Exploring Galicia’s Lighthouses & The Tower of Hercules

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The northern coastline of Galicia, the North West region of Spain is littered with rugged cliffs, dramatic windswept coastal views, unspoilt hazy beaches and lonesome lighthouses keeping watch over the shoreline.

Lighthouses traditionally beam out their warnings of perilous rocky outcrops, reefs and harbours but they’re also a perfect way to mark stop offs on a coastal road trip. We headed out down the Galician coastline taking in the beauty of this regions scenery from lighthouse lookouts along the way, you can check out our full Galicia itinerary here.

“Who doesn’t love a good lighthouse?”

“Who doesn’t love a good lighthouse?” I asked… the silence was almost deafening from my fellow bloggers on our Galicia trip, but that’s OK, not everyone sees the beauty in these functional and windswept outposts.

I think there’s something special about lighthouses, not only are they usually superb photo subjects but every lighthouse has a story to tell. They’ve been through the ravages of the sea, storms, coastal winds and rain and they’re drenched in history. Isolated, remote and lonely places, you can almost imagine the tales of ships run aground on the rocks during a storm or of the lighthouse keepers struggle pulling survivors from the treacherous sea.

Here are the four key lighthouses we visited in Galicia including the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tower of Hercules.

Faro de Cabo Ortegal

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Down a winding narrow coastal road overlooking steep jagged cliff edges you’ll find Cape Ortegal Lighthouse. Perched out on the cliff edge the lighthouse overlooks dangerous rocky outcrops and churning seas in the estuary of Ortigueira. Standing 12.7 metres tall with a red stripe and two balconies, Cape Ortegal Lighthouse is a picture perfect lighthouse braving the salty sea winds.

How To Get There: Follow the road north from Carino for around 10 minutes drive (map).

Faro De Roncadoira

Built in 1974 the Lighthouse Roncadoira looks out across the Bay of Biscay warning ships of the rocky coastal sea below. The cylindrical white tower sits on the edge of the cliffs where a range of migratory birds come to nest given the right season.

How To Get There: From Xove you can drive towards Vilapol to Portocelo. Take a detour right before getting to Vilachá and follow the road to the lighthouse (map).

Faro de Illa Pancha

Just outside of Ribadeo, is the small island of Illa Pancha. With just a narrow concrete bridge connecting the island to the mainland the lighthouse has a remote, desolate look to it, with the best photo opportunities being from the cliffs on the mainland. The lighthouse was built in 1857 and features two black stripes and two balconies, if you’re feeling energetic you can walk from Ribadeo to Illa Pancho in around 40 minutes.

How To Get There: You can walk from Ribadeo, it takes around 40 minutes or a 12 minute drive north (map).

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Around 2.4km from A Coruña you’ll find the oldest working lighthouse in the world sitting up on high ground. The Tower of Hercules has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009 and claims the spot of second tellest lighthouse in the whole of Spain. Since the late 1st century A.D. the lighthouse stood at the entrance of La Coruña harbour but has since been restored in the 18th century where outer walls were built around the original Roman building.

It’s a fascinating building steeped in history and from the outside you only get a glimpse of the lighthouse’s story, the rest is hidden within. Inside the building the old Roman ruins are exposed along with information and videos of how the lighthouse was restored, it’s here where you can see both the 18th century restoration and the Roman lighthouse walls. Climbing further up inside the Roman core of the lighthouse you climb the 242 steps to the top for panoramic views across the Atlantic Ocean, the bay of Orzan, A Coruna and back towards La Coruña harbour.

How To Get There: Torre de Hércules is about a 10 minute drive from the centre of A Coruña and a 40 minute walk (map).

Flight Information for Galicia

We flew into and out of La Coruña but there are plenty of options with three airports near by. For example, you could fly into La Coruña pick up your hire car, take a road trip through the region and then fly out of Asturias airport (the neighbouring regions airport). Or you could do the opposite.

There are also flights to and from Santiago de Compostela (1 hour drive from La Coruña) with Vueling, Easyjet and Ryanair.

This post was brought to you as a result of the #inGalicia blog trip, created and managed by Captivate in partnership with Spain.Info. TravMonkey maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site.

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