5 days on Galicia’s Illa de Arousa-Our Post Camino de Santiago Rest Days

Aerial View of Illa de Arousa (image courtesy of Diara de Arousa)

Aerial View of Illa de Arousa (image courtesy of Diara de Arousa)

 

Illa de Arousa is the only island in the autonomous region of Galicia. It is located in the heart of the Ria de Arousa, a saline estuary.  It is the largest of the estuaries in Galicia. The island is 4.35 sq miles and has 5,000 residents according to their official website. To get there you have to cross a bridge that is 1.25 miles long. The island has been declared a Natural Preserve by the European Union due to its 22 miles of pristine coastline. Its economy is solely based on its mussel farms, fishing, and tourism industry.

It has a national park called Parque Natural de Carreirón which is protected because of its Grey Heron population. This beach, like all the beaches on the island, is fine white sand. It is also a clothing optional beach at the farthest end. The interesting thing is that it also has walking trails and one of them connects with the Camino de Santiago’s Portuguese Route (Variante Espiritual) I didn’t know this until I arrived at the parking area and saw the sign below. I feel like I’m being stalked by St. James now 🙂

 

Camino marker for the Variante Espiritual of the Portuguese way

Camino marker for the Variante Espiritual of the Portuguese way

 

 

White sand beach of the Parque Natural de Carreirón

White sand beach of the Parque Natural de Carreirón

 

Billy cooked us a wonderful meal late one evening in this park. He had brought with him a little camping stove and it came in very handy to make a fresh home cooked meal. In front of us was the beautiful beach and behind us was the wetland area. This granite bench and table are set right along the walking path.

 

Dinner on the beach

Dinner on the beach

 

Sunset dinner on the beach

Sunset dinner on the beach

 

We took a drive up to the highest point (206 ft) on the island known in Galician as Mirador O Con do Forno. It’s a small lookout with a giant statue of Christ.

 

Christ Statue

Christ Statue

 

Christ Statue

Christ Statue

 

From the lookout you can see the estuary and most of the village. The land mass in the distance is not part of the island. It’s actually on the other side of the estuary and about an hour away by car.

 

Illa de Arousa from the Mirador

Illa de Arousa from the Mirador

 

Irene and Billy at the lookout

Irene and Billy at the lookout

 

On this side of the island is a very quiet little beach called Playa Area de Secada. The rock formations on the shoreline are encrusted with mussels. It’s a lovely beach with a shaded area. We had fun just playing with the mussels. The water was chilly but we still went swimming. It’s the Atlantic coast so the water will never be Caribbean warm. It was tolerable since the day was sunny and warm.

 

Playa Area de Secada-Illa de arousa

Playa Area de Secada-Illa de arousa

 

 

The natural beauty of the beaches of Illa de Arousa

The natural beauty of the beaches of Illa de Arousa

 

 

Mussels naturally growing along the beaches

Mussels naturally growing along the beaches

 

Mussels

Mussels

 

 

Very near this beach is a lighthouse called Faro de Punta Cabalo (Point Cabalo Lighthouse). If you look hard at the first picture below, you can see the beach on the right beyond the railing. This is a working lighthouse and it also has a cafe on the ground floor.

 

Illa de Arousa Lighthouse (Faro de Punta Cabalo)

Illa de Arousa Lighthouse (Faro de Punta Cabalo)

 

Illa de Arousa Lighthouse

Illa de Arousa Lighthouse

 

The rock formations along this point are lovely. We got some close up views of the mussel farms from here as well.

 

Cool rock formation

Cool rock formation

 

Billy looking out onto the mussel farms

Billy looking out onto the mussel farms

 

The center of the village is the port of Xufre. This is where the restaurants, grocery store, and bank are located. The food in the restaurants is wonderful as you can imagine. Fresh seafood is on the menu daily. This is not a place for visitors who don’t have at least basic Spanish under their belt. One restaurant had a single English menu that they gave to Billy when they decided it was easier than having me translate everything on the menu for him 🙂 They were all very nice people and very welcoming. They were quite excited to have a couple of Americans in their little village. Especially when one of them was fluent in Spanish and they could question me on how we had found them.

 

Port Panorama

Port Panorama

 

Billy looking out at port Xufre

Billy looking out at port Xufre

 

 

Virgen del Carmen at port Xufre

Virgen del Carmen at port Xufre

 

The center of town-Port Xufre

The center of town-Port Xufre

 

Plate of fresh octopus and shrimp

Plate of fresh octopus and shrimp

 

And this is what Billy does when he’s done devouring the shrimp. He stacks them up like cords of wood. The waitress was very amused at his creativity.

 

Stacked up shrimp

Stacked up shrimp

 

That’s about all there is to tell about this sleepy little fishing island. I rented an apartment on Airbnb that was right on the water. It had a large living and dining area, a fully stocked kitchen, and 3 full bedrooms with 2 full baths. These are pictures of our apartment in Illa de Arousa. The total cost for 5 nights was $550 and that included cleaning fees and VAT tax. This was one of the pricier places we’ve rented, just to give you some perspective.

If you decide you want to rent a place with Airbnb I’d appreciate it if you do it through THIS link. You will get a credit for reserving through my link and so will I. If my blog has been of any help to you this is a great way to say thanks 🙂 No information about your trip is sent to me. We just both get the credit.

 

 

 

If you have questions on how to select apartments with Airbnb please leave them in the comments. We have been using them for a few years now and have had great success locating spectacular apartments for killer prices. Thanks again for reading!

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