Of all the Rías Baixas, the long, narrow Ría de Pontevedra is the archetype, its steep and forested sides closely resembling a Scandinavian fjord. Pontevedra itself is a lovely old city, set slightly back from the sea at the point where the Río Lérez begins to widen out into the bay. Though it lacks a beach of its own, it makes a good base for excursions along either shore of its ría. The north coast is the more popular with tourists, with Sanxenxo (Sanjenjo) as its best-known resort, but if you want to avoid the crowds, head for the south coast, which stretches out past secluded beaches towards the rugged headland, ideal for camping in privacy.
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Compact, charming and very tourist friendly, PONTEVEDRA is the quintessential old Galego town. Located just short of its namesake ría, at the last bend in the Río Lérez, it was supposedly founded by a Greek hero returning from the Trojan War, and later became a prosperous medieval fishing port. Although it has lost its ancient walls, it still centres on an attractive zona monumental. A maze of pedestrianized flagstoned alleyways, interspersed with colonnaded squares, granite crosses and squat stone houses with floral balconies, the old quarter is always lively, making it perfect for a night out enjoying the local food and drink.