Rock Formations at the Beach of Cathedrals in Northern Spain

October 7th, early morning, well 9:00 or so, which is early in Spain!

In Santiago de Compostela we met Jessica, a long-time resident of the city, who sent us a list of must-see places in northern Spain.

This included the Playa de Catedrales which wasn’t even on our radar.
Map showing the Playa de Catedrales near Ribadeo From Jessica: ‘You have to check the tides to know when to go because you cannot visit at high tide, and you want plenty of time to walk around.
The fantastic rock formations at the Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, SpainAs soon as we arrived our landlady in Ribadeo informed us that the tide would be out at 10 the next morning, and that we should get to the beach by nine in order to truly appreciate these amazing rock formations.
A our hotel in Ribadeo, Spain It was quite easy to find, even though the road signs called it ‘Praia dos catedrais’, using the Galician language which is different than Spanish.
Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, Spain What’s truly amazing was that all these rock formations were covered up during high tide.
Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, Spain These flying buttresses are the reason it is called the Beach of Cathedrals, and if the wind is whistling through the caverns the sound is said to resemble ghostly organ music.
Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, SpainA sign with the explanation about the tides and rock formations which have been cut into arches by the movement of the seas (las mareas).
Playa de las Catedrales SignAnother view of the rock formations.
Playa de Catedrales near Ribadeo, Spain There were lots of photographers out there but few as prepared as these three.The fantastic rock formations at the Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, SpainI wished there had been more time; half a dozen paintings were forming in my head. I could have spent the entire day there sketching except for the fact that the tide would come in and it’s hard to sketch when you’re underwater.
The fantastic rock formations at the Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, Spain Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, SpainThe striated rock formations are made of slate, which explains the slate roofs in the region…
Playa de las Catedrales near Ribadeo, SpainThe Playa de Catedrales (Beach of Cathedrals) is about 10 kilometres from Ribadeo where we stayed for two nights.
Map of our route from Ribadeo to Viveiro Apparently there is now a controversial booking system in place, requiring one to book two weeks in advance in order to visit this beach during Easter and the summer months.

Jessica, who provided our great route info, has since opened a Bakery Café in Santiago de Compostela called Lusco & Fusco, and you can find her on Facebook at Lusco Fusco Bakery Café.

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13 responses to “Rock Formations at the Beach of Cathedrals in Northern Spain

  1. Interesting facts about the Cathedrals and great shots as well. I am so grateful you told me about this post too, because mine and yours also work well together. Now I realize even more how lucky we were to find it without knowing in advance – and getting there when the tide was out as well.
    A place we will never forget!

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