El patrimonio oculto de las tierras que bordean la ría de Muros e Noia va a proporcionarnos un gran hato de sorpresas: castro rodeados por el mar, losas que hablan, cruceros, molinos y mucha de nuestra historia grabada en piedra.

The hidden heritage of the lands bordering the Muros and Noia estuary is going to be filled with many surprises: fortified pre-Roman Iron Age villages surrounded by the sea, talking stone slabs, crosses, mills and much of our history, engraved in stone.

"All I am saying is that there is no monastery in Galicia – no matter how big and thick it may be – whose wealth is greater or more qualified than that of San Xusto".
Antonio Yepes, Crónica General de la Orden de San Benedictino

Other information of interest...
- Centro de Interpretación del Castro de Baroña: : Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm. More information at  www.portodoson.org..
- Molino de Mareas de Pozo del Cachón: 981 826 050

Day 1

We'll kick off our adventure in the lands of Porto do Son, in the fortified pre-Roman Iron Age of Baroña hilltop settlement of Baroña. Access to the fort is on foot over a dirt road guarded by a large pine forest and a beautiful beach.

Without a doubt, this is a perfect snapshot of these fortified pre-Roman Iron Age villages! When you reach the centre of the village, visit the Centro de Interpretación del Castro de Baroña (Baroña Hilltop Fort Interpretation Centre) where you can discover and soak up more about the life and culture of these hillside forts through the panels, original pieces, reproductions and guided tours. The centre is located in the building that housed the old Town Council. Since you're already in Porto do Son, it's worth it to take a little walk round the harbour and enjoy a delicious snack at one of its sidewalk cafes.

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Continuing along the coastline we reach the "Little Compostela", as the town of Noia is known, where we can listen to gravestones speaking. For this revelation, one must visit the church of Santa María a Nova, built over a Quintana de Mortos ("Village of the Dead"). This cemetery, which preserves a large collection of tombstones, was made with soil brought from the Holy Land in galleons from Noia, according to one of the many local legends. Once inside this Gothic church, stroll about and enjoying the play of light provided by its impressive rose window. Sit down and take a leisurely look at the Plateresque chapel and Baroque-style altar. But what you'll most certainly notice about this church converted into a museum are the enormous guild-related tombstones flanking its walls. Among the more than two hundred tombstones, you can see the pick and hammer of a mason, the scissors of a tailor, the knife of a butcher, along with the characteristic anchor of the sailors or the anthropoid figures of noblemen. The oldest are those that represent mediaeval crafts.

You can't leave Noia without paying a visit to its Old Town, with its charming squares and arcades worthy of any mediaeval village. Indeed, every year in the month of July, this area is adorned with period banners as it celebrates its famous Mediaeval Fair.

We leave these stone monuments and direct our steps to the town of Lousame, where we will discover the Berrimes Cross of the Descent of Christ, the work of Santeiro de Chave. In fact, the entire town is rich in these architectural elements that dot hills, crossroads, fountains, courtyards and even bridges.

Also in Lousame, we'll visit the monastery of San Xusto de Toxosoutos, which we can reach by hiking a trail along the River San Xusto. A nice walk in green-filled surroundings outline, filled with waterfalls, mediaeval bridges and the ruins of old factories. When you've reached the monastery, wander among the remains that are still preserved, such as the mills, the truck garden or the dovecot. The peace and quiet permeating this place is broken only by the flow of water over the rocks.

In the nearby town of Rois, we'll find another little gem: the Baroque church of San Vicente de Augas Santas, which contains altarpieces dating back to 1738. To finish of this first day, we'll head to Muros. Take advantage of the fact that it's on the way, and make one last stop before the Eiroa Cross of the Descent of Christ, a work dating from 1879 carved from a single block of granite.

Day 2

Without a word, the seaside town of Muros will reveal its noble past to us by just allowing us to wander its streets, with names as peculiar as "Health", "Hope" and "Patience", among others.

We invite you to take a walk and leisurely discover these interesting names that, surely, will leave you impressed.

A good place to start off your stroll is in the quiet square of the Town Council – also called Curro da Praza (Plaza Corral) – due to large bullfights having been held here. You will notice that the streets and squares of this route are dotted with the remains of the old wall, as well as sailors' houses. These typical houses had one or two floors with balconies, and a ground floor with arcades, which are sometimes below street level. Years ago, it was common to see men repairing their fishing gear while women washed and salted fish here.

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Take a break and enjoy the local cuisine. Stop in at any of the taverns or bars in the village, where you can enjoy delicious octopus tapas or fresh fish "caldeiradas" (stews) while you look at the jetty, where the fishermen's boats are rocked by the waves under the gaze of Mount Costiña and Mount Rebordiño.

Our next visit takes us to the interpretation centre located in the Pozo do Cachón tidemill, a mechanism driven by the tidal forces that dates back to the first quarter of the nineteenth century. It is one of the largest of its type in Spain, but its value lies not in its size but rather in its role as ethnographic and cultural evidence. At the beginning of the last century, people came here to the so-called called Baños de Santa Rita (Santa Rita Baths), an establishment specialising in curing diseases using warm baths of algae and sea water.

Following the route along the coast and leaving the town centre behind us, we arrive at the parish of Louro, known for its tourist tradition, its beaches and its stunning Monte Louro. But, at the moment, we're on the prehistoric trail of the village. Our destination is the petroglyph of Laxe das Rodas. Discovered in 1956, experts in sun worship say it could be a calendar. It consists of a group of ten figures that represent two spiral and seven circular spirals and a solar horse.

Take advantage of our trip through Louro, we should make another stop, at the monastery of San Francisco do Rial, awaiting us over a beautiful valley at the foot of Mount Oroso. The road to the monastery is marked by a highly original via crucis built thanks to the donations of the faithful. This path of sacrifice is composed of fifteen stations recounting scenes from the Passion of Christ. Outside the monastery, don't miss the peculiar sundial. If it shows that it's time for a swim, go down to San Francisco beach and cool off in its crystal-clear waters. Feel first the heat of the sand on your bare feet and, right after, the coolness of the salt water while you relax and take a dip into thoughts and feelings.

And – after this moment of relaxation – if you still any strength left, and you feel like finishing off the day energetically, carry on with your hike for about another four kilometres to the Louro lighthouse to see the sunset. It's located at Queixal, at the foot of Mount Louro's 241 metres. Opened in 1862, its light illuminates the mouth of the Muros e Noia estuary. From this important position, it served as reference to many sailors, and has witnessed many shipwrecks. The best known – the wreck of the Cardinal Cisneros of the Spanish Armada in 1905. You can climb to the top and finish off your experience with an incredible view of this stretch of coast. Take a seat and recover from the steep slope by looking round you. On one side, San Francisco beach, that you have just left behind; facing you, the estuary, and on the other side, the lonely Ancoradoiro beach and the lagoon of Xarfas, sites declared to be of natural interest.

Located this high up, you'll have a better perspective for remembering your experiences in these two days during which, from south to north, you will trace the outline of the Muros e Noia estuary with your steps.

Arriba