The island of A Toxa brings together luxury, the essence of the mineral-medicinal waters and the richness of the sea.

It is located in the Ria de Arousa, a shellfish gathering power. Therefore, here is a plan to learn the keys that give the shellfish and seafood from this ria their fame. We will do so right by shellfish beds, spending a day fishing or shell-fishing, under the guidance of those with the best knowledge of these activities. And to wrap up the day, a relaxing marine and thermal session.



1º Day

Relaxing session at thermae, thalassotherapy centres or spas 

   

 

We arrive at the hotel in the early afternoon. The quality of the island's hotel offer is extraordinary. It has thermae, thalassotherapy centres and spas. The Nobel Laureate Santiago Ramon y Cajal recommended these waters to fight rheumatic, respiratory, skin and nervous system disorders, among others.

It will be very relaxing to spend what is left of evening at the hotel, in its spa and thermal leisure areas, having bubble and jet baths, or signing up for a thalassotherapy treatment. There are treatments as suggestive as those that combine the properties of sea water with those of Albariño wine.

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The spectacle of watching a beautiful sunset in A Toxa

We recommend going for a short walk around the island before dinner. Its large pine grove, in the centre, the paths that run parallel to the urbanizations or even the seashore are enticing. And, if possible, don't miss the wonderful spectacle of watching the sunset in A Toxa. Back in the hotel for dinner we will find that the restaurant offers an essential cuisine, that handles the extraordinary products from these rias, the fish and seafood, with the maximum respect.

2º Day

 

A shellfish gathering lesson in A Toxa and lunch at the port of O Grove

There are also other seaside alternatives to spend the morning without leaving the island of A Toxa. If the tide is low we can sign up for a short shellfish gathering workshop and spend a typical day like a shellfish gatherer. Under the guidance of women shellfish gatherers we will go on a three-hour route during which we will learn how to extract clams and cockles on the beach, the techniques to recognize which bivalves are buried in the sand and know how distinguish them. Other species will also turn up, such as algae, worms or snails.

At lunchtime we will give in to the local product, accompanied by Albariño wine. Opposite the port of O Grove there are a good number of seafood restaurants. If our visit takes place in October we can attend the "Festa do Marisco." (Seafood Festival). Here the product is not only tasted "naturally" cooked, but also in empanadas, seafood cocktails, croquettes and prepared using innovative culinary processes In the port area stands the monument to the family of shellfish gatherers, a beautiful representation in granite by the sculptor Alfonso Vilar.

After lunch, a stroll along the Breakwater provides lovely breaths of seaside air. While we stretch our legs we can marvel at the ria's outline.

The bustle of the Fish Market

The afternoon is the busiest time at O Grove fish market. We can visit it accompanied by the shellfish gatherers or by the boat's skipper, if we have participated in these activities in the morning, or else by hiring specialized guides. It is always a lively experience, especially during the auction, which is rich in smells and sounds, because when the bids are not electronic they are spoken out loud. We will receive a real-time explanation of the processes of reception, weighing, labelling and selection of seafood and fish.

A visit to the aquarium of Punta Moreiras

But if we prefer a quieter afternoon with the calm and global view of different Rías Baixas marine ecosystems, the aquarium of Punta Moreiras is the best showcase on dry land. We exit O Grove to take the PO-9101 and three kilometres later, a sign indicates the detour that we must take. It is only a fifteen-minute car ride.

The aquarium houses the molluscs, crustaceans and fish that live in this habitat. Trying to distinguish sea bass, gilt-head bream, bream, Atlantic redfish, flatfish or dogfish in movement can be harder than you think. The aquarium also welcomes guests from tropical ecosystems. Their water community is a live system, under continuous change. One day we are able spot the lionfish or the bamboo shark and another day we can see the windings of the Zebra moray. And we will be amazed watching the bull shark, the largest shark in the aquarium, as it feeds.

The illustrative exhibits make this aquarium a genuine interpretation centre of the water habitats of the Rías Baixas. Models of vessels or to-scale reproductions of seaside houses, highlight the peculiarities of the territory. To round off the visit we can have a drink on its terrace, overlooking the sea. We can then head back to the hotel or grab dinner in the area.
 

3º Day

At the shellfish farms they prepare take away seafood

 

  

After breakfast and before leaving the island you can visit the most characteristic marine site on the island of A Toxa, the Chapel of San Caralampio or Chapel of the Shells, known as such because its entire facade is covered with scallop shells.

On the way back, stopping again at O Grove is a must. The town is like Galicia's huge seafood warehouse. Do not miss going up to one of its many shellfish farms, where it is kept alive in water from the ria, so that these select crustaceans, such as spider crabs, velvet crabs or shrimp reach the table perfectly fresh.

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In some restaurants they prepare it for take away, in the desired amount, packed in boxes that make its transportation easy and hygienic and that maintains the product's ideal conditions to be enjoyed at its point of destination. We can purchase it for ourselves or to surprise someone with a gift, for we can also ask for it to be carefully gift-wrapped.

Arriba