When we decided to take a family road trip to Galicia, I naturally emailed the author of the blog Lila and Cloe, who lives in Vigo. Arantxa guides us though this beautiful wild region of Spain. Viva Galicia!

Tell us about your Galicia, Arantxa!

From North to South, from East to West, Galicia is a paradise on earth and we are lucky to live here. Slow life defines our way of living. Family is one of the most important things for us, and we also enjoy the simple little things. Contemplating the sunset together is one of our favorite moment of the day. If you come here with your beloved ones, forget your watch and be prepared to enjoy a wonderful time.

How is the weather like?

Galicia is quite different from Southern Spain. Rain, an occasional visitor, is the main reason why our landscape is so green and so special. If you are by the beach and have a cloudy day, take a trip to our most beautiful cities: A Coruña, Lugo, Ourense, Pontevedra, Vigo, Santiago de Compostela, Allariz, Combarro, Mondoñedo, Finisterre, Betanzos…

Eating in Galicia, the culture of food

Be prepared to eat a lot and to eat very well. There’s plenty of fish but also lots of vegetables such as the famous Padrón green peppers,  boiled potatos called “cachelos”. Also famous is the “cocido gall ego”, a mix of vegetables and meat.

The fish varieties go from sardines, monkfish, sea bass, tuna to octopus, to seafood : crabs, lobsters, cockles, clams, mussels, squids. I don’t know if you have heard about “percebes” but they are very special, typical to the region, and highly sought after. Watch this amazing documentary about them.

The Galician beef is also famous, as well as cheeses, and wines : albariño, mencía, ribeiro and godello will make your day. And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss our famous pies for desert.

Here’s a list of the must visit restaurants in Galicia if you love food :  Toñi Vicente (Vigo),  Casa Solla (Poio), O loxe mareiro by Abastos 2.0 (Carril), A centoleira (Bueu), Casa Marcelo (Santiago de Compostela), Galileo (Ourense), Culler de Pau (o Grove), Tira do Cordel (Finisterre), Tira do Playa (Coruña), Abastos 2.0  (Santiago de Compostela) or Alma Negra or Barlovento (A Coruña).

Caranguexo (it means crab) and O con de Aldan are located on the seaside. If you are looking for an informal place, Galician style,  try this tipical “taberna”: O fogar do Santiso or the beach-bar at Area da secada beach or at Foxos beach.

If you want to explore more, you can enjoy one or many of our various gastronomy festivals.

Your sleeping favourites in Galicia?

Your kids will be delighted sleeping in Cabanitas del bosque (Outes), A fraga rural (Moaña), A cabana de Carmen or doing camping at Islas Cíes.

Our favourites also include Lugar do Cotariño (Camariñas), Le Sept (Baiona), A casa de Aldán (Aldán), A Quinta da Auga (Santiago de Compostela), AC del Carmen (Santiago de Compostela), Nova Vila (Meis), Parador de Santo Estebo (Ribeira Sacra).

If you are into SPAs, try Balneario de Mondariz (Mondariz-Pontevedra), Balneario de Guitiriz (Guitiriz-Lugo), Gran Hotel de la Toja (O Grove), Nagari Hotel Spa (Vigo).

For examples of home rentals : click here and here.

Your beach recommendations?

We love going to the beach! The seaside has beautiful beaches with white and fine sand. 128 of them have been marked with the Blue Flag (quality distinctive) and Galicia has two of the most famous beaches in the world: Playa de Rodas, located on Islas Cíes and Playa de las Catedrales (Lugo).

We also love going to O Vao (Vigo), Rodas (Cíes islands), Area da secada (Illa de Arousa), Melide (Aldán), Areabrava (Aldán), la Lanzada (Sanxenxo), Lagoa (Dunas de Corrubedo (Corrubedo).

For surf en famille,  enjoy the waves at La Lanzada (Sanxenxo), Patos (Vigo) Pantín or Razo.

And if you love sailing, rent a boat (a “goleta”) and cruise from Vigo to the Islas Cíes.

Apart from the beach, what would you do with kids in Galicia?

We have lots of great museums. For instance Domus a Coruña, the first museum in the world dedicated to the human body), or Casa Das Ciencas, a science museum with many family workshops, Muncyt, a science and technology museum with kids activities, Macuf  the museum of modern art, also with activities for kids of all ages.

Of course Santiago de Compostela is a must-see, with its old cobbled stoned streets full of pilgrims and troubadours, for its amazing cathedral. You can take a tour of the Cathedral´s stone roofs with panoramic views (Tejados de la Catedral).  Also great is the CGAC, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea (Contemporary Art Center), designed by famous Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. Wander around the old food market, there you can get delicious tapas and food in a very lively ambiance at lunch time, around 1-3pm. This area is less touristy, frequented by locals.

Tips for nature and old stone lovers?

Take a walk though the Fragas do Eume, a fantastic example of the Atlantic forest. Visit Ribeira Sacra in Ourense to see monasteries and temples located across the monumental canyons and steep slopes that dominate the area.  Click here for other hiking trails. We especially recommend Rio Mao – Parada de Luz. Acantilados de San Andres de Teixido also has spectacular sea views from the highest cliffs in continental Europe. And Termas de Outariz in Ourense offers a great outdoor Spa, where to relax after a long walk!

More on the fun side?

There is Aquarium Finisterrae in La Coruña, Aquapark de Cerceda in Cerceda, Marcelle Naturaleza , a safari park in Lugo, Museo galego do xoguete in Ourense, showing a collection of toys from all times, Pescanatur in O Grove offering fishing activities in order to bring the Galician sea world to the public. Though them you can go shellfishing on foot with shellfish gatherers of our coast. Ecoparque Multiaventura in Marín is real fun with its suspended bridges, ropes, zip-lines and hanging steps.

Celebrating folklore and traditions, these festivals can be very fun with children : Festa da istoria in Ribadavia, recreates life in the middle age, representing different cultures, religions, jobs and social status. Feira Franca in Pontevedra recreates an ancient medieval fair.  Fiesta de la arribada in Baiona commemorates the arrival of the caravel La Punta, announcing the discovery of America, to the Baiona harbour. Finally, Rapa das Bestas in Sabucedo, celebrates our more ancestral traditions.

Thanks Arantxa – For more information about Vigo, her native city, visit the post that she wrote for Decopeques Blog last year…