Pontevedra Travel Guide
Pontevedra Local History
The city of Pontevedra is an aristocratic old Spanish town on the Lerez River. It is the capital of Pontevedra province, and it still sports vestiges of an ancient wall that once encircled the town. During the medieval days, the town was referred to as Pontis Veteris (Old Bridge). Sheltered at the end of the Pontevedra Ria, the city was a bustling port, and in the Middle Ages, some of the best Galician seamen lived in Pontevedra. Foreign merchants mingled with local traders, seamen, and fishers. It was the home of Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, the 16th-century navigator and cosmographer who wrote Voyage to the Magellan Straits.
In the 18th century, Pontevedra entered a period of decline, because the Lerez delta silted up and the busy commerce moved elsewhere, mainly to Vigo. This may account for its significant old section. The ancient structures had never been renovated or rebuilt after this period. The old mansions are called pazos, and they speak of former marine glory, since it was the sea that provided the money to build them. Seek out such charming squares as Plaza de la Lena, Plaza de Mugartegui, and Plaza de Teucro.
Pontevedra Parks & Gardens
The Springs of Mera - The river Mera is one of the most beautiful tributaries of the river Mino. Near its mouth, at the foot of the Segade mountain, the going becomes more difficult, but this effort is rewarded by the waterfalls and gorges. A mill and several paths, some almost inside the river itself, complete a worthy and varied countryside due to its short distance. The main problem with visiting the Mera waterfalls is the fact that the ground can be slippery in some parts.
O Piago - This is a place quite popular to local visitors in summer. In winter it is a country attraction not to be missed. This is a spot where the river rises and makes one of the most impressive wave breakers of its high course. Years ago, this area was very different. The river flowed down very calmly, flowing over a lot of stones. Then, in the thirties, a company decided to make a small reservoir for a small hydroelectric centre. The people from Martul, the village just above Piago, worked the stone, which happens to be very good quality, and made the wall which now breaks the river's flow. After 70 years, the centre is still in operation and that old stone wall acts as a trampoline for the water.
Lakes of Teixeiro - Teixeiro has been largely replanted with conifers, and at the same time recreational areas were created with tables, barbecues and a lot of fountains. Artificial lakes were also built, supplied by small natural streams. This is a very popular place, with other leisure activities close by, such as a riding club and running track. In the surrounding area motorbike scrambling is quite common. A few years ago they tried to keep deer in captivity, but it was not successful. Teixeiro offers a lot of paths to explore on foot, by bike or running. Make a point of going up to the watch house where there is a wide panoramic view of the region.
Menduina - This is a beach which belongs to the Aldan estuary. It is very well equipped for tourism and has various infrastructures, such as beach bars, showers and restaurants. The swimming area is marked out, and on the right-hand side there is a small pier. It has been granted a Blue Flag, and offer fine white sand with still wave conditions. Located at O Morrazo, Cangas (Pontevedra).
A Lanzada - This beautiful, long beach of 2400 meters, offers fine white sand and heavy wave conditions. Its fine sand and turquoise waters have made this a true paradise. Opposite the beach, in the distance, you will see the pretty Island of Ons, quite a popular boat trip. It is highly recommended for scuba-diving. In winter, the left hand side of the beach is used for surfing (closest to Sanxenxo). The beach is flanked by rocks that cover the beach. It has many services, such as open-air bars, beach chairs, showers, etc. and has been awarded a Blue Flag. Located at O Salnes, O Grove (Pontevedra).
Playa de Gauchino - This is just one of the beaches of Ria de Arousa that is worth a visit. You get to it through a pine forest from the road that goes to Cambados a O'Grove, turning off at km 36. Situated nearby is Turbot farm. The beach offers 150 meters of fine white sand with still waves. Located in O Salnes, Cambados (Pontevedra).
Portomaior - The lovely beach has been awarded the blue flag, and it is in excellent condition. It is very clean and contains all kinds of infrastructures, as well as a lifeguard service. It is shell-shaped and has an area cordoned off for bathers. In the area behind the beach, there are small sand dunes. On the right hand side there is a small forest and on the left is the beach of Agrela, both parts being separated by a rocky area. The beach has a length of 400 meters and offers fine white sand with still wave conditions. Located in Bueu (Pontevedra).
Area Brava - This lovely beach is characterized by the surrounding dunes. The beach has fine white sands and turquoise-blue waters. The still wave condition makes it a good family vacation spot. Located at O Morrazo, Cangas (Pontevedra).
Lapamian - A pretty beach, offering 600 meters of fine white sand and still waves. It is located in a privileged area with an abundant vegetation. On the right-hand side there is a small viewpoint accessed by some steps from the beach itself. The beach is very well equipped, with open-air bars, volleyball nets, restaurants, etc. Visitors also get good views of Isla de San Clemente from here. Located at O Morrazo, Marin (Pontevedra).
