Combarro is a magical little fishing village on the Galician coast of Spain, located in the Rías Baixas (“Lower Estuaries”), outside the beautiful city of Pontevedra. This charming village has two main areas: the leisure port and the historic quarter. In the leisure port, you can find a playground for children and several restaurants.
The historic quarter in Combarro has been declared a Property of Cultural Interest and is often mentioned as one of the most beautiful villages in Spain. No cars drive in the narrow granite-paved streets of the historic quarter, with tourists exploring the walking streets on foot. Walking in the narrow historic streets lined with stone Galician houses, tiny gardens, stone crosses, and granaries, the casco histórico, or old town is truly something special. Signs with arrows and shells can be seen on the streets marking the way for Pilgrims walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
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Things to See in Combarro
Granaries, Sea Houses and Stone Crosses
The three most characteristic structures you see spread through town are “hórreos” (raised granaries), “casas marineras” (sea houses), and Cruceiros or stone crosses.
The many hórreos or raised granaries are scattered across the village. These distinct constructions are characteristic of Galicia. The stone buildings, raised on stone pillars, stayed dry and kept mice out, they were used to store food and grains. About 60 traditional granaries, are distributed around the village, 30 of these are situated on the shores of the Pontevedra estuary. From the beach, there is a nice view of the village and hórreos at low tide. In the morning you will see several Pilgrims on The Way to Santiago walking over the beach.
The casas marineras or sea houses are fishing houses where the fishermen of the town have been living for centuries. The cottages mostly have a ground floor, where fishing utensils were stored, a residential area upstairs, and a balcony full of flowers facing the sea.
Cruceiros or stone crosses are another well-known symbol in Combarro. There are nine crosses in town, two of which can be found in the Plaza de San Roque. The crosses often have the head of the Virgin Mary facing out to sea and a cross on the opposite side. Most of them are from the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Main Streets – Rúa da Mar and Rúa de San Roque
There are two main streets to see in the village; Rúa da Mar and Rúa de San Roque.
Rua da Mar is the main street passing through the old quarter of Combarro and runs parallel to the estuary. The beautiful street is lined with taparias and other restaurants, craft, and souvenir shops and is a great place to see the unique raised granaries and sea houses with balconies filled with flowers. Some of the unique souvenirs sold at the artisan stores on the main street are grape skin and creamy liqueurs which you are welcome to try, tarta de Santiago a well-known dessert on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, and little witch dolls, some of them making howling witch sounds when you walk close-by.
Apparently, the symbolism behind the witches everywhere is that the brooms sweep away all negativity and bad things (this is what one of the shopkeepers explained to me). Another explanation for the witches in Combarro is that Galicia is a place of superstition with many legends involving magic and witches. It is said that the crosses in town were a popular gathering place for witches.
Rúa San Roque has some sets of stairs connecting several small squares with some shops and restaurants. The parish church of this fishing village, the Church of San Roque, can be found on this street. Rúa San Roque is an easy way to walk in and out of the old quarter to the street leading to the marina.
Plaza da Fonte
Plaza da Fonte is a simple, but picturesque square in the heart of the fishing village of Combarro. The square is home to a fountain and one of the most beautiful stone crosses of Combarro. The Cross represents a Pietá (Virgin with Christ in her arms) and dates back to 1721.
Playa do Padrón
Playa do Padrón is the beach located close to the center of Combarro. At low tide you can explore the estuary from the beach for nice views and photo opportunities of the hórreos of Rúa do Mar. It is a nice and different viewpoint of Combarro.
Eating in Combarro
Combarro is a great place to enjoy seaside dining in a pretty town. At restaurants overlooking the ocean in Combarro eating at high tide is nice since you will be sitting close to the ocean. Tapas, seafood, and Gallician soups are very popular in this little fishermen´s town. A great variety of seafood from the area is readily available including clams, scallops, pulpo estila feira, and sardines.
Accommodation in Conbarro
Combarro is a fantastic town to stay in and very popular with Pilgrims walking the Spiritual Variant of The Portuguese Camino de Santiago. There are several rustic stone houses offering apartments for rent. We stayed in Casa Noelmar for a couple of days while walking the Camino, a fantastic apartment in a beautiful old stone house in the center of this unreal little village.
Beautiful stone houses, good facilities, excellent location
Walking Through Combarro on the Camino de Santiago
The town Combarro is located on The Spiritual Variant of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. There are many different routes of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage to follow to Santiago de Compostela. The Spiritual Variant is an optional variant of the Portuguese Camino stretching from Pontevedra to Padron in 3 stages. Two of these stages are walking stages and one by boat. Combarro is located between Pontevedra and Armenteira, a challenging 21 km stage, the location of the town is perfect for splitting this stage into two parts. You walk through Combarro and our accommodation was only a minute or 2 of walking from a Camino marker. The walk from Pontevedra and Armenteira is a tough day with a steep climb out of Combarro. This beautiful little village is the perfect halfway stop.
How to get to Combarro
Combarro is situated in the municipality of Poio in the Province of Pontevedra on the north coast of the Pontevedra estuary. The nearest city is Pontevedra, which is about 18 minutes away (8.1km) along the PO-308.
Where to Park Your Car in Combarro
Several guesthouses have parking available around the old quarter. If you are a day visitor with your own vehicle you can not drive into this area. There is a small parking area available at the leisure port area close to the ocean.
Day Tour to Combarro
Enjoy this awesome Rías Baixas day tour from Santiago de Compostela exploring some of the most interesting towns and landscapes in the Galician region by boat with mussels!
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The strong half of Stingy Nomads, a nomadic aquaman that would be happy to spend all his life in the water diving, surfing and spearfishing but often has to compromise with Alya and go hiking instead. Campbell is responsible for all our marine adventures and following them with write-ups. He loves traveling, braai (BBQ in South Africa), red wine and spending the day in a wetsuit.