Fall more in love in Rías Baixas

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Nature, history and architecture are an everlasting combination. The waterfall of Toxa River (in Silleda town) can be reached after crossing a forest of oaks, chestnut trees and cork oaks, covered by moss and lichen, as well as granitic rocks nearby. You can drive along the road guided by the black gravel mountains and following the wooden signs that indicate the turning you should take, once in a walking path, to let yourself guided by the sound of water, until you get to the magnificent landscape of the fervenza (waterfall in Galician language) surrounded by native flora and fauna: trout, blackbirds, lizards, holly trees, oaks...

About six kilometers down the rivers Toxa and Deza, you reach the monastery of San Lourenzo de Carboeiro, after crossing a suspension bridge, visiting a chapel and seeing a river beach. There the trail becomes a Roman road leading to the monastery. There you can enjoy one of the best samples of Romanesque in Galicia.

Very near, in the municipality of A Estrada, we find the quintessential romantic enclave in Rías Baixas, the Pazo de Oca and its gardens, known as "the Galician Versailles". It is perhaps the most elegant and best preserved Pazo in Galicia and was declared a historic monument in 1983 and heritage of cultural interest (Bien de Interés Cultural (BIC) in Spanish). It dates back to the 18th century and nowadays it stands out for its architecture, including all the elements of a Galician palace, as well as the botanic garden that surrounds the property.

Its 18th century baroque style and the enlargement of the garden by François Viet, in the 19thcentury, turned this into a sensory experience: olfactory and visual stimuli are awakened by rhododendrons, azaleas and ineffable camellias. You will perceive that are accompanied by the sound of water, since fountains, streams and ponds will attract your steps.

Soutomaior Castle is also known for its gardens but having a history linked to the medieval battles and ancient manors. It stands on a hill 119 meters above sea level, with views to the valley of the Verdugo River and the mouth of the inlet of San Simón. After being a defensive site it became a place of agricultural and livestock production for the nobility living in the field.

After belonging to several marquisates, the architectural complex was handed over to the Provincial Council of Pontevedra, whose rehabilitation opened the inside of the castle to visitors and provided a new look and use to the gardens. But the real changes started in the 19th century. At that time the proprietors designed the garden that a century later would be designated as International Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society. The best season to contemplate the camellia flower is in winter, when the trees are in full bloom. Besides this type of tree, being an ideal decoration for a garden, you can walk along the paths and know the 175 different plant species. Here fountains and ponds, sculptures and granaries, are the witnesses of an unforgettable walk.

In Castiñeiras Lake, at 550 meters above sea level, you can enjoy moments of peace contemplating the magnificent views of the Vigo estuary, an entertain yourself with a visit to a wildlife park. A playground, walking trails and a chance to visit them by bicycle or horse make this area a perfect attraction to be enjoyed with friends.

Cotorredondo area, where the lake is located, comprises three municipalities: Marín, Moaña and Vilaboa and has native and foreign tree species, as well as riparian forests. You can be surprised by herds of horses grazing free and visit two bird observatories. Finding a place to enjoy your picnic will not be a problem, since the park is large and the tables are wide apart. In addition it has three cafeterias to rest if you have decided to tour the whole park.

In Lake Castiñeiras, as a protected area, it is not allowed to swim so if you want to swim at sunset, you can go to A Lanzada Beach and enjoy its more than two-kilometres of sand, imagining how it would be to visit other places in the world and find beaches as those you can enjoy in Rías Baixas. An ideal summer plan is to stay until sunset and then go to a nearby town such as San Vicente do Mar where you can enjoy music and entertainment activities.

Taking care of the senses is a good idea in any situation, but when is shared with your partner is twice pleasant. There are special places such as Balneario de Mondariz, where professional services are provided using the most modern methods. In addition, you can relax in its hot springs in a more traditional way, as the perfect prelude to one (or more) days entirely dedicated to your enjoyment, surrounded by a landscape of another era, where you can easily disconnect from the rest of the world.

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Attractions of the Experience
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