Cathedral Beach aka Holy Water Beach. Spain

This is a great experience to be in a place that will always stay with me.

Have you ever heard of it? I know that some of my friends on this site have not only heard about it, but have been there, but I would still venture to guess that only 5 percent of those reading this review have ever come across this attraction.

This unique beauty beach (by the way, it is #4 in the TOP of the most beautiful beaches in Europe) is located in the north of Spain, in the region of Galicia. In general it must be said that my trip to Spain with my husband, which we began in the capital of Spain – Madrid, and then drove through the western, spent most of the time in the north, in Galicia, was just the “bomb” of those impressions and emotions that we brought home. Perhaps no other trip we have made (and before the pandemic we traveled a lot in European countries) was not so intense in the number of attractions that we had time to see just 10 days flew by so quickly, and the intensity of impressions. Galicia shocked us with its unusual beauty, she was able to fall in love with the first “shots” from the first acquaintance with nature, wild beaches, crazy fog, cliffs on the coast.

Cathedral Beach is not the official name of the place the story is about. This is the name of the beach called by tourists, and by this name almost everyone who is familiar to Galicia knows it. The name of the beach is Praia de Augas Santas, which translates from Spanish as “the beach of holy water”. On the internet I found the name Playa de la Catedrais.

What do you need to know if you suddenly decide to discover this attraction.

First. On the official website of the beach, be sure to see the tide schedule (I’ll tell you why later). It is really important and you can not neglect it, because at high tide you can not get to the beach.

Second. To visit the beach you have to get an official permit. It is not difficult to do this, but without a permit you again can not get on the beach

Well these are the main two points. Further you need comfortable shoes, a good mood, a camera and the weather. We had everything, except weather. Because the day of arrival at the beach was foggy – for Galicia this is customary, fog accompanied us almost all the days of our stay in this region (probably the reason for this was the season – we went to Spain in the fall).

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We used maps.me – that’s the navigator we use most often when traveling abroad. Closer to arrive at the place began to meet these signs: As Catedrais (in parentheses Augasantas, but in general it’s two words Augas Santas – I wrote above that translates as “holy water”).

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

We arrive at the place. Near the entrance is a huge parking lot, we easily found a place, but I think that in the summer, and even in good weather, with free space will not be so easy.

We show the guard at the entrance to the beach our permits, which were issued and received electronically, and we hurry to see this beauty, this unique landmark.

It’s foggy, quite gray, but still the view from above is breathtaking!

There is only one staircase to the beach. During the tide, when the water rises to 3-4 meters (. ), almost all the stones go under the water and if someone suddenly did not have time to leave the beach, the stairs will have to get to you by swimming, because the whole beach will be flooded.

We are at low tide, but you can still see the water around the stones in some pictures.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Look at the majestic beauties, the guards standing on the shore! It is these huge rocks, dark, gloomy, like Gothic cathedrals, that gave the beach the name “cathedral beach.”

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Oh, lovers of climbing on the rocks and cliffs here will be able to “hang out” in full – the “supervisors” are not, you can climb as you like))) but do not forget about the safety!

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

The rocks are like cottage cheese, they look like made of separate layers, sometimes very thin, like plasterboard, and sometimes made of slabs. Powerful, dark from below, almost black from permanent stay in water, higher gray-brown, sometimes with reddish undertones.

These rocks not only inspire respect, but fear. They are like giants, like monsters from science fiction movies, hovering over you and you feel just a tiny such a bug.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

A little rise on one of the ledges, was able to make this is almost a panoramic image.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

By the way, the sand here is so thick that you don’t sink down on it, it’s like a concrete slab under your feet.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

I can imagine what spectacular photographs can be taken there on a sunny day. But the grayness suits this place as well, there is a certain mystery, mysticism.

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Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

There is a family of mussels in the creeks

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

oh. this is the most popular tourist spot, just lining up to be photographed here! Triple arch (I can only see two arches). And look how tall they are! What a tiny little man standing next to them!

