This route along the jagged northern coastline of the provinces of A Coruña and Lugo leads us through magical sanctuaries that stand where the land meets the sea

Small in size but large in the devotion they are offered, in each of them we will honour the tradition and follow the rituals so that the three wishes that we will be making during our journey along this spectacular route may come true.

“Those who do not visit
San Andrés in their lifetime,
Will go there after death
three times”

“The saint who gave you illness
Shall give you health
Through the power of God
And of (dear) Saint Andrew, Amen”

Dates of the religious pilgrimages:
- Santo André de Teixido: The main religious pilgrimage takes place on 8th September, although throughout the year other popular pilgrimages are also held (Pentecost Friday, Saturday and Sunday, or 24th June).
- Virxe de Chamorro: Easter Monday.
- San Xiao de Trebo: 7th January.

Day 1

Our itinerary begins in the city of  Ferrol: a walk through the famous Magdalena Quarter will draw us close to the history of this industrial and marine city. During the route, do not forget to look over the balconies of the Herrera gardens, from where you will enjoy an extraordinary view of the Arsenal (dockyards), an amazing military ensemble dating from the 17th century and one of the major engineering works from the period of the Enlightenment. Take the opportunity to enjoy a snack at one of the taverns with sidewalk tables at the port and review the day's itinerary, which will lead you to the most magical places in this corner of northern Galicia.

Our itinerary's first stop takes us up to a high craggy summit where the chapel of Chamorro is located. The popular name of this sanctuary is said to come from the veneration that seamen had towards the Virgin. When they were about to shipwreck they shouted: “Xa morro!” (“I die!” in Galician), while hoping to be saved by their patron saint. Enveloped in this faith and by marine adoration, enter the sanctuary to leave your own burning candle; close your eyes for a moment and make your first wish of this magical route.

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We now set off towards the beaches of Covas, towards a small island that is located very close to the coast where the chapel of Santa Comba awaits us. At low tide you can go down to discover the cove that used to access the island. North-facing, it is windy and wild; ideal for strolling at any time of the year. This is a place where, since the 12th century, religious pilgrims pay tribute to the saint and offer their devotion on the last Sunday of July.

The original road to Santo André is marked with the symbol of a fish (symbolising the sardine that the saint ate during his journey) and at the town council of Narón it connects with the other more well known and popular crosscut that begins at the monastery of San Martiño de Xubia, in O Couto, a jewel of the region's Romanesque architecture. Pilgrims travel almost 50 kilometres to the sanctuary of Santo André de Teixido. It is not difficult to imagine how the sound of the wind and the picturesque scenery accompany them along their entire journey but, if you are in good shape, instead of imagining it, go ahead and experience it first hand

Day 2

Driving out towards Cedeira, keeping the sea always at our side, we pass through Valdoviño, Pantín and Vilarrube. Whatever the season or weather, save a moment to leave your footprints in the soft sand of these wild beaches: you will feel cut off from the world and fully in tune with the fierce sea of these coasts. Nearby you will also find typical taverns that serve barnacles and razor clams that are at their best if they are accompanied by one of the excellent wines with Galician Denomination of Origin.

Still with the rhythmic beating of the waves in your ears, we continue towards Cedeira to climb the Capelada mountain range to Teixido, to visit the church of Santo André (Saint Andrew), located at the edge of one of Europe's highest cliffs. The best option to reach this place, that combines genuine feelings of emotion and vertigo, is to follow the path that leads from the beautiful stone cross of Cristo dos Carrís. To begin one of the rituals linked to this pilgrimage, you must carry a stone and deposit it on one of the “milladoiros (small mounds of stones) that you will come across near the stone cross and along the way. By doing so, on the Day of the Last Judgement, God will know that you were here, just as he promised the Saint: “Queda aquí, san Andrés, / que de vivos ou de mortos / todos te virán ver” (“Stay here, Saint Andrew, / for either living or dead / all will come to visit you”). This is why it is said that those who come here after death do so as reptiles.

