Pontevedra in Galicia

It was another fine day in Baiona and it was time to move on, over the Ria de Vigo to Pontevedra in Galicia, en route to our destination for the night, Cambados.

Early morning in Baiona
Early morning in Baiona
Bridge over the Rio de Vigo
Bridge over the Rio de Vigo

Pontevedra in Galicia

Pontevedra was apparently founded on a Roman Road and received its Royal Charter in 1169, giving the city special trading rights. Up to the 16C it was Galicia’s most significant port, trading in fishing and farmed produce. It is a most attractive town with many grand buildings, quiet squares, and lots of churches and crosses. And not small churches – all the major orders seem to have had an impressive presence in the town. We parked under the Alameda and walked into the town.

Town Hall in Pontevedra
Town Hall in Pontevedra

Churches in Pontevedra

The Basilica of Santa Maria a Maior is a 14C church on the walls of the old town, added to over the centuries, and with a stunning interior (no photographs allowed). The building was paid for by the Guild of Fishermen and it stands close to the original fishing port of the town.

Main door of Santa Maria Maior in Pontevedra
Main door of Santa Maria Maior in Pontevedra – 16C facade

The Convent of Santo Domingo was founded c.1282 and built over the following two centuries. It belonged to the order of Dominicans or Blackfriars, an order founded by a Spanish priest in France in 1216. The Convent was closed down in 1836, and by 1846 the building was already deteriorating, with stones even being used for paving. The church only just escaped total demolition and is now a national monument.

The Convent and Church of San Francisco, 13C-14C, on the large Praza da Ferraria is the order of Grey Friars who followed the teachings of St Francis. How did his teachings become so influential so quickly? The Poor Clares followed a similar philosophy and Pontevedra also has a closed order at the Convent of Santa Clara. 

Church of San Francisco in Pontevedra
Church of San Francisco in Pontevedra
Convent of San Francisco in Pontevedra

The nearby Sanctuary of A Virxe da Peregrina was built in 1778 in the shape of a scallop shell, and it is on the Portuguese Camino to Santiago de Compostela. A ‘cult’ in support of the Virgin apparently developed around a striking statue brought to the city by French pilgrims

Stone crosses

Mansions

As we followed the map from the Tourist Office I noticed the many grand mansions, with crests on the walls.

Quiet squares

Quiet squares invited us to linger.

Praza de Curros Enriquez
Praza de Curros Enriquez
Praza da Pedreira
Praza da Pedreira

The covered market

The market was just closing down as we arrived but some fresh fish was still available. And the fruit stalls in the market and in the town were amazing!

Fruit stall in Pontevedra
Fruit stall in the town

Bridges

The Ponte O Burgo, with its scallop shells, dates from 12C and replaced an older, Roman bridge (here); the 1987 bridge is by Santiago Calatrava.

Ponte O Burgo, Pontevedra
Ponte O Burgo
Calatrava Bridge in Pontevedra
Calatrava Bridge in Pontevedra

Parador

I could easily have lingered in Pontevedra in Galicia because there was so much to see. And the Parador, in one of Pontevedra’s grand mansions, was very inviting! But it was time to move on to our next destination.

Parador in Pontevedra
Bougainvilla on the Parador in Pontevedra

The coast on the Ria de Pontevedra

Pontevedra in Galicia is clearly a wonderful town – we didn’t give it enough time. After leaving the town we stopped on a beach to smell the sea air and just enjoy the sunshine. It was the beginning of November and we were so lucky with the weather!

On the Ria de Pontevedra

[This post has been re-edited from an article in November 2014]

Further information

The Southern Pilgrim Route from Portugal
Pontevedra

Museum buildings in Pontevedra