Pontevedra Restaurants and Bars
The great cuisine from Pontevedra is defined by the abundance of products that the estuaries provide in the region of Rias Baixas, a fish and seafood paradise. The Mino River is the source of many valued species, from eel to salmon, not to mention lamprey. Pontevedra offers a varied cuisine that beautifully combines tradition with the newest trends, always managing to bring out the exceptional quality of the local products.
Seafood lovers will really enjoy Pontevedra. There are many species that have Pontevedra as part of their surname, always an indication of great quality. These include Norway lobsters from Marin, shrimp from Sanxenxo, lobsters from A Guarda, oysters from Arcade, mussels from Arousa and clams from Carril. All these products are exceptional and added to this are also velvet swim crab, spider crabs, cockles, razor shells, scallops and variegated scallops, that are used in the most delicious recipes. This region also prepares some scrumptious caldeiradas de pescado (fish stew), specially the ray stews, which are traditional in Portonovo.
Pontevedra is the land of the "Albarinos", wines that are currently under the Designation of Origin Rias Baixas for being among the best white wines in the world. They also make excellent liqueurs, like the orujo (liqueur distilled from grape remains) from Albarino, which are aromatic, clean, of excellent quality.
Casa Roman - Known for the quality of its food, this long-established restaurant is on the street level of a brick apartment building in a leafy downtown development known as Campolongo, near Plaza de Galicia. To reach the dining room, visitors pass through a tavern. In addition to lobster, a wide array of well-prepared fish and shellfish dishes are served here, including sea bass, squid, sole, crab, and tuna. Main courses are 11 - 19, and there is a fixed-price menu at 18. Located on Augusto Garcia Sanchez 12. Tel: 98/6843-560.
Casa Solla - In business for nearly half a century, this is an old-time favourite that showcases the culinary imagination of its owner and chef, Pepe Solla. He calls his cuisine comida de autur, which means he creates his own recipes, although inspired by the Galacian kitchen. His restaurant lies 2km from the center of town in the direction of the resort island of El Grove. Tables are placed out on a terrace with a stone wall. Whatever he selects to serve, including grilled loin of beef or the simple pork chop, Solla chooses to imbue with his own taste, style, and flavour. Recommended is the freshly caught Galacian sole, or a filet mignon in an albarino wine sauce, and both are a delight. Another specialty is the very satisfying dish, green pepper stuffed with seafood. The most delightful finish to a meal is the fresh figs of summer served with Cabrales cheese. Reservations are recommended, and main courses are 19 - 25. Casa Solla is located on Avenida Sineiro 7, Km 2, San Salvador de Poio. Tel: 98/6872-884.
Dona Antonia - Without question, Pontevedra's best restaurant. Situated under a stone arcade on one of the town's oldest streets, east of the Jardines Vincenti, this restaurant will keep you coming back for more. In such a provincial town, it is surprising to come across a restaurant of such sophistication and refinement. Most diners are filled with joy at this discovery. There is a pristine freshness to the dishes prepared with fish just caught off the coast. The reward for all this culinary vigilance is a loyal clientele of contented food lovers. Menu items include baked suckling lamb, scaloppine with port, rolled filet of salmon, and kiwi sorbet. Reservations are required, and main courses are 11 - 21. The restaurant is located on Soportales de la Herreria 4. 2nd floor. Tel: 98/6847-274.
La Taberna de Rotilio (H. Rotilio) - This is one of the most suggestive restaurants in Galicia. It lies on the ground floor of the Rotilio hotel, in the middle of Sanxenxo port and in the heart of Pontevedra estuary. Recommended is the fish and seafood dishes, Norway lobster salad, Cockle scrambled eggs, and seaweed served on garlic bread. Other favourites include Scallop pasty, and skate served on an onion tart brushed with oil and garlic. The restaurant has the capacity to seat 50, and reservations are recommended. Average price for main courses is 20 - 40, and there is a Gourmet menu on offer at 38. The menu is available in various languages and the restaurant is closed Sunday evenings and Mondays. Located in Avenida del Puerto, 7-9 36960. Tel: Tel: 98/6720-200.
Pontevedra Bars & Clubs
Nightlife in Pontevedra - Visitors will find a random scattering of pubs and bars sprawling on either side of the streets that interconnect the Plaza Santa Maria la Mayor, in the northwestern quadrant of the town's historic core, with the very central Plaza de la Herreria. Part of the charm of the neighbourhood involves stopping randomly at whatever pub or cafe appeals to you, each awakens from its slumber after around 8:30pm. By midnight on the weekends, rhythmic electronic music emanates from the town's most popular disco, the Disco Caravas (Calle Cobian Rafinac 6). Disco Caravas appeals to high-energy dance freaks in their early 20s.
Do not even think of heading off to a Pontevedra disco before midnight, as it is likely to be locked until then (but the music keeps pumping until 4am). Expect entrance charges of around 4.20, depending on the night of the week.
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