As a told you before, Pontevedra has lots to offer to travelers. It’s a charming city with a nice cultural and gastronomical offer, but while you pay a visit, I would recommend to get lost in the beautiful surroundings of Rias Baixas.
Here there is plenty to do and more to see, but there are a couple of hidden spots you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Pontevedra. And all of them are in 30 minutes or less by car. Promise you, you’re gonna love these:
5 awesome side trips to add to your visit to Pontevedra:
Combarro is a small fishing village only 20 minutes away from Pontevedra. It is located in the northern shore of the Ria de Pontevedra right across Marin town.
The place is worldwide famous for being one of the only towns in all Galicia to have hórreos (traditional galician granaries) by the sea; and for the big amount of them (up to 30) they have in such a small village. They are also famous for the narrow streets full of restaurants and small shops selling meigas (doll witches) and licor café (a strong typical liquor from the area made with coffee), and the cruceiros (typical Galician stone crosses.)
I would say restaurants are a bit expensive compared to other places in Galicia in terms of price/quality, but the views are amazing. Try local stingray stew at Leucoiña restaurant or grilled octopus at the small harbor in the middle of town.
Where: Combarro, Spain
GPS: Lat: 42.4305807 Lng: -8.706737799999999
San Adrián de Cobres and San Simón Cove
The area of San Simon cove, at Ria de Vigo is another charming place. While the island can only be visited during Summer, you can get a good glimpse of it from the Vilaboa area, specially from the harbor at San Adrian de Cobres.
The harbor is also a great spot to watch the mussel rafts (here known as bateas) and the mussel ships that come by.
The place is also known because of its carnival festivities (here known as Entroido) wich have medieval roots and have been declared of Touristic Interest in the Region.
Salinas de Ulló
Also at the Vilaboa area, you will find the Ulló salt flats. Created in the XVII Century, the walled area was once a salt factory where the monks used to obtain salt from the sea water that enters the Ria.
While there are no salt deposits here anymore, you can still see the remains of one of the only tide mills that used to exist in all Galicia. There is also a short hiking route that starts here with traditional watermills (PRG-106) and the remains of the old houses from the people who used to work the salt marshes.
It also belongs to Natura 2000 Network of protected ecosystems. You will find many birds like the grey heron (Ardea cinerea), the Eurasian bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) or the wigeon (Anas penelope), among many others.
Close to here you will find the petroglyphs of Chan dos Areeiros, which I told you about here
Where: Vilaboa, Spain
GPS: Lat: 42.354500 Lng: -8.632667
River beach at Ponte Caldelas
Not every beach in Rias Baixas is located by the sea. Located in Ponte Caldelas, on the same river that crosses Pontevedra city, A Calzada is a very popular one during summer.
The beach has also a nice hiking route and is the only Spanish river beach awarded with the Blue Flag from the EU.
Close by is also the Archaeological Site of Tourón, which I told you about here.
Where: Ponte Caldelas, Spain
GPS: Lat: 42.39098878904635 Lng: -8.491538070238436
Marín and its white sand beaches
Marín is widely known in Spain because of the Marines School where King Felipe studied when he was doing the military service. While that was long, long ago, and the town has changed with the years, the place is also known to provide the best beaches near Pontevedra city, with Blue Flag from the EU.
Portocelo, Mogor (where the Labyrinth petroglyph is located), Aguete or Lapamán are great places to witness a beautiful sunrise or enjoy the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Also, you can go from Portocelo to Santo do Mar beach on a 8,5 bike route that goes next by the coast.
Where: Marín, Spain
GPS: Lat: 42.38985 Lng:-8.70589166667
We discovered these spots on a staycation sponsored trip with #TerrasdePontevedra DMO. You can watch these spots live through the fantastic video from our visit from Jairo feat. wonderful soul mates Avistu from Viajablog, Alicia Bea from Objetivo Viajar, Manel from Shu the Bear, Monica from El Viaje de Sofi, María and Jorge from Viaxadoiro, Alberto and Kike from La Alacena Roja and Alberto from Mais Grelos
Some extra info
Although there are some regular buses visiting many of these spots from Pontevedra, truth is they are better explored by car. They are all located in less than 30 minutes from the city (by car).
They all have public parking areas and it is quite easy to find where to park in low and mid season. High season might be a bit more difficult, but never impossible.
How to get there
By train: Renfe operates direct trains to Pontevedra from Vigo, Santiago de Compostela and even Madrid and Barcelona on a daily basis. Connecting trains with Portugal, Ponferrada or Irun are also available
By plane: Closest airport is Vigo (VGO 30km), next: Santiago de Compostela (SCQ 59km).