The Rías Altas occupy the north and northwest of Galicia, from the border with Asturias to Finisterre. Within its hydrographic basins are included coasts as well known as the Costa de la Muerte or the Costa Artabra. It is very famous for its cliffs, capes and beaches with transitional waters between cold northern seas and temperate tropical ones.
It covers part of the coasts of the provinces of A Coruña and north of Lugo where you will find cities such as Ferrol, La Coruña or the proximity to Lugo (hydrological side of the Miño) and very picturesque villages such as Ribadeo or Cangas among many others.
Among its estuaries are:
- Ría del Burgo
- Betanzos estuary
- Ares estuary
- Ferrol estuary
- Cederia estuary
- Ortiguera Estuary
- Barquero Estuary
- Vivero Estuary
- Foz estuary
- Ribadeo estuary.
As in all Galicia, it has a fusion of the best beaches in Spain, monumental areas, gastronomy mainly maritime but combined with inland products, good wines, nature and above all mystery and mysticism for its legends and stories without forgetting the friendly and welcoming people.
If you want more nature the area of Ferrolterra, a great conservation of the ecosystem having almost virgin areas or if you prefer to enjoy the advantages of urbanism and its monumental areas you have the area of A Coruña although the whole of Galicia has a good mix of both aspects.
If you are interested in the beaches you can visit some of them like the beach of the cathedrals in Ribadeo that with its domes and arches that nature has drawn in its landscape will leave you fascinated, the beach of Covas in Viveiro, beach of Doniños, beach of Morouzos, beach of Frouxeira in Valdoviño or the kilometric beaches of Carnota in Santa Comba. These are just some of the best beaches you can find, but all along the coast of the Rías Altas you can find small corners to remember.
The nature of the Rías Altas is not only limited to the beaches, you can enjoy a route of cliffs, capes, hiking or wild nature in natural parks such as the Fragas de Eume with 9000 hectares as an example of thermophilic Atlantic forest of the continent.
However, if you prefer to visit monuments, the area is not far behind either. You can make a route of lighthouses very famous in these areas, the way of santiago by the way of the north, visit A Coruña with its famous oldest active Roman lighthouse in the world called the tower of Hercules, the old town of Betanzos which was one of the historical capitals of Galicia, in the interior between mountains see the monumental area of Mondoñedo, Galician shrines such as San Andres de Teixido, Pazos of northern Galicia or visit fishing villages such as O Barqueiro, Viveiro or Ribadeo.
During the trip you can enjoy some of the most outstanding gastronomy in Spain. As in all of Galicia, you can enjoy seafood such as clams, octopus from Mugardos, shellfish, barnacles, mussels or take home the famous canned food from Cariño.
If you are not a fan of sea-flavoured gastronomy then don't worry, you have a wide variety of options. You can go to Cerdido to eat its fresh turnip tops, to Betanzo with its tortillas, peppers in Foz, Lacón in Xove, honey in Ferreira or its famous cheeses from Moeche or A Capela.
All these delicacies can be enjoyed in all these areas during your trip or you can enjoy them in their famous festivals, mainly in summer but which are spread throughout the year.
As in all the coast of Galicia you have the option of doing different activities like sailing, surfing, diving, fishing, etc. In the Rías Altas there are areas where the waters are more violent and where you can do more extreme sports with its big waves.
These lands have seen several civilizations such as the Celts with cities like Brigantia or Ardrobica with the Artabrians, the Romans creating the province of Gallaecia, the Umayyad Caliphate conquering the peninsula, Asturians and Leonese in the reconquest through the kingdom of Galicia to the present day as an autonomous community of Spain.
The history and legends of the Rías Altas are varied but if we had to highlight one, the Tower of Hercules has an endless number of them. The legend of the Giant Geryon is the most well known, and is recorded in the general chronicles of Alfonso X the Wise. It consists of the request of the inhabitants of the area to Hercules, son of Zeus, to kill a giant who had terrorised all the nearby villages.
Hercules cut off his head after a fierce battle and his head was buried where the battle took place and a tower was built on top of it with a large torch on top of it so that everyone could see that Hercules defeated Geryon and commemorate his victory. Near that tower a village was built in his honour and the first person to populate it was named after him. His name was Cruña.
You can mention places such as San Andrés de Teixido as a pilgrimage church owned by the Order of Malta, legends of the Doniños lagoon and its submerged city or Santa Comba who, despite dedicating her life to witchcraft, ended up repenting of her heresies and dedicated herself in the hermitage now called Santa Comba to pray for forgiveness. Every corner of the Rías Altas has its own stories that you can discover.
If you want to discover all that this region has to offer, Get in Galicia has several possibilities designed for all tastes.
In the Circuit at your own pace through the Rías Altas and Costa da Morte, Get in Galicia Hotels has organised a 7-day route so that you do not miss anything of this wonderful Galician area, including places impossible to forget such as Betanzos, which was one of the seven provincial capitals of the ancient Kingdom of Galicia, Muros, and Costa da Morte, which includes the Ézaro waterfall and Fisterra, the place where it was believed that the known world ended and considered the most westerly point of Europe.
If in addition to visiting this wonderful area you wish to stay in places with something more special such as Monasteries, Pazos, Paradors or other charming accommodations, Get in Galicia has at your disposal the Circuit at your own pace through the Rías Altas: Costa da Morte.
And as the last option of this itinerary to travel with the maximum comfort and safety there is the Bubble Circuit (private) through the Rías Altas and Costa da Morte in Hotels.
The other possible itinerary that we recommend contains one day visiting the Costa da Morte is the Circuit on your own - Galician Coast and Cíes Islands - Hotels in which you will be able to visit most of the western coast of Galicia, Santiago de Compostela, Ría de Arousa, Pontevedra, Cíes Islands and of course Finisterre with its lighthouse at the end of the world. An itinerary to enjoy the contrasts that make Galicia so special.
And to enjoy this wonderful trip in even more exclusive and unique accommodation Get in Galicia has prepared the Circuit at your leisure - Galician Coast and Cíes Islands - With Charm where you can stay in Paradors, Pazos and other charming places.