Estuaries and beaches


42º 24' 58.1" N - 8º 41' 04.2" W


The Ría de Pontevedra opens between the Cabicastro point to the west of Canelas beach to the north, and the Centoleira point to the south. Its most eastern line is more difficult to mark, due to the mouth of the river Lérez, but we can situate it in the city of Pontevedra, where the river joins the sea, some 14 km from the mouth of the estuary whose shape is that of a perfect wedge of sea water incrusted in the continent south-west to north-east.
Relatively close to the coast, at the entrance to the Ría de Pontevedra, are the Ons isles, inhabited in antiquity. With gentler shapes than the Cíes, the Ons also have contrasting coastlines, less abrupt on the interior and with cliffs to the west, where we once more encounter furnas like the spectacular Cova do Inferno. Like in Cíes, the fauna finds a privileged place on the Ons. However, on the Ons there has historically been a larger human presence and the islands were inhabited until the nineteen fifties. Today, the large part of the population only lives on the island in summer.

In the Ría de Pontevedra and on its banks, art and history combine to please travellers. The banks house beautiful cities like Pontevedra; monasteries such as the Poio or, a little further away, Armenteira; towns such as the Marín, combining their military destiny with fishing, or Bueu, clearly a centre of fishing and shell fishing; tourist and residential centres like Sanxenxo, Portonovo and San Vicente de O Grove; picturesque villages like Aldán, lodged at the bottom of its small cove, an annexe to that of Pontevedra, Raxó, Combarro and Mogor.

Pontevedra, the provincial capital, is a balanced city without urban giants, which combines the charm of the past in its broad old quarter, joyfully respected by modern development. Inside appear beautiful churches such as the ruins of Santo Domingo, San Francisco, Santa María la Mayor, A Peregrina and a Provincial Museum that possibly receives more visits than any other in Galicia due to the wealth of its funds. Pontevedra was the home of great sailors (Sarmiento, Nodales, etc.) who discovered lands for Spain.
Very nearby is Marín, a modern town with hardly any vestiges of the past. At the top of the hill behind it is a viewpoint that allows us to contemplate the Vigo and Pontevedra estuaries.
The estuary has a wealth of sandbanks, and especially Sanxenxo, due to its importance with tourists, the population of which multiplies in the summer. However, the new constructions have swept away the remains of the former population. Everything is modern.

Quite the opposite occurred at A Lanzada beach, a sandbank of more than 4 km belonging to the O Grove and Sanxenxo councils, where the regeneration of the dune system has enabled the survival of one of the most widely visited beaches in Galicia. Associated with it are beautiful legends like those of the baths of "nove olas" for finding a partner or assuring descendents, and on the shores lies the Hermitage of Santa María da Lanzada and the Torre da Lanzada, the possible remains of an ancient lighthouse.
Further to the west is O Grove, a town that has turned sea gastronomy into a cult that can be "practised" in the different bars, inns and restaurants that offer the most exquisite shellfish and fish.
And as an annexe we have the Illa da Toxa, a splendid area with magnificent hotel facilities, built at the beginning of the century. In the evenings on A Toxa said Alvaro Cunqueiro that there is "a strange, consoled silence, only disturbed by the wind of the pines and the sea singing in the neighbouring Lanzada".