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UK Sailing, Sail Cruising
and Yachting Guide

Atlantic Spain
and Portugal
Atlantic Spain and Portugal: La Coruna to Gibraltar
Martin Walker
& Anne Hammick
South Biscay
Covers the coasts of France and Spain from the Gironde to La Coruna in Galicia
RCC Pilotage Foundation

BlueMoment Harbour and Marina Guide

42O 36'N


8O 46'W
Santiago de Compostela
Passage Notes

Ria Arosa is a wonderful mini-cruising grond in its own right, with lots of anchorages to explore and no need to go into a marina at all. We wanted to visit Santiago de Compostela however (hence the photo), and the pilot book suggested Villagarcia was the ideal place to get a train from.

The marina is up near the top of the ria. The approach is straightforward unless coming from Rianjo at the head of the ria, in which case you will need to thread your way through various islands on the approach. As with the rest of the ria, there are plenty of viveiros (mussel rafts) to watch out for. Once you are used to it weaving between them can be quite entertaining.


The entrance is fairly narrow but easy to find. They like you to call up on the radio first, but if you don't get anyone try to find a space on one of the two hammerheads near the entrance then go to the office to be allocated a berth. ('Pantalan d'esperance' means 'waiting pontoon' btw, and not 'trousers of hope'). The marina is full of local boats, and there is no guarantee there will be space unless you book ahead. We were lucky and were found a berth bows-to on a pontoon for smaller boats. Manoevering space in the marina is limited.


Fairly painless, all dealt with by the marina office. Not much English spoken, and the lady on duty was a bit annoyed that we hadn't called up on the VHF first. We got the impression that we might have been turned away if we had done, however, as she was about to go home when we arrived.

Facilities and Charges

The washrooms are extensive and immaculate. Charges are very low - we paid seven euros a night, the lowest anywhere on the mainland of Europe. We were told that rates for overwintering are exceptionally good if you can get a place.

We patronised Captain Hook's bar and restaurant just opposite the marina - excellent value for beer and burgers.


Good train services - particularly useful for visiting Santiago de Compostela.

Things to Do

We didn't really look, but I am sure there are things to do. Plenty of shops anyway.

For a detailed account of Fairwinds' time in Galicia see HERE