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The Shifting Sand Dunes of Galicia

More than one kilometre long, 250 metres wide and 20 metres high, the Corrubedo shifting dune stands out from a distance in a nature park which is the most visited in Galicia, welcoming nearly 300,000

More than one kilometre long, 250 metres wide and 20 metres high, the Corrubedo shifting dune stands out from a distance in a nature park which is the most visited in Galicia, welcoming nearly 300,000 people a year.

Situated between the estuaries of Arousa and Muros e Noia, the park covers about 1,000 hectares. It consists of the dunes, Corrubedo beach and the lagoons of Vixán – of fresh water, and those of Carregal, of salt water.

Corrubedo is the home of the largest dune in Galicia.

The moving dune in this open space between the Ría Arousa and that of Muros and Noia is impressive in size, more than a kilometre long on its curved advancing front. During the hardest winter months it reaches twenty metres high. It is calculated to be between 200 and 250 metres wide; although it seems that it was larger in the past. Somewhere between legend and exaggeration, it was documented that at the end of the 19th century the dune was more than 60 metres high. To windward, facing the sea, it is long and low lying, like the back of an animal. It drops to leeward, towards the ground, and with no vegetation to hold it back advances across the plain at a speed of two to three centimetres a year.

The Park’s attractions also include two lagoons, one of salt water and the other of fresh water, with extensive mud flats connected to them and internationally important wetlands. Vixán, the fresh water lagoon, is fed by the waters of the modest Muíño stream, subject to seasonal fluctuations in water volume. Carregal, the salt water lagoon, is connected to the ocean, dividing in two the long beach facing the rocks called Pedras da Ferreira.

This is one of the most visited Natural Parks in Spain.

There is a network of paths and footbridges to avoid invading the dune area and to show visitors the area as completely as possible while showing respect for the natural environment. The starting point is the Casa da Costa or Visitors’ Reception Centre located in O Vilar. Located in this protected area is the lookout point of Castrocidá, from which good views of this whole stretch of coast can be had. It is highly recommended to visit the megalithic dolmen of Axeitos, closely linked to the Park, and the Galician-Roman hill-fort of Baroña, at the extreme edge of the coastal border which stretches to the mouth of the Ría de Muros and Noia. On this journey you will also find two other protected lagoons, that of Xuño and Muro, close to the famous beach of As Furnas which was immortalized by Amenábar in his film Mar adentro – The Sea Inside.

Cover image by Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez (Lmbuga Commons)(Lmbuga Galipedia) Publish by: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez from Wikimedia Commons

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