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Reaching the hamlet, while you descend the steep slope in search of the church, on both sides of the road you will find the traditional stalls selling roscas (cookie rings), images, medals and other symbols among which the “sanandreses” and the sprigs of “herba de namorar” (lover's grass) stand out. The “sanandreses” are the most typical souvenir that you can take with you from Teixido. They are figures made from baked bread dough, painted in lively colours that represent different motifs related to the saint, such as his boat, or the sardine that he ate during his journey, and that, according to the sellers, protect the place where they are kept. With regards to the “herba de namorar”, also known as sea thrift, it is considered to have magic powers in matters related to love. It is common for young or single pilgrims to collect it where the nitre salt gathers, to solve their amorous problems, or to get help in finding a partner.

As you walk down, among the small houses, you will slowly begin to distinguish the slate roof, the bell tower and the whitewashed walls of this 18th century sanctuary.  According to the legend, this is the place where the Apostle's boat capsized and turned to stone, which is the same thing that happened to Our Lady of the Boat (Virxe da Barca), in Muxía. If you look closely, on the edge of the nearby cliffs you will see the saint's petrified vessel. Inside the church, the Baroque altarpiece and the images of the patron saint are always surrounded by flowers and miniatures of boats that seek protection for their crew. The aura of respect that fills this place of worship is illuminated by dozens of candles that shine before the votive offerings. These wax figures shaped as parts of the body are placed here in a token of gratitude by those who received a favour from the saint. While you gaze at this scene, it is time to follow the rituals to make your second wish. Light a candle and then go to the nearby Fonte do Santo (Fountain of the Saint) or Fonte dos Tres Canos (Fountain of the Three Spouts): make a wish and throw a bit of bread crumb in the basin. If it floats it means your wish will come true and that next year you will be alive in order to return to visit the saint again.

Dusk indicates it is time to end our second day: we do so with a feast for the eyes and the senses. In Vixía Herbeira, the observation point located at one of Europe's highest cliffs, we distinguish the amazing size of the cliffs, that are over 600 metres high.  We continue our journey and reach cape Ortegal, where you will be astonished by the force of the “Aguillóns” (stings), spiky rocks that stick out from the sea where the waves beat with all their strength. If you happen to be there when there is a storm, you will have the chance to see sea's roughness in all its magnificence, which is, no doubt, a unique and unforgettable experience.

Following the spectacle of colours in the sky along this stretch of the coast that is the most jagged of Spain's coastline, we conclude the day at the small fishing village of Cariño. On the way there we see the chapel of San Xiao de Trebo and, at the port you can enjoy a delicious gastronomic experience by tasting a caldeirada de raia (skate fish stew) or a revolto de ourizos e algas (sea urchins and algae sauteéd with eggs), typical dishes that speak of this land. 

Day 3

On our last day we travel towards Viveiro. On the way there we reach Ortigueira, where the old quarter and the port invite us to take a pleasant stroll. Farther ahead, at O Barqueiro, a charming fishing town, it is worth turning off to visit Estaca de Bares. You are in a unique place: the northernmost point of the Iberian Peninsula, where the majestic waters of the Atlantic Ocean meet those of the Cantabrian Sea; an absolute spectacle of nature.

Ya en la villa de Viveiro, tras recorrer su hermoso y monumental centro histórico, nos dirigiremos al convento das Concepcionistas para encontrar la gruta de Lourdes. Este lugar de culto es una réplica del santuario de la Virgen francesa excavado en la roca. La imagen está colocada en una urna sobre cientos de velas y de figuras de cera, que parecen escalar por los huecos en la búsqueda de la mejor posición para pedirle los favores a la santa. Sumaros a la devoción y encended también una vela para pedir vuestro tercero y último deseo de este camino.
In Viveiro, after discovering its beautiful and monumental old quarter, we visit the convent of the Conceptionists to discover the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. This place of worship is a replica of the sanctuary of the French Virgin and is carved out of the rock. The image stands on an urn surrounded by hundreds of candles and wax figures that seem to be trying to climb the hollows in search of a better position to ask favours of the saint. Take part in the devotion and light a candle to make your third and final wish of this journey come true.

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We suggest that you end this itinerary again in contact with nature, by taking a calm stroll through the Souto da Retorta, surrounded by eucalyptus trees that are over 80 metres tall and that seem to tickle the sky with their branches: it is like a forest of giants. Now, all you need to do is cross your fingers so that your wishes may soon come true…

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