What does this rock remind you of? Does it remind me of the paws of some kind of giant, dangerous spider monster? Or maybe it’s just the trunk of a good elephant? What do you see?

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

More arches, not so high anymore.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

There are very beautiful clefts, but there are signs that may be a rockfall, be careful and watch out!

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

That’s about the level at which the water rises at high tide, sometimes even higher. Water comes quickly, literally within minutes floods the entire beach, which is why it is important to know the tide schedule.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

What a fog it is. It’s like a haze.)

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Well, I am myself ))))

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Back also went up the stairs, but despite the fact that already pretty tired, we decided to walk a little, look at the surroundings.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

What a great thing they made: along the coast winds here is a path. Unpretentious, just a wooden planking and wooden railings, here and there wooden benches are established – absolutely simple, but quite suitable to sit down for couple of minutes, to take a breath.

This path, I think, probably more than a kilometer long, it is like a snake, runs itself and does not think to end.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Sometimes it runs along the edge of the cliffs, goes down and then rises up to four or five meters again.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

In some places, the water is inexpressibly beautiful turquoise-blue color! What a beauty, how easy it is to breathe here! And what a wind, you can not imagine! It knocks down, even to talk and it is difficult. I tried to record a video, but the noise of the wind drowns out my voice, I can’t hear the words.

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Beach of the cathedrals (Spain, Ribadeo) photo

Such beauty all around! A place of strength, a place of experience, a place that will always stay with me is “Cathedral Beach”!

Cathedral Beach (Praia de Augas Santas)

Cathedral Beach (Praia de Augas Santas)

The beach of the cathedrals is located on the outskirts of the town of Ribadeo, in northwest Spain. Its second name is the Beach of the Holy Water. It is a unique combination of sharp rocks and ledges with the sea and a sandy area that only opens to visitors at low tide. The place is one of the favorites among tourists of all ages visiting Galicia.

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It is only 10 km from the town of Ribadeo, so it is accessible to tourists traveling on their own, and travel agencies even sell entire tours here.

The beach of Saint Voda is a wild place, there are no cafes, sun loungers and umbrellas as tourists are used to. This is due to the non-permanent functioning of the beach – only at low tide. When the water rises, almost the entire sandy strip disappears, leaving only a small island of land near specially equipped for the descent of the stairs. The whole infrastructure is upstairs – at the entrance of the beach. Parking, tables and benches create a resort-like atmosphere here on sunny days.

Cathedrals beach is a great place to watch the water, sunsets and sunrises, and the surrounding cliffs complete its appearance and make it one of the most famous in the world.

The weather off the coast of the Bay of Biscay is variable and often windy, so the best time to visit the beach is during the summer months of the year.

Cathedral Beach (Praia de Augas Santas)

Characteristics

The beach of the Cathedrals is recognized as the most beautiful beach in Europe according to estimates of tourists. Every year their flow increases. Attracts visitors to this place, first of all, a natural landscape – a combination of rocks and ledges of rock with the ocean expanses.

Seasonality of visiting the beach is expressed strongly enough, the main months of the largest influx of tourists – July and August. This is due, in addition to the location near the resorts, to the coastal climate: in the other months of the year there are quite cold winds, and being on the beach is also complicated by frequent fog. Despite this, in any season the beach is visited: the panoramic views of the sea and the unusual terrain attract photographers and tourists in all weathers.

Meteorologists, due to the peculiarities of the beach, accurately enough calculated the tide schedule, which you can navigate during the visit. You can see it on the official website of the beach of Cathedrals in Spain. The depth difference at high tide reaches 3.5-4 meters.

Due to the frequent tides, the beach surface does not have time to dry even in the sunlight, so when visiting it you should take this factor into account and take waterproof shoes with you: in the caves water stays especially long – its level sometimes reaches 5-10 cm.

