By Martin Lambert
Although not the most obvious of beach resort destinations, Galicia is actually in possession of more beaches and more miles of coastline than any other region in Spain. It also has every combination of sand and sea characteristic that you can think of, with one exception that is.
The exception is of course the sea temperature. Galicia faces the Atlantic Ocean and does not benefit from the warmer waters of the Mediterranean like so many of Spain's southern resorts. There are however compensations and one of these is the ability to relax on a near deserted and sometimes totally abandoned stretch of sand. Other pluses are the cleanliness of the beaches, fewer people mean little if any litter and the lack of commercialisation means that all but the most popular beaches are devoid of "pedaloes", jet ski's and wind surfers.
The rambling coastline of Galicia results in there being two distinct types of beach. The first group lie in the protected bays or "rias", whilst the second category occupy the more exposed positions looking out towards the open ocean. Beaches that nestle in the small bays tend to have calm seas that rapidly encompass the sand when the tide comes in and this, combined with the shallow waters of these bays, keeps the sea temperature higher than in the more exposed areas.
If you want waves, then the ocean facing beaches are ideal and Galicia has several surf clubs whose members are adequately challenged by the motion of the sea. Equally, if you would like a beach with lifeguards, showers and hospitality facilities, Galicia will have no difficulty meeting your requirements. Many of the region's larger beaches, especially the ones close to the cities and bigger towns, are similar to those on Spain's southern Costas and have all the amenities you are likely to require.
The location of Galicia's beaches, whilst not a closely kept secret, may sometimes appear that way. The relative lack of English speaking tourists mean that you will not see beaches clearly sign posted. In fact you may not see any signs at all and those that you will see will be in the local language of gallego and not Spanish. This means that the word beach, or "playa becomes "praia and even then often appearing on nothing more than a wooden "T bar a foot or two off the ground.
Finding the smaller and often more appealing beaches can become a mini task in itself, but it tends to be these "hard to find beaches that you will want to go back to. It is also on beaches like these that you have the best chance of spotting dolphins. Many of the bays are visited by them and if you see a fishing boat collecting lobster pots there is a good chance that the dolphins will be somewhere nearby.
Finally if nothing here appeals remember that Galicia, unlike many other Spanish regions, does not stop at the end of the beach. This is an area rich in culture, history and gastronomy. Galicia does not have a parched landscape, in fact quite the reverse. If you want green meadows, dense forests or inland mountains, Galicia is the place and if you want to get off the regular Spanish holiday trail, then this region may be the next Spanish holiday destination for you.
About The Author
Martin Lambert - Webmaster of galiciaguide.com, the internet's largest English language destination guide about the region, its provinces, cities and towns. For more information on Galicia's beaches go to http://www.galiciaguide.com. From here you can find out about the many beaches that fill Galicia's coastline.