We can see if they are white or reddish, or pink. We can also check whether they are fragrant or not. In the latter case, we can discover that this is a variety of Camellia japonica. Meanwhile, we can be seduced by such a great story, which is difficult to imagine at first sight. Part of the beauty of our romantic gardens can be enjoyed when we get lost among stones, plants such as box, magnolias, and especially among camellias, always with the music of water on the background. We can walk through the tallest trees in the world –the garden of the Pazo de Lourizán has the tallest camellia specimen in Europe- and through those with the longest perimeter. In this case, the gardens of the Castle of Soutomaior have the camellia tree with the largest crown diameter. However, when we make reference to the great tourist, historical and artistic interest of the flower of As Rías Baixas, its magnificence cannot be quantified by any metric unit. It was in the middle of the 20th century when the camellias became popular in all the gardens and streets of the region.
The gardens of Pontevedra, cultivated with the greatest care and dedication, bring the visitor closer to the beauty of a plant that blooms, while all neighbouring plants seem to sleep. She is responsible for filling with light the dark days of winter. And she succeeds. The Route of the Camellia comprises authentic botanic gardens: the Park of Soutomaior, the Park of O Castro, the Pazo de Lourizán, the Pazo de Oca, the Pazo de Rubianes, the Pazo de A Saleta, the Pazo Quinteiro da Cruz, the Pazo de Gandarón or the gardens of the Park of Quiñones de León. This route has a distinctive colour and scent, but also a special flavour –the tea and the oil that are elaborated every year with this flower, a present from the East to the West. The sense of touch is also present in the camellia soap, which is an effective moisturizer. The senses of sight, smell or taste are the protagonists of this route.
This is the itinerary suggested in the Route of the Camellia in As Rías Baixas. But, let's start from the beginning: the route runs from the north to the south of the province. You need to write down the following stops:
- Pazo de Oca
- Pazo de Rubianes
- A Saleta
- Pazo de Lourizán
- Castle of Soutomaior
- Parque de O Castro
- Pazo Museo Quiñones de León (Castrelos)
- Pazo Quinteiro da Cruz
- Pazo de Gandarón