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Cathedral Beach (Praia de Augas Santas)

The beach of the cathedrals is completely sandy and the sand is light yellow and white, which makes the beach more attractive for visitors. The density of the sand is high enough, it is comfortable to walk on it as in shoes, and barefoot.

The water on the beach is bright turquoise, clear and clean. Due to the frequent tides, you can swim in it a strictly allocated amount of time, but visitors have a lot of fun just because of the purity of the water near the shore.

The descent into the water is gentle, the depth is gained gradually, which allows tourists to freely walk along the water’s edge, without fear of changes in the bottom topography.

A distinctive feature of the beach area is the close proximity of the ocean and the rocks that it undermines, creating cliffs and precipices of incredible beauty, their height at times up to 30 meters. It is possible to enter them only at low tide. The rocks have bizarrely shaped caves washed out by the ocean, which form whole tunnels going deep into the rocks and winding there, creating mazes.

Cathedral Beach (Praia de Augas Santas)

Infrastructure

Holy Water Beach has a well-developed infrastructure. Contrary to expectations, there is nothing but natural rocks and sand on the beach itself – the tides dictate the conditions. But it is worth going up a level higher, and tourists will find many benefits of civilization for a beach holiday.

At the service of visitors to the beach of cathedrals placed benches and tables, where you can view the panorama of the surrounding area. At the same time tourists are not afraid of the tidal peculiarities of the beach. Moreover, the cliffs are crowned with wooden stairs that allow you to get down to the water, and there are also railing paths along the beach, which also serve as a viewing platform. They are more than 300 meters long.

An unusual feature of the beach: at high tide almost the entire area is covered by water, but by the stairs leading down, there is a small area of land. It is very small in size, will not accommodate all comers, but thanks to this you can make unusual photos of the area. In addition, watching the arrival and departure of the water is always very fascinating. On the beach of the cathedrals it arrives quickly enough, but it also goes away quickly.

The food court of the beach area is represented by a small café, also located near the observation deck. Due to the popularity of the location among tourists, prices in the institution are high. However, visitors have no particular choice: it is prohibited to bring their own food and drinks on the beach. This is monitored by its rangers.

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An important feature: the beach (viewing its part) has toilets. Despite the prevalence of recreational areas around and in Spain in general, this is a rarity.

Cathedral Beach (Praia de Augas Santas)

Visiting rules

Since 2015, the authorities of the country have imposed a restriction on visits to Praia de Augas Santas. This is due to the ever-increasing flow of tourists from all over the world. In order to disperse visitors on different dates evenly, special regulations were introduced: now to enter the territory you must obtain permission online on the official website of the Junta de Galicia.

When making a reservation, you must provide passport information, name and surname, and select the desired date of the visit. The reservation is valid for the entire day. Thus, the entrance to the territory became available only to 4,800 people a day.

Also at the entrance may check passports to verify the data with the reservation from the site, you must be prepared for this.

Cathedral Beach (Praia de Augas Santas)

How to get to the beach at the Cathedrals in Spain

The beach of the Cathedrals is located on the outskirts of the city of Ribadeo, in Galicia. The distance to the settlement is about 10 km, but it is not difficult to get to the beach: the tourist popularity of the place contributes to it.

It is convenient to get to the beach by suburban train . It departs from Ribadeo, the closest town to the destination. The trip takes no more than 15 minutes. The station near the beach is called Esteiro. From there to the coast – about 20 minutes on foot. Train timetable and route can be found here.

However, the best way to get to the beach of the cathedrals is by car: there is ample free parking at the entrance. The travel time from the large neighboring towns – Ribadeo and Villalba – will take from 15 to 45 minutes. Or you can use cab apps (for short distance trips): Uber, Kiwi and others. The trip will cost less than the services of local carriers.

The route to Praia de Augas Santas from Ribadeo – Google Maps:

From Villalba:

Cathedral Beach in Spain – Google Maps panorama:

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