Destinations & villas: Select an area to view holiday villas
- Canary Islands
In this north-western pocket of the Spanish mainland lies a rich region of great diversity - a scenic coastline, shaped by fjord like 'rías', an abundant land of wooded slopes, pretty stone villages and the occasional impressive silhouette of an historic city.
It is on and around the spectacularly indented coastline of the Rías Baixas, with its wide sweeping bays and sheltered beaches of golden sand, that many of our properties are to be found.
At the southern tip of the Ría de Vigo lies the delightful harbour town of Baiona, a colourful port lined with an extensive promenade that stretches for some 5km along the coast. The town's old castle stands proudly by the sea with the well preserved historic centre just behind, lined with noble manor houses and tempting shops and cafes that prove difficult to resist.
Further up the Ría de Vigo, at the point where it meets the river, daily catches, mainly of oyster and mussel, are hauled onto the shores of the 'seafood capital' of Arcade. Naturally, it is this that dominates the menus of the restaurants that line the streets behind.
In the nearby Ría de Pontevedra, a wander up the forested hillside that backs the bustling coastal town of Sanxenxo reveals the impressive panorama of seascape, and the imposing outline of the protected islands of Cíes and Ons, home to long sweeping beaches of fine white sand and a haven for birds. Around the corner in the local fishing port of Portonovo, details of the freshly caught fish once again fill the menu boards of the adjacent restaurants to tempt the passer-by.
Continuing northwards, the road soon turns a corner to reveal the long majestic sands of A Lanzada, where dunes and open grassland form the backdrop, with not a building in sight. Beyond, a bridge now joins the mainland to the idyllic island of A Toxa, home to the fishing town of O Grove and famed for its 'conchas' or shellfish, which are served in their shells and combined with a delicious mixture of finely chopped onion and pepper.
Inland from the waterfront, country lanes wind their way through an ever changing landscape of multi shades of green, splashed with the bright colours of wild flowers. Pale green are the vines that curl around granite pillars, whilst the darker green cabbages or potatoes occupy the space below. Above higgledy-piggledy villages of soft stone rise densely forested slopes of oak and chestnut, eventually stopping to give way to the wild stretches of moorland that dominate the upper heights.
Down below, well tended fields are dotted with wigwam shaped corn stacks and stone built 'horreos' stand on tall stilts to protect the harvested crop. In the valleys, arched Romanesque bridges cross lush banked streams of salmon and trout with their limpid bathing pools, whilst cowbells echo from the hillside.
No visitor can leave Galicia without witnessing the spectacular city of Santiago de Compostela. A melting pot for pilgrims who flock here every year to pay homage to St James the Apostle, this must undoubtedly rank among the most beautiful cities in the world. Within its medieval walls, the impressive cathedral and its adjacent stone flagged square is surrounded by an intriguing network of ancient, flagstoned streets, noble houses and intimate cloisters.
Lesser known but also rich in its heritage is the more southerly centre of Pontevedra, easily accessible from many of our houses. From the arcaded Plaza de la Peregrina, its impressive old quarter boasts a delightful maze of narrow backstreets that lead to an equally appealing array of restaurants.
This south-western corner of Galicia is rich and abundant, with its sheltered sandy bays, easily accessible islands of unquestionable beauty, undulating green countryside where life is unhurried and an impressive wealth of historic sites. Add to this the genuine warmth and generosity of its inhabitants and the appeal becomes even greater.
'Aquí estás en tu casa' (here you always have a home) and 'Yo no tengo prisa' (I've got all the time in the world for you) were phrases that were frequently uttered by our delightful hosts as they enthusiastically introduced us to the land of which they are so proud.
'Empanada de berberecho', a pie of smooth, light pastry filled with cockles, seafood croquettes, 'pulpo a la gallega', octopus in paprika and olive oil, and a mouth-watering range of freshly caught fried fish are some of the many seafood options available.
A perfect accompaniment is the deliciously fruity white Albariño wine, or the lighter Ribeiro, both locally produced.
The opening of the Saints Door of the cathedral at the end of the previous year marks the start of a year of celebrations, when the city becomes an even more important holy site.
Alternatively, flights are available to the Portuguese city of Porto from Heathrow and Gatwick with Air Portugal, from Gatwick with easyJet and from Stansted, Gatwick, Bristol, Liverpool and Dublin with Ryanair.
From Porto, a drive of 2-2½ hours will bring you to your destination. By car, Brittany Ferries provides sailings from Plymouth and Portsmouth to Santander and from Portsmouth to Bilbao, with both Spanish ports being within a day's drive of the area.