A Destination Less Traveled with so much to Offer!
Galicia, Spain, located in the top northwestern portion of Spain, is less traveled destination and one, in my opinion, that has a great deal to offer, and should not be overlooked.
This part of Spain is known for its impressive, rugged shoreline, lovely rolling green hills and mountains, and interesting and beautiful villages. One of the most impressive towns is the charming village of O Cebreiro, located on the border of Galicia and Castilla y León. This is where visitors walk down picturesque cobblestone streets next to historic thatched roundhouses dating back to Celtic Times. Charming in every sense of the word. But, that is not all Galicia has to offer by a long shot!
How about a cathedral not built with human hands? Here in Galicia is one of the most spectacular natural wonders anywhere in the world, the Cathedral of the Sea. Highly dramatic buttresses can be observed along the shore. Its beaches give way to hidden In my opinion, this is one of Mother Nature’s most stunning creations. Over ions, giant buttresses have been formed. But these natural arches are not all that is found here. There are numerous caves that are hidden along the coastline. It is known as Beach of the Holy Waters.This may be one of the few beaches in the world where you need a ticket to enter.
But that’s not all…Walking through these incredible formations, one feels a cathedral-like atmosphere. What is so special is that while standing there on the shore, when the wind blows in just the right direction, a sound is created, a beautiful sound similar to what organ music sounds like in a church. This natural melodic low-pitched music can best be heard at low tide. Talk about a unique and beautiful experience!
Still not done..One magnificent historic-religious site, built over 800 years ago located in Galicia is the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. This is a very important cathedral for worshippers. It is here where a 490 mile-long Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route ends. There is another reason this religious structure is such a famous one. Inside this ancient cathedral lie the remains of Santiago (James), the Apostle, one of the disciples closest to Jesus Christ.
And kicking up your heels is something to do during festival time in Galicia, known for amazing and sometimes crazy festivals. How about this one held in the spring where participants throw live ants and flour! That would be the Os Peliqueiros Carnival held each year in the province of Ourense, the town of Laza. Carnival Sunday, as it is known, people dress up in gigantic hats with cowbells dangling from their costumes, as they hold onto whips!
Another festive celebration is San Xoán which is held each year all over Spain, the night of June 23rd. This is when the people of Galicia celebrate the birth of John the Baptist with fireworks and bonfires. As the clock strikes midnight, Galicians are off to the beach to light bonfires and prepare a drink called queimada, made from Aquadiente liquor (sugar, coffee beans, lemon peel, and cinnamon sticks, once created is set ablaze. Over this wild concoction an incantation is spoken, supposedly to keep the witches away. Revelers are also known to jump over the fire which will bring good luck., San Juan or Sant Joan, as it’s called in various regions of Spain, takes place all over the country on the night of June 23rd. It honors the birth of St John the Baptist with fireworks and bonfires, but nowhere celebrates it quite like Galicia. When the clock strikes midnight, Galicians head to the beaches to light bonfires and prepare queimada, a drink made from Aguadiente liquor, sugar, coffee beans, lemon peel, and cinnamon sticks, which is set on fire. An incantation is said over the concoction, said to keep witches away. People jump over the fire to bring them good luck. Another activity designed to bring the best of luck is a midnight swim in the sea!
There you have it, a very interesting lesser-known, and often overlooked area of Spain. With unique scenery, historic and picturesque towns, fun-filled festivals, it is definitely time to kick up your heels in this northwest corner of Spain.
If a trip to Europe is in your future, or if Spain is on your list, all that Galicia has to offer is waiting for you!