This Underrated Spanish Region Is A Coastal Paradise Loaded With Pristine Beaches

Away from the bustle of Madrid and the tourist hotspots of Barcelona, Spain's northern coast is an unexplored gem filled with rugged landscapes, untouched beaches, and charming little villages that are perfect for going back to basics. One of the most underrated destinations in Spain, and with a serene setting that sets the stage for a unique adventure, heading north is all about immersing yourself into the heart of untouched nature and tradition.

Enter; Galicia. Located on the northwestern tip of Spain, the verdant region is known for its mouthwatering seafood and rich Celtic heritage — a legacy that's deeply entrenched in local culture and celebrations. Although not many visitors and travelers venture that far off the beaten path to explore it, the region is hailed by locals as one of the country's best-kept secrets.

Brimming with the best of Spanish nature — with the ocean to the north, lush green forests throughout, and historical sites that tell tales of days past — Galicia remains a pristine paradise for travelers looking to soak in some peace and quiet, and take a deep breath of fresh air.

Making the most of Galicia's coastline

Covering over 1,000 miles of coastline, it's no surprise that Galicia is home to some pretty spectacular beaches. Hit by the Cantabrian Sea to the north and the Atlantic Ocean on the west, the region has a little something for everyone. Whether you prefer lounging by the water, riding waves atop a surfboard, or simply walking along the water.

Per ratings on TripAdvisor, there are some wow-worthy beaches not to miss. Playa de As Catedrais (pictured above), is a sandy stretch dotted with rocky, arch-like formations that give it its name, which translates to "the cathedrals." Playa de Rodas, a white-sand beach located in Islas Cíes, is perfect for swimming and sunbathing. Finally, Playa A Lanzada's sandy shores and turquoise waters stretch 1.2 miles, making this beach a preference among surfers and watersports enthusiasts.

Plus, with so much coastline to explore, it's also no surprise that Galicia's seafood is second to none. From fresh-caught king prawns and scallops to octopus, mussels, crab, and lobster, the region's passion for quality and flavor is unparalleled. What's on the menu that you just can't miss? A classic serving of pulpo a la gallega, paprika-seasoned octopus cooked with potatoes; caldo gallego, a hearty broth made with pork lard and meat; and the always-tempting empanada, a delicious pastry stuffed with seafood.

More tips for planning your visit

Away from the water, Galicia also has plenty more to offer. First, you've got A Terra Chá and La Ribeira Sacra. Located within the province of Lugo, these two nature havens are a premier destination for outdoor buffs and nature explorers who want to hit the ground running and explore some of Galicia's best scenery. Brimming with trails, viewpoints, and local wildlife, they simply can't be missed during your visit.

As for urban exploration, there's no way to talk about Galicia without mentioning Santiago de Compostela, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back to the 11th century. The last stop on the famous Camino de Santiago — a pilgrimage that draws nearly 500,000 visitors a year — the historic town is filled with ancient architecture, vibrant streets, and cultural landmarks that make for a memorable day out (and is especially rewarding after completing one of the world's most renowned long-distance hikes). Other must-see destinations in Galicia include A Coruña, Pontevedra, and Ourense — each one boasting its own unique charm.