pazos,
sleeps lying in the sun, on the shore of the sea."
.
 Ramón Cabanillas

The exquisiteness of the Pazo de Fefiñáns

A tour of the interior of the pazo is also a possibility. As we wander its rooms, corridors and halls, we appreciate the refined tastes of the Galician nobility living in villages and cities. Their work mediating among farmers, clergy and nobility on collecting fees was the origin of their wealth, evidence of which is the beautiful wallpaper decorating one of its main rooms, inspired by scenes from the Orient and brought back by José Benito Pardo de Figueroa, first Marquess of Figueroa, during his time as ambassador in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The inner ward is dominated by the coats of arms of the viscountship of Fefiñans and of the marquisate of Figueroa.

Land of fish and seafood

After delighting our palates with the “golden prince of wines”, as Álvaro Cunqueiro defined Albariño wine, it will be time for lunch. Any of the many restaurants and tapas spots in the village will be a fine choice. Fish and seafood prepared in a thousand and one ways – even with Albariño wine as their base – are king on their menus. And let us not forget the typical raw oysters with lemon from the estuary.

"Albariño, gold from the earth,
sun that ignites love,
lights up paths
and makes pain be forgotten.
Sweet, clear Albariño
my bewitching friend
I will drink you singing
I will sing to you drinking."
.
"Albariño, ouro da terra
sol que encendes os amores
alumeas corredoiras
e fas esquecer dores.
Albariño doce e craro
meu amigo feiticeiro
heiche de beber cantando
heiche de cantar bebendo"
.
 Ramón Cabanillas

Wine culture through wineries and museums

Afternoon offers us new possibilities of wine tourism discoveries with tastings in wineries, inside or outside Cambados. On the road to Tremoedo, in the neighbouring municipality of Vilanova de Arousa, we find examples of regal wineries crowning extensions of vineyards, both great and small. It’s a not-overly-long trip over local roads (PO-9005 and Deiro Road), perfect for delighting one’s sight with the smoothly wavy lines of the arbour-filled landscape.

If we remain in Cambados, the Museo Etnográfico e do Viño (Ethnographic and Wine Museum) is ideal for investigating the wine of O Salnés and, in general, of the Rías Baixas. It was one of the first wine-centred museums in Spain and today is one of those with the best documentation. It is housed in an old sixteenth-century rectory’s house called “Casa Ricoy”.

Ruins steeped in history

The tour of the museum is doubly attractive because of its proximity to the ruins of the Church of Santa Marina Dozo, a national monument with a cemetery on its grounds. These remains may cause us to feel overcome with emotion as they are the “most melancholy burial grounds”, according to Cunqueiro. The church is an example of “maritime” Gothic. Several hypotheses explain its partial destruction in the nineteenth century. One blames a fire, either accidental or deliberately set. The other mentions the large amount of unrest that took place at the time. Today, we see its arches – richly decorated with balls – reaching unprotected to the sky. If we happen to be present when the sun moves lower across the Atlantic from the Monte da Pastora, we’ll witness a beautiful spectacle of light playing between the arches.

When the days are long, we can extend our walk another ten minutes as we climb up towards the Monte da Pastora.We’ll have a panoramic view of the estuary of Arousa. On very clear days, the town of Santa Uxía de Ribeira can just be seen. With this image, we’ll return to our hotel to dine and relax.

 

Day 3

A stroll through the ruins of the San Sadurniño Tower

In the morning, if we rise early and the weather is fine, we can take a walk to discover the ruins of the San Sadurniño Tower, built in the early Middle Ages. The ruins are located on an islet called “da Figueira” and are accessible by a lovely arch bridge when the tide is not very high. In order to reach the ruins, we’ll cross the streets in the San Tomé District, which has the most seafaring atmosphere in Cambados.

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Arriba