Day 5 – O Grove: paradise is here (19 km)

ROUTE A LANZADA – SAN VICENTE

WEDNESDAY, MAY 19

The coast of the O Grove peninsula is linked to the mainland by the O Vao Strait. The archaeological site of A Lanzada gives us the historical account of a day in which we will walk through this privileged natural environment of the intertidal Umia-O Grove complex, which we will see from the heights of Mount Siradella and which is chosen by many birds in their wintering. Already on the west coast of San Vicente a path with a multitude of different beaches and magical places to sit and contemplate the immensity of this sea.

Dificultad ALTA
Difficulty MIDDLE
Dificultad ALTA
19 kilometers
Dificultad ALTA
7 hours
Dificultad ALTA
+-490 m / slope

Infinite beaches ...
paradise full of life ...
works of art at every step ...
... and magical sunsets
O Grove
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The Archaeological Complex of A Lanzada is an authentic book to understand the history of Salnés and the Galician world since the 8th century B.C. The existence of a settlement in this privileged place was already known since the eighteenth century, having carried out different excavations. But it was in the last campaigns, made from 2010 looking for a Roman villa and remains of an old monastery, when archaeologists encountered a pleasant surprise, discovering the importance of this site that would have a total area of 9000 m2.

In these works remains have been discovered that indicate that it was occupied since the end of the Bronze Age, in the eighth century B.C. A children’s necropolis appeared, from which 13 baby skeletons were recovered, dated between the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. and perfectly preserved thanks to this sandy soil. There is also another area for adult burials, including a woman of the fifth century who has been baptized as Cornelia and is believed, by the position of the bodies, that they are members of a primitive Christian church.

It is known that during the Iron Age until Romanization in the first century A.D. It was a large shopping center, with a multitude of ceramic pieces showing exchanges with different parts of the Mediterranean such as Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey or Tunisia. In addition, pieces of high quality Roman dinnerware (terra sigillata) or a bronze sword were found, dated between the eighth and fourth centuries B.C. In construction we can see a cabin with large walls that could be the warehouse.

Finally we can see the structure of a salting factory of pre-Roman origin, which would be in operation between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC, which would indicate that the ancient Galaicos already processed the fish before the romans arrived from the empire with its salted fish.

Later, in the Middle Ages a fortress was built, of which today we can see part of its walls, which served as a defensive bulwark against the invasions of the Norman pirates. It is said that, before the arrival of the enemy, a fire was lit in the tower that was seen from the Towers of Catoira to, from there, give notice to Compostela. In the thirteenth century it was destroyed by the Arabs, later rising again until the Irmandiñas revolts finished destroying it, leaving it abandoned in the sixteenth century.

Next to it, the simple Hermitage of A Lanzada, from the 12th century, of a single nave and with a semicircular apse. Inside, we can see the image of the Lanzada Virgin.

We leave the hermitage in the direction of Area Gorda Beach. From now on, more than 2 kilometers of the spectacular Lanzada Beach await us, so we recommend starting this stage coinciding with the low tide. In this praia, symbol of the Rías Baixas, tourists who take their morning walk live with a multitude of bird species that inhabit this privileged ecosystem, where algae are the base of the food chain. We calmly cross the beach through the wet sand enjoying it with all our senses, stopping at each pond and checking for ourselves how much life this Lanzada Beach has.

At the end of the beach we went a few meters to the road of San Vicente and very soon take the Siradella path that, through a rampant dune overflowing with vegetation, leads us ascending to the viewpoint.

The Siradella Viewpoint, with 159 meters high, is the best place to see all the vastness of this space. The Isthmus of Lanzada separates two spaces of great and different biodiversity: on one side, we see the open sea with the boats of Portonovo leaving to fish. On the other, an intertidal space full of life.

The Intertidal Umia-Grove Complex is the only ornithological reserve of SEO / Birdlife in Galicia and the largest in Spain with its 7,534 hectares. Wetlands, lagoons, bays, beaches and all this sea form a unique environment that visits 220 different bird species to live the winter. The spatula, the oystercatcher, the tridactyl correlimos, the trine zarapito, the large colimbo or threatened seagull species, such as the Balearic shearwater, are seen throughout this area looking for the abundant food provided by this intertidal plain of mud and sand.

The entrance to the reserve is the coast of O Grove, where they arrive in flocks in the winter months, being possible to see a large number of species. The protection of these spaces aims to guarantee the long-term survival of the most valuable and threatened European species and habitats. In addition, it contemplates the interaction of man and the development of activities.

Behind the Interpretation Center, there is a small road that takes us to the Castro de Siradella, where we still have a better view of the entire Ensenada do Vao and that small dune cord that separates the “island” of O Grove from the mainland.

In the Nature Interpretation Center we can see an explanatory video of the place, as well as posters with explanations of the existing birds, the movement of the tides and different collections of bone remains.

From there we start a path that, in continuous descent between pine forests, takes us to the coast passing through a winery from which we can only see the high wall that surrounds it and some canned warehouses. Thus we arrive at the natural area of Punta Moreiras, in a very photogenic environment. The mouth of the small river attracts birds, which rest peacefully in turquoise waters. In the background, the small boats of Porto Meloxo complete the picture.

The existing Salting Museum tells us the story of this small cove on the coast of O Grove, which receives the cold waters of the Atlantic, rich in oxygen and plankton and is the privileged habitat chosen by mollusks such as clams, cockles and oysters, which we can see.

