Travel Review Baiona Galicia
Ok, so you are not a millionaire and you definitely don’t sail or (sailor, get it?) belong in the yachting set. Maybe you are part of the crew of a millionaire’s status symbol or travel as part of his or her entourage. Even less tenuous, without actually having access to a boat or perhaps ever been near one. The marina is always locked, I tried. But there is something about small towns that host a marina serving ocean sailing vessels. Apart from the famous and very expensive ports the world over, there are many places that serve those that tend to yacht owners, their crew and the wannabees. Baiona is one of those places. It has shops that sell everything you need for the next leg of your trip. From sailing essentials to scran. This port is used to the stopovers of regular seafaring men and women.
Baiona is a beautiful town in the southern Rías Baixas region of Spain. It is protected from the open sea by a lovely bay which shelters the old parts of the town from the wild Atlantic. Baiona is also known as Villa de la Arribada (Port of Entry), as it was the first town in Europe to learn of the discovery of America.
The Monterreal Peninsula, where the imposing Parador de Baiona sits, is surrounded by a path that follows the walled exterior of the grounds. If you walk to the outermost part of the promontory, you can experience the wilds of the ocean while taking in views of Vigo, the next town over from Baiona. If you do stroll around the Parador, time it well so you can catch the magical sunsets and enjoy a gin and tonic, or whatever your tipple is, in the bar of the fortress.
The stately function rooms, spacious guest rooms with sea views and spectacular stone staircase that welcomes you at the entrance make for a certain ambience within the Parador de Baiona. Although it is large it feels quite intimate. With exquisite décor, elegance is a key feature of every room and is definitely recommended.
The town of Baiona serves two purposes. This is an ideal destination if you are looking for a lively atmosphere on summer nights but there are plenty of terrace cafés on the promenade and seafood restaurants if you prefer something a bit more relaxed. The regional cuisine is delicious if you care to try local food. But the seafood is so fresh that the simpler dishes are still magnificent. On a walk, through the old part of the town, we found a number of tapas and restaurant bars.
Of note was O Refuxio D’Anton. The pulpo (octopus) was delicious. And from talking to locals this place is the most authentic in the region. It’s so cool it doesn’t have any electronic till or cover manager. All done manually. If you want to witness ‘El arte de jamon’, across the same street you will find a fantastic small jamoneria. Cured meats and cheese matched perfectly with chilled local white wine called Albariño.
For the more adventurous, you can take a boat to the island Barco Isla de Ons – Cruceros Rias Baixas. There are no cars or public transport on the island and if you want to sleep over you better bring a tent. But the trade off is beautiful unspoilt beaches and breathtaking views.