Noia Ria Mirrador
The "ria de Noia i Muros" is quite spectacular, however it is difficult to get a birds eye view of it unless you can find a mirrador (elevated viewing point) that enables you to look down and along the coastline.
Mirradors appear all over Galicia and they are usually signified on maps, but finding them and reaching them is not always that easy. The one that I used for the photos on this page wound up a narrow track with some kind of electrical mast collection at the top, the views though were spectacular, even on a less than perfect day.
Above right, this is a view from the mirrador looking across the "ria de Noia i Muros", with Noia being the town in the foreground and the mountain beneath the left edge of the cloud in the far distance being Monte Louro. Unfortunately it was not the brightest of days when I took the photos.
What you are seeing
As you look at the first photo (above), the town to the left is Noia and you can probably tell that this part of the ria is fed by two main rivers. Looking to the right side of the ria you can see Muros on the opposite shore and Monte Louro (the large hill) in the distance. This is the entrance to the ria on the Muros side (north). Central to the photo, and just about visible, is the new bypass bridge that cuts across the Noia section of the ria, saving those travelling to or from Santiago de Compostela from having to travel through Noia itself.
The second photo (below) is looking inland and to the right (east) of the first. The main feature of this photo is the new road (you can see part of it traverse a valley). This road leads from Noia (and beyond) to Santiago and it reduces journey time to maybe 20 minutes or so (i.e. from Noia to Santiago). Three decades or so ago this journey would take around an hour and a half and even ten years ago getting to Noia from Santiago de Compostela airport took a good hour or more.
Unfortunately, out of viewable scale on these pictures are the hundreds of hydro-electric windmills that line the hill tops throughout Galicia. There must be tens of thousands in total and they provide a substantial input into the regional grid. Interestingly, despite the exceptional beauty of the region, I have never heard a single complaint about them, or encountered any resistance to their construction. Strange then that in the UK everyone seems to object to having them – at least in their own backyard!
The photos that you are looking at were taken in early August, but the same landscape would be painted yellow in April and May with a mix of daisies, a wild broom like bush, and yellow gause. For me this is when Galicia is at its most beautiful. The other thing that I was unable to capture in shot was the abundance of birds of prey. Buzzards and peregrine falcons seem to be everywhere in Galicia and this hill top was overflowing with them, even to the point of having a peregrine falcon narrowly miss diving into the car as we ascended the hill.
Whilst the cloudy and hazy weather prevented suitable photos, it was also possible from this mirrador to turn southwards and look across to the next ria, namely ria de arousa. On a really clear day the views would be more than worthwhile and anyone with a really good camera would have a field day.
Similar mirradors to this one are found at a number of strategic points looking down all the rias and they offer not only great views, but a geographical appreciation of what the rias are actually like. Some mirradors also offer views of the region’s inland mountainous sceneryand these are equally impressive.
Above, another view from the mirrador.