The lighthouse at Cabo Ortegal.

© Rudolf Ernst/Getty Images/iStock

Cabo Ortegal

Top choice in Rías Altas

Four kilometres north of the workaday fishing town of Cariño looms the mother of Spanish capes, Cabo Ortegal, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Bay of Biscay. Great stone shafts drop sheer into the ocean from such a height that the waves crashing on the rocks below seem pitifully benign. Os Tres Aguillóns, three jagged rocky islets, provide a home to hundreds of marine birds.

On the road from Cariño, you can stop at the Miradoiro Gabeira viewpoint to take the well-marked Senda de San Xiao path to the little Ermida de San Xiao do Trebo chapel (1.6km). The path traverses a forest, crosses the Río Soutullo and affords grand views. From the chapel you can rejoin the road and continue 1.5km to Cabo Ortegal.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rías Altas attractions

1. Garita de Herbeira

5.03 MILES

From San Andrés de Teixido the DP2205 winds up and across the Serra da Capelada towards Cariño. Six kilometres from San Andrés is the must-see Garita de…

2. 'Best Bank of the World'

6.16 MILES

This bench 400m west of Praia do Picón affords magnificent panoramas along the jagged coast all the way from the Punta da Estaca de Bares to Cabo Ortegal…

3. Praia do Picón

6.55 MILES

A few kilometres southwest of the Bares Peninsula, some of Spain's most dramatic and least-known beaches are strung along the foot of the spectacular…

4. San Andrés de Teixido

7.16 MILES

Busloads of tourists and pilgrims descend on the holy hamlet of San Andrés de Teixido, renowned for its sanctuary of relics of St Andrew, in a fold of the…

5. Punta da Estaca de Bares

9.22 MILES

From the lighthouse near the tip pf the Bares peninsula, a 500m trail follows the spine of a rock outcrop to the Punta da Estaca de Bares, Spain's most…

6. Museo Mares de Cedeira

12.33 MILES

Cedeira's Museum of the Seas is a loving tribute to the town's seafaring, and particularly fishing, traditions. On display are real and model boats,…

7. Castelo da Concepción

12.75 MILES

This fortress on the hill above Cedeira's harbour was built in the 18th century to guard the Ría de Cedeira. There's a small museum inside (hours variable…

8. Igrexa de Santiago-San Francisco

15.68 MILES

This 14th-century church is one of Galicia's finest pieces of Gothic architecture. Some images from Viveiro's Semana Santa processions are on display in…