We have been posting several towns and villages lately and I have just realized that many of them were places where old pilgrims stopped to relax or cure their wounds. Long ago, the Romans knew about the curative properties of Spain’s thermal springs. Many of these are in the north of the country, at places along the route covered by pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. They are our spa resorts nowadays. There are many on the Camino and they will make feel you as in heaven. Spa treatments are the best therapy for stress and the tensions of daily life.
Discover these thermal spa resorts, which offer all kinds of facilities and the most sophisticated therapeutic methods.
Galicia is a real paradise for spa tourism. This is both on account of the large number of spa resorts and for the quality of the waters. Here you will find all kinds of spa resorts: from the most traditional ones, ideal for curing aches and pains, to the most modern, equipped with the latest applied technologies for health, relaxation and beauty treatments. The resorts at A Toxa Island, Caldas de Reis and Mondariz are some of the most famous, Caldas de Reis is literally on the Camino Portuguese but you have to stray from your route a little if you want to visit A Toxa island or Mondariz. You will also find the best thalassotherapy centres, offering therapies using marine waters, algae and mud. As you can see, there is a wide array of options.
A Toxa Island
It is in O Grove in the province of Pontevedra. A Toxa is well-known because it is provided with the most famous and smart Balneario in Galicia. It offers thermal facillities and Talassotherapy centre in A Toxa Island as well as a Spa resort in San Vicente. A legend says that a man left his dying donkey on the island, only to return and find him youthful and spry.
For body care A Toxa offers a wide range of shower gels and deodorant, soap and body milk that you can buy in a shop next to the spa resort. The famous soap company, A Toxa has been making mineral salt based soaps since the early 20th century.
You can see a church covered completely in sea shells. The outer walls adorned with messages from pilgrims.
A Toxa is a fun destination, about six hours from Madrid and only an hour from Santiago de Compostela. The island of A Toxa is a summer and fishing resort in the south of Galicia, which boasts warmer waters, a luxurious mineral spring-fed spa, a casino and golf course, creating a playground for the wealthy. But there are many other inexpensive options nearby. Spa resorts in this area are a common business and you can find them in Sanxenxo and Portonovo.
During low tide, you will find women of all ages, harvesting clams and other shellfish from an area that celebrates the bounty of the sea every October in a grand seafood festival.Take the trip, sip the Albariño (Galicia’s white wine) and take in all that this lovely little island has to offer.
Caldas de Reis
Caldas is on the Camino Portuguese. Its mineral water is highly recommended. Caldas is a spa town where pilgrims may find all services and also enjoy the thermal spring waters with their curative powers, used since Roman times. When you enter the square leading to the Calle Real, the main street in this town, you will find the Roman bridge. Close by, the 18th-century spa of Dávila offers a thermal spring accessible for visitors just by the façade.
Here you may also visit several churches such as Santa María’s and Saint Thomas Becket’s, the only Galician church devoted to the Bishop of Canterbury, a famous pilgrim who spent the night here while doing the Camino. Besides, the River Umia is flanked by a beautiful botanic garden open to the public built at the end of the 19th century to offer some solace to the spa-goers who were being treated at the spa.
In the region of Meis and Ribadumia, many pilgrims decide to go to the Ruta da Pedra e Ruta da Auga (Stone route and Water route), a walk that runs through streams and almost 50 restored water mills upstream all the way to the Cistercian monastery of Armenteira, where there is a hostel. There are signs along the route to return to the Camino.
In the late 19th Century, the Balneario of Mondariz in Galicia’s Tea River Valley was developed into an international spa that attracted tourists and health-seekers from throughout Spain, Europe, and the world. Dozens–perhaps hundreds–of mineral springs surge or trickle through the honeycomb geology of Mondariz, but the most famous is the source of Gándara, which was discovered in 1872 and gave birth to the spa.
The tiny village and its 52 recorded mineral springs became the hub of a spa complex that included grand hotels, fountains where guests could take the waters, and thermal baths for patients who suffered from stomach, intestinal, cardiovascular, urinary, and metabolic complaints.
Would you like to make a relaxing stop on your Camino de Santiago, here you have choices, don´t miss them.
Buen Camino, amigos!
Photo 1. http://www.alovelylifeindeed.com
Photo 2 mariscadoras http://www.efti.org/es/galeria/miguel-vallinas-prieto/mariscadoras
Photo 3 hotel toja http://granhotellatoja.tumblr.com/
Photo 4 caldas de reis http://xacopedia.com/Caldas_de_Reis
Photo 5 ruta da auga https://jcarlosalvarez.wordpress.com
Photo 6 mondariz: http://www.sientegalicia.com