Discover one of the country's best kept secrets
Galicia? Where’s that?
This is often the response when talking about this part of Spain to an outsider. Spain for most people, is the south, Costa Blanca? or the Balearic or Canary Island.
However we have recently experienced an influx of foreign interest in the area. This mostly undiscovered area has suddenly caught their interest.
Could it be global warming which promises to raise temperatures in the coming years and that Galicia and Green Spain now seem more appealing?
Could it be that it is virtually untouched by massive tourism and retains its natural beauty not only on its magnificent coastline with white sandy beaches but also in the rural areas with its lush green beauty?
Galicia does benefit from more moderate temperatures than further north and the sun is rarely far away so very few grey days, but when it rains….it rains. Thanks to this we have a combination of lush green mountains and an unspoilt coastline.
It’s a place for dreams and dream homes but mostly a dream lifestyle.
Whether it be restoring an old stone farmhouse and working the land with a few chickens, or living in the centre and working in one of its vibrant and friendly cities or it may even be a little bit of both. It’s time to explore this wonderful region and find out whether you can find your very own dream!
Gabrielle – Gondomar, Vigo Pontevedra
“My name is Gabrielle, I was born in South London but moved to Spain with my family when I was 5 years old. I grew up in Galicia, firstly on the outskirts of the City of Vigo, and then in the Val Miñor, which translates to the Miñor Valley, it was a collection of small towns by the sea and the mountains.
My upbringing there was a happy one. It was a safe and sleepy environment most of the time. The small towns that neighboured ours, were mountainy and green or fishing towns with beaches and promenade walkways next to the sea, for walking or cycling.
In the winter it would tend to be quite rainy, but you’d get the odd week of pure sunshine, which made the leafy green landscapes shine radiantly.
In the summer the valley was full of life, with fiestas and ferias (parties and festivals), where the locals would all gather to enjoy the wonderful weather, also on the coasts many water sports were practised. Many people from the rest of Spain and other countries would come to visit and enjoy the great food of the area as well as its beaches and landscapes.
Galician people are generally very kind, open and helpful people, with a positive outlook and a keen sense of what’s a good time. They love their festivals and traditions and are keen for you to try their cuisine and tell you stories about the area. Galicia has its own language, which is recognised as official, which meant me and my siblings had to study it at school.
Overall I would say that Galicia is a wonderful place to grow up and live in general, if you don’t mind a bit of rain and love northern Spanish cuisine and culture, I think it’s easy to say you will be happy here.”
Caroline Harris – Gondomar, Pontevedra. Galicia
“My name is Caroline and I moved to Galicia with my four small children in 2002. I was originally from South London and spent most of my young life there.
I did however have a connection to Galicia as My mother was born here and we often had holidays in Vigo in Pontevedra and Monforte in the Ribera Sacra. We had previously lived 2 years in Catalunya in Castedelfells near Barcelona and later in Segur de Calafell a little further south on the Costa Dorada.
I wanted a different childhood for my children and a different lifestyle than I had experienced in London which was the main reason for moving to Spain. And after a little adjusting, we found it. We found a welcoming, children-friendly environment in Galicia, and lived life simply but to its full. We didn’t have a two-week holiday package holiday a year but went to the beach nearly every day after school to eat a picnic lunch and watch the waves. It was and still is magical. Although it wasn’t plain sailing, we had to learn the language, there was a lot of paperwork which I still find hard to make sense of and the work ethic was quite different from what I had been used to, however, the pros outweighed the cons.
We felt safe, freer, much more than I had ever felt living in London. So we immersed ourselves in the local customs, culture and local pastimes including the siesta!”
Peter Duff – Ribadavia Lugo
“I moved to Ribadavia (Ourense) in Galicia from Oregon in the US last year.
This area should certainly be on your list of considerations. International travel options are available from Santiago de Compostela which is 1 hour away by car or train if you prefer.
There are several hot springs in the area which range from the rustic and free original Roman ones at Beade to the high-end Spa experience at Laias which costs a whopping 16 euros.
Ribadavia is a medieval town with a Castle and ancient churches, cobblestone streets and a delightful pedestrian town square.
There are lots of cafes with great coffee and several restaurants with everything from Pizza parlour to fine dining. This is principally a wine region and the wine options are never-ending,
There are over 40 internationally represented vineyards bottling in this Ribeiro region and tours and tastings are easily arranged. It’s a gardener’s paradise with everything from orange to heather growing happily.
Bureaucracy is somewhat cumbersome but friendly, and the locals are a very helpful bunch. Most people in the area under 35 seem to have a good grasp of English but hesitate to use it, however.
From my experience living in the US and Ireland and having spent time in Italy and France, Crime is zero here, the sense of calm is refreshing.
The weather is wonderful and with a little research, you can find your own micro-climate whatever your choice. There are seasons here but keep in mind Orange trees are laden with fruit in February, expect light touches of frost in a chilly few months of winter at this elevation, move a few miles and you might get snow.
There are spectacular beaches but 45 minutes away, rocky mountaintop hiking and spectacular river gorges but a few hours away.
There is a fully sanctioned “Camino” pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela which passes through Ribadavia. You can get a Pilgrims passport in the tourist office at the town square and walk the qualifying 109 km from here.
If you are into Village markets and strange festivals you will be amazed at the variety here, it is endless. From the burning of the Sardine to the Festival of the goats there is something every week. Real estate prices are extremely low by US and British prices and the bones of some of the older properties are usually 2-foot thick solid granite in this area providing a basis for dramatic renovation options.
I can highly recommend Caroline for her attention to detail and knowledge of the area and also as a simply pleasant person to deal too.”
Shoot us an email or give us a call, we are always delighted to find out your story and assist you in your adventure.