Baiona

The Village of Pinzón and its Pinta

A strategic port full of history, Baiona is a beautiful medieval city with a past that can be relived while walking through its beautiful streets and paths.

Planning your trip to Baiona

Baiona is one of the most visited locations in Galicia; in the section that highlights the main attractions, we justify why you need two days to explore this beautiful place. For those who have additional time, it is possible to head south along the beautiful coastal road and visit the mouth of the Miño River and the interesting bordering village of A Guarda. If the weather is good, any nature-lovers can opt to go back through the bay and take a boat that allows you to visit the Cies Islands. To decide what the best local cuisine is and where you can sleep and rest, you can visit our pages on where to sleep or what to eat in Baiona.

Do you want to learn more about this place?

According to tradition, the controversial Santa Librada or Santa Wilgefortis, patron of ill-married women and decanonized in 1969, was martyred in Baiona. The foundation of Baiona is attributed to Diómenes de Etolia, son of Prince Tideo, in the year 140 BC. Since then, it has been taken over by lords, prelates, Portuguese knights, pirates and Galician nobles.  One of the first troops to dock in its port, in the year 60 BC, was directed by Julius Caesar himself, who used this site as a base for his attack against the Herminios rebels of the neighboring Cies Islands. Years later, in 997, the leader of Almanzor initiated an age of plundering and invasions at this Galician port.

The Middle Ages is perhaps the most important time in the history of Baiona, as it was full of transcendental events. In 1201, a letter was received from the town of King Alfonso IX of León,  independent from the neighboring monastery of Oia, and changing the name of Erizana to what it is presently. In 1370, King Ferdando of Portugal conquered the village and stayed there until he was expelled by the Castilians.  A few years later, in 1386, the Duke of Lancaster and his wife Constanza arrived at its port, accompanied by an army to reclaim the throne of Castile. Baiona surrendered without a fight, thus opening the passage to the Duke, who would be crowned King in the city of Ourense. Two years later, on July 8, 1388, a treaty was signed in the villa, proclaiming the marriage of the daughter of Constanza and the Duke of Lancaster to the son of King Juan I of Castile, thereby giving him the title of Prince of Asturias.

In 1474, the village was attacked by the famous knight, Pedro Álvarez de Sotomayor, Pedro Madruga, which devastated the village and killed many of its neighbors. But the most important event took place at the beginning of the Modern Age, when on March 1, 1493, Martín Alonso Pinzón arrived at the port in his ship, la Pinta, bringing the first news of the discovery of a new world. This anniversary is commemorated annually at the Fiesta of the Arribada. In 1585, advancing to the Modern Age, the English squadron of the pirate Francis Drake also wanted to make his own in this area, but was driven back by the Count of Gondomar, who would end up buying the castle from Felipe II. Until the nineteenth century, the fortress of Mount Royal would continue suffering from excessive attacks.

Baiona has long been the preferred destination for tourists who come to the Galician Rías Baixas. The tranquility and beauty of the village, its great climatology and its beautiful beaches, the friendliness of its people, the exquisiteness of the fish and shellfish of the estuary and the unparalleled natural environment are some of the reasons people love to visit.

Located on the Monte Boí Peninsula, the Monterreal Castle is an indispensable place to visit. It is a set of fortifications erected between the 11th and 17th centuries. Its great architecture is due to the Catholic Monarchs, who, in the face of the incessant pirate attacks to which the Galician coast was subjected to, decided at the beginning of the 16th century to reform the old fortress of Monte Boí for the defense of the village. Later it would become the residence of the Earl of Gondomar, among others. Within its long perimeter and 3 km of ramparts, three towers rise above the rest: the Clock Tower, erected by the legendary and famous knight Pedro Madruga, which had a bell to warn of the enemy raids; that of the Iron, where the batteries of defense were placed, and that of the Prince, in the west, in which the local tradition holds that a Portuguese prince was held captive here with an iron mask, like in the novel of Dumas. Currently at the fortress is the Parador, its seafood and the International Yacht Club. One thing to make sure you do is to watch the sunset from the fortress.

Between the fortress and the town, around the isthmus of the peninsula, there are the beaches, a remarkable must-see in Baiona, like those of the Ladeira, or the one of Barbeira, and the monument Encounter of the Two Worlds,  created by the sculptor Picallo, next to the place where the first Indigenous from America from was buried. Inside the monument there are pieces of land coming from all countries, symbolizing unity. We also find a replica of the vessel of Columbus, which can be visited and is known as the Floating Museum.

The old town, declared a site of Historical-Artistic Interest in 1993, consists of narrow and cobbled streets, with arcades, and seafaring houses with images of the Virgin and ships on the facades. It occupies an almost closed circle and has three entrances through the Plaza de Santa Liberada, that of Father Fernando and from the crossing of the Trinity. In this old town, we can highlight the former Collegiate Church of Santa Maria de la Anunciada, with Romanesque-pointed style, three naves, three apses and a beautiful rose window on the facade. In the same esplanade, the chapel dedicated to Santa Liberada (1695) was raised, It has an altarpiece with the scene of the crucifixion and the martyrdom to which the sisters were subjected.

Other buildings in the old town that are delightful places to visit include the House of Culture, the Chapel of San Juan, the Town Hall, the former Lorenzo Correa House built in the eighteenth century; The Crucero of the Trinidad, a Gothic site from the 15th century, is one of the few places covered by a canopy; and the Baroque Palace of Don Lope de Mendoza. Finally, the Church of the Convent of the Dominicans, built in 1547 on the site of another previous building of the 13th century, holds a beautiful baroque altarpiece in its main altar that is dedicated to the Virgin of the Annunciation, Patron of Baiona.

In the marine district of O Burgo is the Chapel of Santa Marta, which was burned by the pirate Francis Drake in the year 1585. With a rectangular floor and a single nave, it was originally made up of a transitional Romanesque style, of which only the south-facing door and a tympanum have survived.

From the entrance to Baiona at the beginning of the ascent to Mount de A Grova, the seafront of Baiona juts out, as it is part of the ecological reserve of the estuary of the Miñor River. On the mountain you will find the famous Virgin de la Roca, a monument and lighthouse built by Antonio Palacios between 1910 and 1930. The Virgin, 15m high, is built in granite on the rocks of Mount Samson. It has a boat-viewpoint that can be accessed inside, from where you have spectacular views of Baiona. Next to the monument there is a large recreational park, endowed with a cross, benches and stone tables, which commemorates the celebration on the first Sunday of August, the popular pilgrimage dedicated to the Virgin.

The Essentials

Detalle de los cañones
Castillo de Monterreal

Important Information

Coordinates

42° 7′ 0″ N, 8° 50′ 0″ W

Distances

30 km from Vigo, 60 km from Pontevedra, 608 km from Madrid

Parking

Free in the outskirts of the village without any problems

Altitude

0 m

Inhabitants

12,035  (2013)

Patrons of the Annunciade (the 2nd Sunday of August), romería con Sardiñada de la Virxe da Roca (the sardines are roasted on the last Sunday of August)

Arribada de la Pinta (the 1st of March)

There are plenty of shops for decorations and handcrafted goods (Artemán), and the wineries (El Zaguán, A Solaina)

Other nearby destinations

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