The geo-destination, Ría de Arousa, contains the municipalities: A Illa de Arousa, A Pobra do Caramiñal, Boiro, Cambados, Catoira, Dodro, Meaño, Meis, O Grove, Pontecesures, Rianxo, Ribadumia, Ribeira, Sanxenxo, Valga, Vilagarcía de Arousa and Vilanova de Arousa.

The largest of the Rias Baixas is a wise mix of nature, art, maritime tradition and – nowadays – the best leisure activities. Here some of the best white wines in Spain are produced, within the D.O. of Rías Baixas.

The Arousa estuary retains all the charm of a natural beauty. This is evidenced by its excellent beaches and islands, such as Sálvora, Cortegada, Arousa or A Toxa with their spas, pine groves and elegant hotels.

Or the entertainment in Rianxo, Boiro, Ribeira, A Pobra do Caramiñal... The nobility of Cambados, capital of Albariño, with the impressive plaza and the Pazo de Fefiñáns. Or Catoira, scene of ancient barbarian invasions and today a festive and fun 'Viking Landing'. And during the visit to Vilagarcía de Arousa, there's nothing like enjoying "Mariñeiro-style tourism" visiting the neighbouring Port of Carril in order to discover the best Galician seafood farms. Trying their famous clams right there is an absolute must.

Heritage

The convent in Armenteira (Meis),  – run by a female religious community – is the largest monument. Added to it is an almost endless list of other, smaller, monuments, among those which should be mentioned (in a north to south direction) are the fortress that houses the museo de Valle Inclán (A Pobra do Caramiñal), the Castellum Honesti or Torres de Oeste (Catoira), Santa Mariña Dozo (Cambados) and the Roman remains of Adro Vello (O Grove).

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We cannot end without recalling that, since the 60s of the past century, the Ría de Arousa has the only maritime via crucis in the world, as these waters define a Way of St. James, the Sea Route of Arousa-Río Ulla,  which commemorates the arrival in Galicia by sea of the body of St James the Greater. Indeed, this is where the Apostle's lifeless body arrived in the boat of stone, which also held two of his favourite disciples. Today, this Sea Route of Arousa-Río Ulla has become a tourist attraction for people from all over the world.

Natural reserves

The Arosa estuary is more than a geodestination. It is a world tourist reference for two reasons: because it is considered the richest in the world – and that wealth ends up in the kitchen – and because it has a series of well known and very popular beaches. Enclosed by the Sálvora Island (part of the Parque Nacional dás Illas Atlánticas, as is Cortegada, opposite Carril) and a spectacular string of islets, in its interior there is another piece of land that has been connected to the mainland by a bridge for twenty-five years: A Illa de Arousa, with the Punta Carreirón nature reserve.

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And speaking of nature reserves, it would be unforgivable not to speak of the Parque Natural das Dunas de Corrubedo e Lagoas de Carregal e Vixán, where we can admire the largest shifting dune in Galicia and confirm that one of the lagoons has salt water and the other, fresh. Another space integrated into the Natura 2000 Network is the Ons-O Grove complex, the junction of two ecosystems rich in biodiversity: sea waters and waters from the estuary's interior.

And, reaching the bottom of the estuary, the mouth of the River Ulla belongs to the Ulla-Deza river system. For lovers of cycling, the Campo de Golf de Meis has the first ATB ATB centre in Galicia, with ten routes for discovering the rich landscape and monumental of Salnés.

Festivals and gastronomy

The Ría de Arousa geodestination hosts an International Tourist Festival – the Romaría Vikinga de Catoira – which recalls the adventures of the dreaded Northmen in mediaeval times until Archbishop Gelmírez – the man who put Santiago on the map of Christendom – stopped them.

Then come the National Tourist Festivals, which means Viño Albariño (Cambados) and the patron saint festivals of San Roque da Vila (Vilagarcía de Arosa). Lastly are the Galician Tourist Festivals, and these include those of Exaltación do Marisco (O Grove), Xesús O Nazareno e Procesión das Mortallas (A Pobra del Caramiñal), Virxe de Guadalupe (Rianxo), Dorna (Ribeira) and the Romaría de San Ramón de Bealo (Boiro), and the Semana Santa de Paradela in Meis.

With all this in sight, it is not very difficult to guess what the cuisine of the Ría de Arousa is like: it is based on what is given by the sea, and firstly the various shellfish, whose extraction is the main source of wealth of the people who live in this geodestination.

HIGHLIGHT: Cambados, the capital of the Albariño

Cambados is known as the capital of the Albariño. Its cit centre, which possesses a rich heritage, is the result of the contemporary union of three old and independent historic towns: Santo Tomé – the oldest area, a fishing village with a beautiful harbor –, Cambados – the administrative centre –, and Fefiñáns, the aristocratic district and commercial centre.

Given the village's link with wine production, a visit to its Museo Etnográfico y del Vino and its Museo de las Rutas del Vino is highly advisable. In both, one can learn more about the history, art, geography and popular culture related to the wine produced in these lands.

Arriba