Must see attractions in Rías Altas

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cabo Ortegal & Around

    Cabo Ortegal

    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.

  • Top ChoiceSights in A Coruña

    Torre de Hércules

    It was actually the Romans who originally built this lighthouse at the windy northern tip of the city, in the 1st century CE – a beacon on the furthest edge of the civilised world. The outer facing of the 59m-high tower was added in 1788–90, but the inside is mostly original Roman. Climb the 200-plus steps for great panoramas over the headland and its outdoor sculpture park. Buses 3 and 5 run here from Porta Real near Plaza de María Pita.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Cabo Ortegal & Around

    Garita de Herbeira

    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 Herbeira, a naval lookout built in 1805, 615m above sea level and the best place to be awed by southern Europe's highest ocean cliffs.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bares Peninsula

    Punta da Estaca de Bares

    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 northerly point, with awe-inspiring cliffs and fabulous panoramas.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Ribadeo

    Praia As Catedrais

    This spectacular 1.5km sandy stretch is strung with awesome Gothic-looking rock towers, arches and chambers, sculpted by aeons of sea-water action. Avoid the hour or two either side of high tide when the beach is under water. Such is its popularity that during Semana Santa, July, August, September and some holiday weekends, permits (free from http://ascatedrais.xunta.gal) are required to go down on to the beach. Tickets or receipts from taxis, trains or buses to the beach are also valid for access.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Bares Peninsula

    'Best Bank of the World'

    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. It has acquired celebrity status under the English name 'Best Bank of the World', thanks to a confusion about the Spanish word banco, meaning both bench and bank. You may have to queue up to actually sit on it.

  • Sights in Betanzos

    Old Town

    Take Rúa Castro up from the central Praza Irmáns García Naveira to the handsome Praza da Constitución, flanked by a couple of appealing cafes along with the Romanesque/Gothic Igrexa de Santiago, whose main portico was inspired by Santiago de Compostela's Pórtico de la Gloria. A short stroll northeast, two beautiful Gothic churches, Santa María do Azougue and San Francisco, stand almost side by side opposite the municipal market. San Francisco is full of particularly fine carved-stone tombs.

  • Top ChoiceSights in A Coruña

    Museo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología

    Not just for techies, the National Science and Technology Museum will engage everybody. You'll see the first computer used in Spain (a monstrous IBM 650 from 1959), and the entire front section of a Boeing 747. Perhaps most fascinating is the room displaying innovations from every year of the 20th century – a 1965 SEAT 600 (the tiny car that 'got Spain motoring'), a Sony PlayStation (1994), a 1946 state-of-the-art pencil sharpener and much more.

  • Sights in A Coruña

    Casa Museo Picasso

    Pablo Picasso lived in this large apartment from the age of nine to 13 (1891–95), while his father taught art at a nearby school. The apartment is kitted out with period furniture and copies of the many paintings and drawings that Picasso did while here, testament to his precocious talent. Ring the bell to enter.

  • Sights in Parque Natural Fragas do Eume

    Mosteiro de Monfero

    Founded in 1134, this grand old monastery, standing in splendid isolation, was abandoned in the 19th century but has been partly restored. It has three cloisters, but most impressive is the domed 17th-century baroque church, with a very handsome western facade where alternating granite and slate panels form a chequerboard pattern between tall Corinthian columns.

  • Sights in Betanzos

    Igrexa de San Francisco

    This 14th-century Gothic church contains many carved-stone sepulchres of Galician nobility. Don't miss the sepulchre of Fernán Pérez de Andrade 'O Boo' (The Good), the local strongman who had the town's main three churches built. It rests on a stone bear and boar (the latter being the Andrade family emblem).

  • Sights in A Coruña

    Museo Arqueológico e Histórico

    The 16th-century Castillo de San Antón, the fort set on its own little promontory guarding the entrance to the port, now houses the Museo Arqueológico e Histórico, with a drily presented but extensive collection ranging widely over A Coruña’s prehistory and history.

  • Sights in A Coruña

    Aquarium Finisterrae

    Kids love the seal colony and the underwater Nautilus room (surrounded by sharks and 50 other fish species) at this excellent aquarium on the city's northern headland. The focus is on the marine life of Galicia's coasts and the Atlantic.

  • Sights in A Coruña

    Museo de Belas Artes

    Highlights at the sleek Fine Arts Museum include paintings by Rubens, Picasso, Tintoretto and Sorolla, an impressive collection of Goya prints and a fine exhibit of 19th-century Galician Sargadelos ceramics.

  • Sights in Bares Peninsula

    Praia do Picón

    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 Acantilados de Loiba cliffs. Easiest to reach is Praia do Picón, 2km from Loiba FEVE station. By road, turn off the AC862 at Km 63.4 and follow the DP6104 for 3km to Picón village, where a sharp left turn leads to a small picnic area and a path down to the beach.

  • Sights in Pontedeume

    Torreón dos Andrade

    The stout, 18m-high Andrade Tower was erected in the late 14th century, probably by Fernán Pérez de Andrade 'O Boo' (The Good), who fought on the winning side in wars among Castilian royalty and as a reward was made lord of a sizeable chunk of northern Galicia by King Enrique II. The tower contains a worthwhile interpretation centre on the Andrade family, who went on to dominate this area for two centuries, and also houses the local tourist office.

  • Sights in Cabo Ortegal & Around

    San Andrés de Teixido

    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 coastal hills a 12km drive north from Cedeira. You can sample the area's famed percebes at several cafes (€15 to €20 per half-kilo), and take a scenic ramble along the clifftops from the Chao do Monte viewpoint, 4km up the road towards Cedeira (or a steep 1km walk).

  • Sights in A Coruña

    Plaza de María Pita

    Stately Plaza de María Pita is rimmed with cafes and dominated by the early-20th-century Ayuntamiento and a monument to the heroine the square is named after – she's depicted here repelling the 1589 English invaders in a flowing dress.

  • Sights in A Coruña

    Monte de San Pedro

    This hilltop park 2km northwest of the city centre provides exceptional views over the city and coast, and contains the Cúpula Atlántica, an observation dome with displays on A Coruña, as well as a maze, cafe, restaurant and two very large 1920s guns. Part of the fun is getting up there in the Ascensor Panorámico, a large glass ball that slowly ascends the steep hillside from the Paseo Marítimo.

  • Sights in Parque Natural Fragas do Eume

    Mosteiro de Caaveiro

    From the Parque Natural Fragas do Eume's visitors centre, a paved road leads 7.5km along the thickly forested valley to a stone footbridge, where a 500m path leads up to the Mosteiro de Caaveiro. This abandoned monastery dates back to the 9th century and occupies a lovely, scenic outcrop in the woods. You can look round at any time; free guided tours are given in some seasons.