We explore the rugged landscape of north-western Spain during winter, driving through pine and eucalyptus forests before ascending into snowy mountain peaks.
Canyons offer beautiful vistas carved out by the Rio Minho dotted with small hermitages that appear inaccessible, unless you’re Ardent and have a 4x4! This is a great trip which can be a challenge due to weather conditions - in the mountains snow is highly likely, and due to the position of Galicia on the west coast of Spain, high levels of rainfall can make other tracks a bit sticky – but that’s just how we like it!
We meet in Portsmouth for a morning departure on the overnight ferry to Santander. During the crossing you will be able to relax and get to know your guides and fellow travellers - it's always nice to get everyone together for dinner and a few drinks in the bar.
As soon as we disembark, we head to Leon, which is about a three hour road drive. We stay the night in the centre of Leon, famous for its 13th century Gothic cathedral, and that evening we'll take a stroll to one of the city's many fantastic restaurants for our evening meal.
The real fun begins as we head up into the mountain after a quick stop in Puebla de Sanabria for coffee and lunch provisions. We head up on tracks which become more and more snow covered as we ascend, with tight turns and stunning views from the top. We spend the night in Ourense.
Today we again head up through the mountains and back up past the snow line to reach the Canon do Sil, returning to Ourense for a second night and another evening of fine tapas!
We head south from Ourense and onto the mountain tracks as we head to the Encore de Castrelo de Mino dam, from which the views are truly stunning, and then in the evening we head to Ribadavia.
We head into an area of mountains that was severely affected by forest fires in 2017. Some vegetation has returned, but mile upon mile of blackened trees give the drive a very surreal feel. We spend the night in Fofe in a family run hotel that is a former monastery.
In the morning we head towards the coast along tracks that appear to cling to the hillside and in the afternoon we get to cross a stone bridge that was built in the 1400s, a few years before Colombus discovered America! In the evening we head to the city of Pontevedra for the weekend.
We do not tackle any tracks over the weekend as most of us are ready for a break. Pontevedra is a large and vibrant city with many fine restaurants and bars. You also have the opportunity, if you wish, to visit Oporto and the excellent port houses in the city, stopping for a spot of lunch.
We head away from Pontevedra in the direction of Santiago de Compostela through the Eucalyptus forests of the region and their muddy tracks to arrive in Padron in the evening.
From Padron we continue our journey towards Santiago and the potentially most 'interesting' part of the trip - it's here that, when wet, our winch was called into action many times one year! We stop for lunch in Santiago and take time to visit the incredible cathedral.
We now head towards the Atlantic Coast, again high up into the mountains through small, and sometimes abandoned villages, before dropping down to a waterfall that ends in the sea. We spend the night in the coastal village of Cee.
Well, almost, as we drive towards Fisterra, the most western point in Europe, and from here head onto tracks around the cliffs as the Atlantic crashes against the rocks below. We emerge onto sand dunes and the beach for a bit of dune bashing before a late lunch at a restaurant we will never reveal the details of on our website!
Having spent the night in Pontecesco we head out for a day of epic rock crawls interspersed with muddy tracks before we drive to A Coruna for our last evening in Spain. Our guides have confirmed that they have undertaken thorough research of the best tapas bars in the city, so you won't be disappointed!
We take a leisurely drive back to Santander to catch the ferry. This is always a fun journey - we left the UK as a group of strangers but return as a real team with many friendships having been made along the way. Be prepared for lots of laughter as we revisit the highlights of the holiday over a few drinks!
“Russ was a very professional guide and a great tour leader who provided a fantastic holiday with the right amount of challenge and unpredictability whilst keeping us all safe and organised! Thank you!”
The weather can get chilly and it's not unusual for us to encounter snow so we'd advise being prepared for cold spells and winter weather. However, at the lower levels and towards the coast it will be milder.
Variety of terrain from lowland trails to rocky tracks in the peaks along with forests, wet ground and a drive on the beach on the Atlantic Coast! Galicia can be challenging at times, but under our expert guidance, all abilities will be able to safely navigate any obstacles!
Low-box, underbody protection and recovery points along with all terrain tyres.
We carry medical kits, our guides are all first-aid trained and we have emergency beacons to hasten location and evacuation in emergency situations. Lead vehicles have full recovery equipment which is tested before departure and we also carry a range of tools and spares.
A detailed requirements check-list will be sent to you six weeks before your departure date.
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