The port city of Pontevedra is the main city of the picturesque coast of the Rias Bajas. (Rias Baixas), washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It is located in the estuary of the Leres River, which is called the Ria de Pontevedra. The name of the city was given by the Romans, in Latin it means “ancient bridge”. The ancient Roman bridge, thrown over the Leres River, has been preserved here to this day. In the 16th century, Pontevedra was the largest city in Galicia. It was here that the flagship of the expedition of Christopher Columbus – the ship “Santa Maria” was built. But already in the 17th century, the city port began to silt up and fell into decay. Today, Pontevedra’s former grandeur is reminiscent of its Old Town – one of the largest and best preserved in Galicia, it is second in size only to the Old Town of Santiago de Compostela. The historical part is located on the left bank of the Leres River.
According to The Makeup Explorer, there are more than a dozen squares in the city. On the Plaza de España is dominated by the building of the City Administration of the 19th century. Alameda Street originates from here, which houses such attractions as the 19th century Diputacion (provincial government), the remains of the monastery of Santo Domingo (14th century) and the statue of Christopher Columbus. Near Piazza Ferreria with numerous restaurants and cafes, the Gothic church of San Francisco(14th century) and the church of La Peregrina (18th century), built in the shape of a shell, are of interest. Lenya Square, in the center of which there is a cross, is surrounded by four palaces containing the collections of one of the largest museums in Galicia – the Museum of Ponteverda. The Castro Monteagudo Palace presents an archaeological collection, collections of Roman precious metal products and European paintings of the 15th-18th centuries, in the Garcia Flores Palace you will see religious sculptures, engravings and ceramics from the Sargadelos factory, located on the northern coast of Galicia, in the Fernandez Palace – Lopez contains paintings by Spanish masters of the 19th and 20th centuries, and in the Sarmiento Palace – paintings by contemporary Galician artists. Another exposition of the museum is located on the territory of the monastery of Santo Domingo mentioned above. Here are collections of Romanesque and Gothic capitals, sarcophagi and tombstones. Also in the city of Pontevedra, it is worth seeing the remains of the medieval fortress walls, the Gothic church of Santa Maria, built with the money of seafarers in the 16th century, and the 4-star hotel Caso do Baron, located in the traditional Galician mansion “paso”, where she lived in the Middle Ages know.
From Pontevedra you can take a trip along the picturesque coast of the Rias Bajas. First of all, along the Ria de Pontevedra estuary. On the southern coast of the estuary, you can have a great rest on the Lapaman beach (Praia de Lapaman) near the town of Marin, the cozy beaches of the towns of Bueu (Bueu), Menduina (Menduina), Vilanova (Vilanova), Vilarinho (Vilarino) and the picturesque beach of Mourisca (Praia Mourisca), located on Cape Udra (Cabo de Udra), enjoy the views from Cape Ome (Cabo de Home), and visit the town of Io (Hio), where the church of San Andres has a 19th-century sculptural composition with biblical scenes, crowned with a cross. On the north coast of the Ria de Pontevedra estuary, the villages of Poio are interesting, where there is an ancient monastery (7th century) with a beautiful garden, and Combarro (Combarro), where about 60 traditional granaries (“orreos”) of the 18th and 19th centuries have been preserved. They are surrounded by small cozy beaches with views of Pontevedra, among which the beaches of Sabaceira (Praia de Cabaceira), awarded the Blue Flag, Lourido (700 m long), Polvorin (Praia de Polvorin) and Covelo (Praia de Covelo) stand out. Further west is the resort town of Sanxenxo, which is one of the main resorts of the Rias Bajas. The main holiday destination in Sanxenxo is Silgar Beach (Praia de Silgar), awarded the Blue Flag. During the summer months, the beach is crowded with tourists. Also less popular, but no less beautiful, is suitable for relaxation. Baltar beach (Praia de Baltar).
Boats go from Sanxenxo to the Ons islands, which are part of the Islas Atlanticos National Park (National Park of the Atlantic Islands). Along with the Ons Islands, the national park includes the Cies islands, Cortegada islands and Salvora islands. The total area of the park is 85 sq. km. Tourists are allowed to travel here only from May to September and in the amount of no more than 2200 people per day. The relief of the islands is mountainous, rocks and sandy beaches stretch along the coast. Thousands of sea birds live here, and turtles, dolphins, seals and whales can be found in the waters surrounding the islands. The largest laurel forest in Europe extends to the north of Cortegada Island. The most interesting in terms of tourism is the Cies group of islands. You can get here from the cities of Vigo, Baiona and Cangas. The main attractions of the Cies Islands are Rodas Beach (Monteagudo Island), Spain, Mount Faro with a lighthouse on the island of the same name and the remains of pre-Roman settlements. There are hiking trails on the islands, passing through forests, mountains and coasts. Tourists are invited to stay in cozy campsites, but to spend the night in the national park, you must obtain permission. The Cies Islands are also famous among diving enthusiasts. To dive, you must obtain a permit. The maximum diving depth is 35 m. Under water, you will see vertical walls, sandbanks, soft corals, coral polyps, sea anemones, many types of fish, eels, octopuses, and in spring even soup sharks that swim here in search of a mate.
North of Sanxenxo is Lanzada Beach. (Praia A Lanzada). This is the longest beach in the vicinity of Pontevedra, its length is 2.3 km. Lanzada beach has been awarded the Blue Flag. The beach has a developed infrastructure, there are showers, rental of sunbeds and umbrellas, bars and restaurants. In winter, the sea becomes rough, which attracts surfers here.