Spain Snapshots: Playa de las Catedrales, Galicia

After my disappointing jaunt to the ‘Most Beautiful Village in Spain,’ I had even higher expectations for the ‘Most Beautiful Beach in Spain,’ Playa As Catedrais. Arriving to Ribadeo, the first town in Galicia along the Camino de Santiago del Norte, we were exhausted and our muscles needed relaxing – we raced to the pilgrim’s inn on the quay for a bed in the small, cramped place.

Crossing Puente dos Santos, a 600m-long bridge over the Eo River (lo juro), we got a first glimpse of Galicia from the road. The town spilled down a gentle slope towards the Ría and out to the sea, and the pilgrim’s inn was located right on its banks, next to a private beach.

After a splurge on lunch at La Botellería, Iván woke me up from a deep sleep, and we caught a cab with Sandrine and Mikel towards the beach. Iván had called the local government to see when the tide would roll out, allowing us to walk along a pristine beach that spends half the day covered in water.

Walking down a set of aluminum stairs, the flat, horizontal beach stretches out before you. The waters were calm, so we waded out into the surf to rest our aching feet for a while. Being on the Cantabric Sea, the water was freeeeeeezing, but it’s honestly the best thing for your feet after 130km.

Las Catedrales, or As Catedrais in local tongue, is actually called Praia de Aguas Santas, but the soaring rock formations and arches appear to be flying buttresses. When the low tide is in, shallow pools form under the rocks and you can see mussels and goose barnacles growing along the crags. The whimsical rocks have been carved by years of erosion from the wind and salt water, and half of the beach gets covered up in high tide as proof!

If you go: The beach is a 13€ cab ride from Ribadeo’s town center and the albergue. Be sure to check when low tide occurs, as this is when you can see the rock formations from below. There are lifeguards, a full-service restaurant and a souvenir shops located at As Catedrais.

What’s your favorite beach in Spain? Beach season may be over, but visiting in winter means fewer crowds and cheaper food!

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.


  1. Those rock formations are oustanding!! I’ve never been to the beach in Spain… someday!
    Alex @ ifs ands & butts recently posted..frivolous friday.My Profile

  2. I recently added Praia as Catedrais to my Galicia to-visit list after you visited them while caminando. Seems like a really cool place!
    Trevor Huxham recently posted..Mérida, Spain: Extremadura’s Living Reminder of RomeMy Profile

  3. The only Spanish beaches we’ve been to so far are in Barcelona and Lloret de Mar. The Costa Brava coastline is spectacular and we can’t praise it enough … but that’s a stunning coastline too. It looks like we have to put Galicia on our list of places we need to visit in Spain. Good grief, that list is getting long!
    Linda Bibb recently posted..Setting a Goal to Travel to Every Country: Is It for You?My Profile

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I can’t say I’ve really spent time at the beaches in Catalonia, but since you guys speak Spanish, you should just plan on hanging out here for a while!

  4. I came across your website while looking for a good mantecado recipe. It has been a pleasure to peruse your adventures! I spent 3 months in Sevilla this past spring semester for college, as part of my Spanish major, and to date, it has been one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done. Because there was not a lot of time, I mainly traveled around Andalucia…I know there is so much of Spain that I have yet to see! I was thrilled to experience Holy Week (as crazy as that is) and the Feria, which was my last week in the beautiful city. My best to you! My heart still travels to Spain in my dreams.

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      Studying in Seville, especially in the Spring, has to be an incredible time! You can always come back – we’ll be waiting! Thanks for visiting, Sarita.

  5. Chelsea Alventosa says:

    Wow this place looks amazing! I really need to get up north ASAP! Good tip about the tides, I wouldn’t have thought about that.

  6. Those rocks remind me a lot of the cliffs in Étretat (Normandy) here in France! Have you been? I have only been to the beach in Barcelona but this post tells me that Spain has a lot more to offer than that! I look forward to exploring more of the beautiful country that you now call home. It sure is close enough!

    • Sunshine and Siestas says:

      I have been to Normandy and probably to those cliffs, but it’s been 12 years since I was there. I adore France and can’t believe it’s been five years since my last trip! If you’re ever in Seville, please look me up! Thanks for stopping by, mme.!


  1. […] What makes it extra-jaw-dropping? These extraordinary natural rock formation that resemble the soaring arches of a cathedral. Check out Cat of Sunshine and Siestas post about her experience at this beach. […]

  2. […] and the capital retains its medieval city walls, which can be visited. You can also find the Praia As Catedrais – considered one of the most beautiful in Spain – in this province, just a taxi ride […]

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