Sanxenxo is a town in the province of Pontevedra considered by many to be the tourist capital of the Rías Baixas. It has plenty of charming spots worthy of this title: its beaches, its trails, its seafood and tapas restaurants and its proximity to the Parque Nacional das Illas Atlánticas make Sanxenxo a phenomenal place to spend the summer. Still don’t know what to see in Sanxenxo? We’ll give you some tips.
The beaches of Sanxenxo
Every year, visitors from all over Spain and Europe come to Sanxenxo during the summer season. This municipality is 30 minutes from the capital of the province, 40 minutes from Peinador airport (Vigo), and less than an hour from Santiago de Compostela airport.
Sanxenxo’s main attraction is the coastline of more than 30 kilometres, with coves and beaches for everyone. In addition, of the municipality’s 24 beaches, 17 currently have the distinctive Blue Flag: A Lapa, Area de Agra, Areas, Areas Gordas, Baltar, Bascuas (nudist), Canelas, Caneliñas, O Espiñeiro-A Lanzada, Foxos, Major, Montalvo, Nosa Señora da Lanzada, Panadeira, Paxariñas, Pragueira and Silgar.
Although no beach in Sanxenxo ever disappoints its visitors, these are the ones that appear most often in travelogues:
Silgar, in Sanxenxo
- Silgar: An unmissable urban beach for anyone visiting Sanxenxo. From the shore you can see the sculpture of La Madama, built on a huge rock known as the peak of the Corbeiro. Even more famous is its promenade, just a stroll away from ice-cream parlours, restaurants, hotels, and trendy boutiques.
- Baltar: The Silgar promenade leads to Baltar beach, in the town of Portonovo. It has fine white sand, like Silgar, and a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere. It is separated from the road by a protected dune landscape.
- Areas: Long, fine sandy beach, extremely popular and semi-urban. It is bordered by a pretty, wooden walkway that leads to the beautiful Punta Festiñanzo viewpoint.
- Montalvo: Another one of the busiest beaches, with spectacular views of the Cíes and Ons archipelagos. It is long and has a resting area under a pine forest.
- Pragueira: A smaller sandy area than the previous ones, with calm waters and the best views of Ons. It has a footpath and a viewpoint famous both for its views and for a bank with the message ‘Grazas pola vida’ (in Spanish: gracias por la vida, or “thank you for life”) written on its side.
Pragueira beach. Photo: Turismo Rías Baixas
- Major: Located next to Pragueira, it is astonishingly large and dune-like in nature. Outstanding views of Ons.
- Foxos: 380 metres long, it is one of the surfers’ favourite beaches. Very close to A Lanzada beach.
- A Lanzada: When asked what to see in Sanxenxo, the first answer is almost always “A Lanzada beach”. In fact, it is a very long beach (more than 2 km long) that the municipality of Sanxenxo shares with the municipality of O Grove. It is also very popular with surfers.
Ermida da Nosa Señora da Lanzada
In the surrounding area of A Lanzada (between the beaches of Foxos and Areas Gordas) is the Ermida da Nosa Señora da Lanzada, a Romanesque style chapel from the beginning of the 13th century, which is of great touristic interest. Next to it are the ruins of a medieval tower (952 AD) which formed part of a coastal defence system to prevent Viking and Norman raids. Nearby is also the A Lanzada hillfort, a settlement which, being close to the sea, is believed to have operated as a trading enclave for fifteen centuries (from VIII BC to VII AD).
The surrounding areas of the Ermida da Nosa Señora da Lanzada, in addition to having a high archaeological value, are also of great cultural value. This enclave is linked to a series of rituals (the exact origin of which is unknown) that promote women’s fertility; on the last weekend of August, some women take the 9-wave bath at midnight in the hope of becoming pregnant.
What to see in Sanxenxo: viewpoints, trails, and ports
Sanxenxo also offers other entertainment for those who tend to avoid beaches and don’t believe in legends. In addition to the viewpoints of Festiñanzo and Pragueira, it is worth taking a walk to admire the sunset at the Punta Vicaño viewpoint (between Silgar and Baltar). Another essential trail is the A Lanzada Magic Trail.
It is also worth visiting the municipality’s two ports: the Juan Carlos I Marina, in the centre of Sanxenxo, and the marina and fishing port of Portonovo. You will find companies who offer water sports such as sailing. For older people, the port of Portonovo is very close to Rúa dos Viños, a phenomenal area if you want to try Galician wines and tapas.
Both the port of Sanxenxo and the port of Portonovo are departure ports for the Parque Nacional das Illas Atlánticas. From 19 June, Mar de Ons will sail daily to Ons from Sanxenxo and Portonovo (currently we only sail on weekends). On the other hand, our shipping line will make daily trips to the Cíes archipelago from these ports from July onwards. Click here for the timetables for Mar de Ons.
Remember that in high season you need an authorisation from the Xunta de Galicia to access both the Cíes archipelago and the Ons archipelago. The Cíes Islands have a daily limit of 1,800 visitors, while Ons Island has a daily limit of 1,300.
Decide which archipelago you want to see first and book your ticket with Mar de Ons. Now that you know what to see in Sanxenxo, discover the delights in Cangas do Morrazo, which is also the departure port for the Mar de Ons.