Galicia, land of camellias
Gardens at the Pazo Rubiáns Manor House. Photo courtesy of the Galicia Tourist Board
We invite you to discover 12 magical places in Galicia, where you'll find the best examples of this beautiful flower. Most of these places are pazos: stunning manor houses which are typical of this part of Spain. You'll also find parks, castles, museums, etc. - perfect for letting yourself be surrounded by the charm of the culture and nature in Galicia.
Legend has it that Marco Polo brought camellias to Europe as a souvenir from China and the Silk Route. But it was actually the Portuguese who brought this beautiful flower to Galicia from the East. Thanks to this, today we can find more than 8,000 varieties of camellias in this area. Come and discover the places where you can find this plant, which was considered to the "most beautiful flower under the heavens". Pazo de Mariñán Manor House In the Pazo de Mariñán manor house (Bergondo, A Coruña), situated on the coast, you'll be able to smell the scent of camellias and find pleasant surprises such as the Palabra Garden. In this garden, each tree bears the message of the person who planted it. We can read José Hierro's cypress, Ian Gibson's rhododendron, Mario Benedetti's ceibo from Uruguay, and Camilo José Cela's box tree, which states: "Let's try to save ourselves by saving nature". Alameda in Santiago de Compostela If you want to take a relaxing walk, we recommend coming to this park in the capital of Galicia. You'll be surrounded by a landscape of hundred-year-old oak trees, called "carballos" in Galician. And under the shade of lemon trees, banana trees and palm trees, you'll see fantastic camellias. Pazo de Santa Cruz de Ribadulla Manor House More than 200 varieties of camellias grow here (Vedra, A Coruña) every winter. This special collection dates back to the 19th century and can be considered the best in Galicia. A real forest of flowers (leading to an avenue with hundred-year-old olive trees, a waterfall and a row of box trees) will make you feel as if you were in a fairy tale.
Pazo de Oca Manor House A visit to this magnificent pazo (A Estrada, Pontevedra) alone makes the journey worthwhile. In the gardens you'll find some of the oldest camellias in Spain, which flower until May, next to the hydrangeas. Rosalía de Castro House-Museum The old home of one of the most famous Galician writers (in Padrón, A Coruña) preserves a small romantic garden, perfect for enjoying camellias and getting lost in the poetic environment. Pazo de Rubiáns Manor House It is a medieval pazo (Vilagarcía de Arousa, Pontevedra) which preserves hundred-year-old camellias - yellow, white, fuchsia and red. It has the famous variety, "Eugenia de Montijo". It was given this name to honour the red-haired empress who was born in Granada. Pazo Quinteiro Da Cruz Manor House The camellias in the gardens of this pazo (Ribadumia, Pontevedra) bloom in February and put on a real show of colour. When you get here you'll feel just great; you'll hear the trickle of water on the rock and you'll be surrounded by Albariño vineyards (one of the most typical wines in Galicia). Pazo de A Saleta Manor House An English couple planted many exotic plants in the gardens of this pazo (Meis, Pontevedra), in 1968, including camellias. Since then, more than 200 varieties flower in this place. Pazo de Lourizán Manor House Tradition has it that in Lourizán (Pontevedra) it is not a metaphor to say you'll walk on a bed of flowers. That is because the gardens of this impressive pazo are full of camellias, as well as oak trees, chestnut trees, birch trees, cypresses, monkey-puzzle trees, cedar trees, magnolias, etc. Soutomaior Castle The most outstanding feature in this place (in Pontevedra) is the contrast between the old medieval fortress and the delicate garden, where camellias are mixed with roses of all colours and sizes. O Castro Park This park in the city of Vigo (Pontevedra) is built on the site of an old Celtic fort. We recommend climbing right to the top, not only to see the camellias, but to get a marvellous panoramic view of the estuary and the coming and going of the boats. When is the best time? At sunset. Pazo-Museum Quiñones de León If you decide to visit it (also in Vigo), you'll be able to see the largest collection of Galician paintings, and magical gardens where there is an avenue lined with double rows of camellias, called Paseo de Odriozola, in honour of a scholar in this genre. A real beauty. Many of these gardens organise guided tours so that you can get to know all their secrets. And if you travel to Galicia from December to March, you'll find that in many towns (Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Domaio, Tomiño, Vedra, Lérez, A Guarda, Narón, Boiro, etc.) there are various exhibitions and competitions related to camellias. All you have to do is follow the scent of this flower. You will find all the information on the official website of the Galicia Tourist Board.