Xalfas and Monte Louro Lagoon
Uno de los grandes escenarios de la Galicia mágica
A great mass, with a double summit, juts out into the sea like a sentinel; behind it, a lagoon shelters migratory animals and a curious endemic flora; the postcard, one of the best in the beautiful Galician land, is completed with a beach, almost a narrow isthmus, of very fine sand. The variable sunlight does the rest: Mount Louro has been a refuge for man’s imagination for millennia.
The gigantic granite mass of Mount Louro is one of the most representative scenes of Magical Galicia. Closing the estuary of Muros Noia at the northern end, its original silhouette of two peaks (with a maximum height of 240 metres), enters the sea giving free rein to our imagination: in its history myths and legends are mixed with the memory of ancestral pagan rites.
Its peculiar location provides not only fantastic views of the Muros-Noia estuary, but further south it allows us to enjoy the Barbanza peninsula, with the Baroña Hillfort in the distance, and to the north it shows us the Ancoradoiro beach, with the Lariño lighthouse, and even further in the background, the cape of the end of the world: Fisterra.
Climbing to its summit is an exercise that requires a certain sacrifice, but we can also go round it, enjoying the softness of the landscape, in which the presence of a lighthouse at Queixal point is another point of interest.
The whole area is a privileged space from the landscape point of view, as it includes, in addition to the beautiful virgin beach of Areia Maior, the Xalfas lagoon, which has been declared an area of natural interest due to its great biological richness.
About 200 m in diameter, the lagoon is separated from the sea by a dune barrier that prevents the Longarelo river from flowing into the sea.
In this type of closed ecosystem, the presence of a peculiar flora and fauna is relatively frequent. The Xalfas lagoon is no exception, which contributes to the attraction of the area. Specifically, we find species capable of resisting the contradiction of the dryness of an almost dune-like setting mixed with very high air humidity. Among a selection of plants capable of fixing the sands, the presence of Lilaeopsis caroilnensis (known as aquatic grass) stands out, this being the only area in Galicia where there are specimens of this species.
As far as fauna is concerned, we also find a curious contradiction: at the beginning of the summer, species such as the mallard, common seal, little grebe or the little grebe nest here; while, on the other hand, we also enjoy other species that choose the area to hibernate, such as the tufted duck, wigeon, mazarin or grey heron. In the stormy season we can see puffins and grey herons in search of shelter. A large number of amphibians, reptiles and even otters are also part of the family that this unique area offers us.