The sea of Lira in the bay of Corcubión could be considered to be the boundary between the Rías Baixas and the Costa da Morte.

The coastline known as the Costa da Morte represents the beginning of the Rías Altas from the south. Its spectacular beauty consists of vertiginous cliffs, wild beaches with fine white sand, dunes and marshes.

Long ago, the polar and subtropical sea currents created a special habitat here that today is a Marine Reserve of Fishing Interest. It is a sanctuary for octopus husbandry and breeding. Therefore, our proposal consists of a getaway to enjoy this delicacy in all its splendour, fishing it, cooking it, tasting it while experiencing the sea just like a local.

1º Day

Lira and Carnota compete for boasting Galicia's largest stone granary

 

 

We arrive in Lira, in the municipality of Carnota, in the afternoon. We recommend choosing a country guesthouse with a home-cooked meals service, where all the products that arrive at the port are exquisitely prepared.

Before dinner we suggest a walk through this quiet village. One of its most characteristic features is its "Fisterra-style" granary, with a rectangular granite body and narrow slits chiselled all along its structure. Two granaries compete for size and monumentality: the stone granary of Carnota and the stone granary of Lira. The stone granary of Carnota is a National Monument and, officially, is Galicia's largest. It is 34.76 meters long and stands on 22 pairs of feet. In addition it constitutes a unique architectural ensemble, together with the church of Santa Comba, the rectory and dovecote.

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In less than five minutes by car we reach the town centre of Carnota, following the AC-550, until we arrive at its main square, where we can park. From here it is easy to reach the stone granary of Lira, whose neighbours claim is longer by some centimetres than the granary of Carnota. From Minortos street, along the urban stretch of the AC-550, with the sea to our left, a turn-off to the right signals the way toward the church of Lira, an impressive rural building.

Back at our lodgings, we recommend not choosing octopus for dinner. Leave it for the following day, for it will be one of the stars of our voyage in the sea of Lira.

 

2º Day

A fishing day in the sea of Lira

 

We will have to get up quite early to take good advantage of this day of sport and sustainable fishing that we propose at the Marine Reserve of Fishing Interest Os Minarzos. After a hearty breakfast with natural and home-made products that are served here, we head to the port of Lira, Portocubelo, just a short walk down from the town.

You will be surprised to see the port so quiet, dotted with small fishing boats nodding lightly on the crystal clear waters by the beach. In fact, the port was always "bare" until the heroic intervention of its inhabitants, who in 1966 rescued 166 shipwreck victims from the Frigate Ariete. They saved them from the water and lodged them in their homes. This earned Carnota's town hall the nickname of "very humanitarian".  In appreciation, the first breakwater was built at this port.

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The village's fishermen introduce us to sustainable sport fishing

At around 9:30 am we go on board the fishing boat belonging to one of the town's fishermen. It is usually the fisherman known as Pepe da Cacha who guides visitors on a day of sustainable sport fishing. This sea-hardened sailor will initiate novices in the art of fishing, from how to assemble the cane or pull the thread through, to placing the bait. Enthusiasts will acquire new skills typically used by these sailors.

Bream, varieties of wrasse and flatfish are some of the species that we can fish, always strictly respecting sizes, closed seasons and catch limits, because this is also a special protection area. We will also have the opportunity to practice catch and release fishing. The day provides all the ingredients so that, while we enjoy sport fishing, we also take care of the marine environment, contributing to the preservation of its fishery resources. Taking warm clothing along is always a good idea on this coast.

We eat what we have caught

At lunchtime we will provide the means for you to eat what you have caught. You can arrange with the skipper to cook on board, or else at a seaside tavern or eatery in the area. They will cook your catch in the traditional way, in a delicious stew ("caldeirada"), grilled, or accompanied by delicious sauces. You can even enter the kitchen and participate so that you can acquire the different culinary skills that these fresh sea products deserve.

A walk along Carnota, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world

For dessert nothing beats walking barefoot on the fine white sand of the beach of Carnota, one of the most beautiful beaches in Galicia and even in the world, according to the prestigious German publication Traumstrände. This seven-kilometre long crescent constitutes a unique set of dunes and marshes with an interior lagoon that shelters a variety of interesting species of plants and animals.

We recommend starting off at the very heart of the beach, where the mouth of the river Valdebois offers a marvellous spectacle in the area known as Boca do Río. Birdwatchers must know that this is a shelter for many migratory species and one of the few places in Galicia where the Kentish Plover (Charandrius alexandrinus) nests.

We learn to cook octopus by attending a culinary workshop

With this image still in our mind's eye we return to Lira to devote ourselves to the king of local products, the octopus, that in this sea finds an excellent habitat for breeding. We propose participating in a culinary workshop organized by a local restaurant and hostel. In addition to helping us achieve the exact cooking point, we will learn other ways of preparing this cephalopod. Grilled, with clams or in pâté are just some of the endless possibilities for preparing octopus. The workshop is rounded off with the preparation of homemade desserts.

When we are ready to eat, the ideal place is the restaurant's terrace. Open to the sea of Lira, it provides a breathtaking view of the beach of Portocubelo. In summer, looking closely, we can see the long sandy shape of the beach of Carnota.
 

3º Day

We visit a museum that used to be an old fisherman's house  

 

On our last morning we return to Portocubelo to visit the characteristic cabin known as Caseta de Pepe do Cuco. This used to be an old fisherman's house that was restored and converted into a museum. It is a picturesque place that offers the best interpretation of the villa's marine life. We find typical wooden boats and gear, such as ancient gillnets for sardine fishing and traps to catch octopus that were traditionally used by fishermen.

Two women shellfish gatherers will be our guides

The museum houses Galicia's only cascadeiro that can be visited. It is a facility where formerly the gillnets were tanned by soaking them in a solution made from pine husks to prevent them from rotting at sea. Another major attraction is the company offered by two women shellfish gatherers from the village, from a family with a long tradition in the trade. They are the perfect hostesses, for in addition to their great knowledge of their craft, their special way of narrating makes the visit even more attractive.

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The tour includes a visit to the fish market (lonja) and to an old sardine salt-curing factory, today abandoned. We conclude the visit at the port's tavern, tasting a succulent tapa (appetizer) accompanied by tales told by the local fishermen.

Arriba