Since 1963, the town of O Grove hosts in its harbor thousands of visitors eager to know one of the jewels of this geographically small peninsula that separates the estuaries of Arosa and Pontevedra: the Festa do Marisco. The Seafood Fair fills this seaside town during the early days of October with oysters, mussels, cockles, razor clams, prawns, scallops, shrimps, crabs, crayfish and goose barnacles, all at reasonable prices. This is a very popular gastronomic event of National Tourist Interest that, together with the beauty of its coast and the nearby Isla de la Toja, has turned this town into one of the most important tourist centers in Galicia. However, this wonderful part of the world hides many more treasures than its prized seafood. These are some of the things you cannot miss during your visit to this quaint fishing village framed in a landscape of colorful fishing boats and lush forests.
Thermal magic on the island of La Toja
The island of La Toja is connected to the town of O Grove through an ancient bridge. During centuries, the O Grove neighbors used the island as a place for grazing livestock, which they transported in boats. However, in the nineteenth century, everything changed: the discovery of curative muds (hence the name of A Toxa) and its medicinal waters gave birth to a spa that led to a dramatic increase in tourism. The thermal center was joined over the years by several luxury hotels, a marina, a golf course, a casino… Nevertheless, the environmental preservation of one of the quintessential Galician havens is excellent. In addition to its famous spa, the island hides among its lush vegetation the chapel of San Sebastian, built in the twelfth century and covered with scallop shells, located in the center and with a certain maritime charm.
Amazing beaches to get lost
The calm of the Arousa estuary or the open Atlantic? Don’t worry, the 10 kilometers of beaches satisfy all audiences. Thus, the eastern half of the coast is washed by the calm waters of the estuary, while the western half, with the long beach of La Lanzada as main example, is at the mercy of the rough Atlantic Ocean. But besides the famous La Lanzada beach, the Reboredo beaches (and they are quite a few!) are undoubtedly the most attractive in the peninsula of O Grove. They are small and secluded beaches of fine golden sand and pristine waters, surrounded by pine trees and delimited with large rocks. The feeling of calm pervades whomever finds them!
Between the village of O Grove and Punta del Castillo you will find two beautiful and quaint bays, Rons and Cons Roiboo, and two of the best beaches in the area: As Pipas and Mexilloeira. Very near, the coast of San Vicente do Mar has abundant lonely beaches, and south of the town of O Grove you can find the extraordinary coves of Area da Cruz, Paxareiras and, of course, La Lanzada. The latter holds a Blue Flag European Award because of its cleanness, and it offers many services. It is perfect for water sports!
At the end of the beach you will find the ancient fortress of A Lanzada, built in the tenth century on the remains of an ancient Phoenician lighthouse to fend off the Viking and Norman invasions that plagued this area. Nowadays, only part of one of the towers and the chapel stand. The church of the fortress, which was built in late Romanesque style, houses an image of the Virgin of La Lanzada. Every first of August, nearby villagers pay homage to her through a pilgrimage and a ritual bathing at midnight during at least nine waves in order to improve fertility.
A walk through other times
In addition to the remains of the fortress, O Grove treasures the first remains of a stable Roman settlement: the ruins of the fortified fort of Siradella. The Roman necropolis of Adro Vello has also endured the test of time. Here, just beside O Carreiro beach, you will still find a Roman villa, a cemetery, and a pagan temple converted to the Catholic faith during the Visigoth period. And if we leap some centuries in time, we can admire the 50 impressive sculptures exhibited permanently in the town center.
Paths to discover
Walk (between one and two hours) through paths that lead to beaches, mountains and cliffs and taste the always salty scent of air that will fill your lungs. For example, the “Ruta dos Lagarteiros” with just over 2 km, leads along the steep trails of Mount Siradella, where we you will be able to see some “Lagarteiros” or Kestrels, a small bird of prey that farmers love because they clean the crops from insects and small rodents. On this tour you will enjoy, at the same time, a clear view over the isthmus of A Lanzada and the spectacular granite rocks that you can find throughout the peninsula of O Grove. Taking the route that goes from Punta Moreiras, opposite the municipality’s aquarium, and follows the coast to the lagoon A Bodeira, next to Mexilloeira beach, is also highly recommended. Finally, you can always enjoy the calm that transmits the wooden path that runs from the marina of Pedras Negras to the area of Con Negro, and also be able to find wilderness areas and the rough sea of Arousa.