This wealth of resources and the existence of several nature ports caused that, from the end of the 18th century until the middle of the 20th century, several families of Catalan promoters settled in this area. They brought a new way to process the sardine using the fish pressing method, to remove the oil thus preventing it from becoming rancid, after immersing it completely whole (without eviscerating) for 15 days in a saturated brine.

The work was done during the summer and autumn months, giving employment to many families in the nearby villages of Porto Meloxo and Reboredo. The women were in charge of transporting salt and making brine, in addition to transporting fish from ships. The men, much less, were responsible for building the wooden containers for packaging. Large sailboats were responsible for the distribution of the product made by the Galician coast and the Mediterranean.

Currently, throughout the area, you can find remains of more than a dozen of these salting factories and one of them is what we can visit today inside, converted into a Museum.

From the Punta Moreiras Lighthouse, surrounded by curious granite sculptures, there is a path that will take us through endless beaches, each one more beautiful. Pipas Beach is located in a spectacular environment, with the pine forest reaching the same shore and the crystal clear water. Any corner is good to look at the reflections that form the huge granite rocks in the sea. During the summer season has a beach bar where you can have an ice cream or a delicious paella. A few meters ahead is the Reboredo Beach. Between the two they form the best area to make the provisioning stop at this stage.

The next beach we find is the Mexilloeira Beach, with 1300 meters in length. Due to its sea and wind conditions, it is chosen by many athletes for windsurfing and kitesurfing. This beach is crossed by a large dune cord that creates the Bodeira Lagoon, formed by the accumulation of fresh water from the nearby streams and stored in its little surface a great diversity of flora and fauna.

After passing the Area Grande Beach we find Punta Barcela, where we see another of the old salting factories that existed throughout this coast.

In Praia do Carreiro is the Necropolis of Adro Vello, all other history lessons. In chronological order, we have remains of a salting factory of more than 2000 years ago, which would imply, like that of A Lanzada, a great fishing development. We can see the pools where the brine was made and that are coated with a mortar that waterproofs its walls. On the remains of this old factory a Roman villa was built between the third and fourth centuries, from which we can see its retaining walls in the part of the sea. Between the 6th and 7th centuries a church is built from which today we distinguish its entrance door, a rectangular nave, the sacristy and the altar.

At the beginning of the Middle Ages it was no longer inhabited and began to be used as a cemetery, being able to distinguish sarcophagi from that time until the 18th century, a period of almost a thousand years. It also preserves the base of a square tower that was surely used with defensive functions, since pirate attacks by Vikings and Normans were very frequent and hence also the abandonment of coastal populations.

Its state of conservation is not the best and the visit is limited to seeing it from the outside of a fence. But we are sure that, in the coming years, these sites that we visit today will give us a lot of information to compose the history of this region of Salnes.

From Punta Pateiro, where there is a small lighthouse, the path narrows into the cliff until you reach Castiñeira Beach, one of the nudist paradises of the Rías Baixas.

In the coves of Barreiro and Con Negro we stop to photograph the small shells that form them. They are not sand coves, they are millions of small shells and conches of all shapes and colors that you can imagine. Here the granite mole of O Con Negro stands proudly, to mark the westernmost part of this O Grove peninsula.

From here, a simple and comfortable walk begins where the big rocks (cons) are the main protagonists. Where we look, forms emerge among all that granite, in a magical place that moves its face according to the reflection of the sun. The flora is the typical dune, with the presence of thistles and other species that have to adapt to these harsh conditions of existence.

On the right, a metal fence divides the grounds of an old J-1 Puerto Cuaces Military Battery, from which we can still see two canyons. Installed in 1936, it is the only one in the province that remains a military zone, being used for maneuvering.

From here begins a wooden walk with lots of magical corners where to bet to watch the sunset. Thus we arrive at Barrosa Beach, where the Nautico Pub is located, an experience devised by a music romantic who, with great initiative and taking advantage of the heavenly environment in which he is located, has turned this place into a summer reference center in Galicia. All musical groups want to play in the Nautical, in some performances that are even followed by boats from the sea.

There, in the Pedras Negras Marina, we finish this stage that has taken us along a very comfortable path to visit the most spectacular corners of this beautiful O Grove peninsula.

Route Planning

Km StagePointHeight (m)Km Total
0,0Hermitage Nosa Señora da Lanzada1258,4
0,0Remains Medieval Fortress958,4
0,1Archaeological Complex of A Lanzada958,5
1,5Lanzada Beach (start)1059,9
3,9Lanzada Beach (end)362,3
5,1Path of Cavernal3163,5
6,4Siradella geodetic vertex15964,8
6,5Siradella viewpoint15064,9
6,5Nature Interpretation Center15064,9
6,7Feáns viewpoint14265,1
9,9Old Salting Factory668,3
10,0Salting Museum1068,4
10,1Moreiras Point668,5
10,2Moreiras Point Lighthouse1068,6
10,3Stone sculptures1268,7
10,8Pipas Beach669,2
11,4Reboredo Beach469,8
11,8Mexilloeira Beach770,2
12,0Bodeira Lagoon570,4
12,9Cons of Pararroxa671,3
13,4Area Grande Beach071,8
13,8Old Salting Factory572,2
14,4Necropolis of Adro Vello772,8
14,4Carreiro Beach772,8
15,1Pateiro Point2073,5
15,9Castiñeira Beach674,3
16,2Barreiro Cove574,6
16,5O Con Negro574,9
17,4Military battery675,8
18,2Canelas Beach676,6
18,9Abelleiro Point577,3
19,0Nautico Pub577,4
19,5Pedras Negras Marina577,9

Images O Grove Stage