5 days on Galicia’s Illa de Arousa-Our Post Camino de Santiago Rest Days
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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The rock formations along this point are lovely. We got some close up views of the mussel farms from here as well.
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.
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.
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.
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