Playa de las Catedrales (Lugo, Galicia)
From where can I plan this day trip? Oviedo, Lugo, A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, and the like.
What is it? Literally meaning “Beach of the Cathedrals,” you’ll know why when you see the huge building-like rock structures considered to be ‘sea architecture.’ This is a likely to be one of the most interesting beach visits you ever make! Due to the greatly changing tide, this beach becomes almost completely covered at high tide meaning that you need to be VERY aware of the tide schedule when planning your trip but also that you will have the opportunity to discover little sea creatures living here that you would typically only find underwater!
How to prepare ahead of time: The tide schedule is incredibly important as the best experience (the most to see) at Playa de las Catedrales comes at low tide. It is also important to plan ahead as you will need to book your visit on this site during high season (ie. summer and holidays). In doing so, you’ll get added to a free tour group (offered in Spanish or English) which was really interesting and informational. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and then you are free to wander on your own.
Pro-Tip: This is not your typical beach—there will be very few people setting up umbrellas and hanging out for the day (which makes sense, seeing as we saw the tide take over half the beach in just the two hours we were around!). However, if you would like to extend your stay, you are welcome to hang out as long as you’d like (at Playa de las Catedrales or at the other beaches nearby), but keep in mind that there are very few food options. Unless you want to sit down to a big meal at the one rather-expensive restaurant, bring a sack lunch!
How to get there: Car or Bus
This is the perfect stop for someone doing a roadtrip throughout the north of Spain (we stopped on our way from A Coruña to Oviedo). It wasn’t too difficult to find using Googlemaps—although I recommend downloading or screenshot-ing the entirety of the directions at the beginning of your trip as we lost our data connection as we got close. Site like Tripadvisor mention ‘coach’ options from ‘nearby’ bigger cities, but I imagine these are few and far between so I recommend a car if at all possible.
Pro-Tip: Be sure to arrive 30 mins to an hour early during high season. There is free parking right at the entrance but we opted for free parking further away as the traffic directors could not guarantee there would be spaces nearby and we didn’t have time to risk driving there and having to drive back again (there was already a line of cars as we got close to the first stop). The walk from this further lot was about 15 minutes and we then had to stand in another line in order to enter the beach for our tour.
Recommended time of year to visit: Keep in mind that the north of Spain gets pretty cold outside of the heart of summer. We visited in July and still needed to wear long pants! On the other hand, when it’s hottest (in August and September) is when the crowds will be the largest so plan according to what matters to you most!