The Atlantic Lands comprise the twelve town councils that make up the Greater Metropolitan Area of Vigo (MAIV). These municipalities share a territory in the south of the province of Pontevedra and their binding element is the dynamic, economic, social and cultural force of the city of Vigo. The MAIV has an extension of 650 square kilometres and about 450,000 inhabitants, half of which live in the Vigo urban area while the rest are spread around the parishes that make up the rural perimeter of the city as well as in the population centres of the other eleven town councils.
Within the Rias Baixas context, the MAIV is made up of town councils that are located within Val Miñor, Baixo Miño, Terra de Montes and the Vigo area. A benign climate is the common denominator where summers are mild and winters are moderately cold, with slightly extreme temperatures in the mountainous areas. The influence of Vigo Bay together with the protection provided by the mountainous crown against the dominant winds, create a microclimate which is nearer to the Mediterranean than the Atlantic climate.
The Greater Metropolitan Area of Vigo is the geographic area with the highest importance in the whole of Galicia, both from a demographic and an economic point of view. It represents just 2% of the Galician area but houses 15% of its population. The industry here accounts for 70% of Galician exports.
This economic and demographic potential is reinforced by the heterogeneity of its territory, which makes it a singular and quite attractive tourist centre since the traveller can avail of the advantages and services of a great city like Vigo while at the same time enjoy the great natural diversity which is full of contrasts: mountains in their natural state with woods and rivers, river beaches and waterfalls, tracks for hiking, on bicycle or on horseback, coastal spaces which are nature reserves with flora and fauna, sea beaches that extend for kilometres and little coves with sheltered waters. The mountains, interior landscape and the coastline are the quintessence of the Rías Baixas. You can enjoy all of this in just the one destination, namely, the Atlantic Lands.
Despite the Greater Metropolitan Area of Vigo being a young institution, the historical links between its towns go back quite some time. The Romans traced a coastal road, the twentieth of the Itinerarium of Antonino, also known as “Per Loca Maritima”, which entered the area through Baiona and left it through Arcade, in Soutomaior, following the Vigo Bay coastline. The first Roman Road was followed in the Middle Ages by the Pilgrim’s Route to Santiago de Compostela, which originated in Portugal and whose destination was Compostela. The road entered this territory in O Porriño, and is the most traditional route. The Pilgrim’s route then passes through Mos and Redondela before entering Soutomaior, or through Baiona, along the Roman coastal route.
The historic episode that most united the people from this land was perhaps the struggle for independence after the Napoleonic invasion. Farmers, fishermen and men from all walks of society from Val Miñor, Fragoso, Terras de Montes, the County of Louriña fought against the invader in Mos, Porriño and in Vigo and later did the same in Pontesampaio, on the banks of the Verdugo river.
Vigo gained impetus towards the end of the 19th century. Maritime and rail communications favoured an industrialisation process that permitted demographic flow, despite this being a time of massive Galician emigration to America and Europe, and such a growing trend was maintained until the end of the 20th century. However, this growth of the Vigo urban centre was not at the expense of the neighbouring towns but instead it stimulated their development and that of their resources. Thanks to the port of Vigo, Porriño grew and internationalised its star product, namely, granite. Redondela implanted its own industrial fabric starting with two sectors: textile and food processing. In Baixo Miño, agricultural activity and especially viticulture began to get projected into other markets.
Nowadays, with a communications network that is fast and convenient, the Atlantic Lands are now becoming a unique destination not only because of its ample touristic offer but also because of the diversity of its natural resources and that of the countryside, artistic and cultural offer, gastronomy, sports and because of the quality of its services.
How to arrive
By car, bus, train, plane, ship, you can choose from any of the mentioned means to get to the Atlantic Lands.
From the Eastern part of Galicia, the plateau and the rest of Spain, the A52 dual carriageway is the principal way to arrive to Porriño, Mos and Vigo. Porriño is connected to Redondela through the N550 and from there onwards to Fornelos and Pazos de Borbén. The same road continues on to Soutomaior. We can also go towards the councils located in Val Miñor from Porriño: both by taking the PO331 road to Gondomar first and then proceeding onwards to Nigrán and Baiona or by taking the motorway link to Gondomar, Nigrán and Baiona, which is on the dual carriageway.
From Portugal, take the A55 up to Porriño. From there on follow the itinerary of the A 52. For destinations in the Val Miñor, there are three possible alternate routes:
1. For those arriving along the northern coastline of Portugal: in Vila Nova da Cerveira, cross the bridge to Goián and take the C550 to Baiona, which passes through A Guarda. From Tui, take the PO340 to Gondomar and from there onwards to Nigrán and Baiona.
2. For those coming along the Portuguese motorway: in Tui, take the C550 to A Guarda and drive from there onwards to Baiona.
3. For those of you who wish to go to Gondomar and Nigrán, take the PO340 in Tui.
From the North of Galicia, take the N550 (Ferrol-Tui) or the AP9 motorway up to Vigo. There is an exit at Vilaboa which takes you to Soutomaior and Redondela. There is also a connection with the A55 for entry into Mos and Porriño, and with the motorway… to get to Val Miñor.
The Vigo bus station has connections with the principal cities in Spain and with all cities in Galicia. There are buses from this station that take you to all towns in the Vigo area.
Five of the twelve town councils that make up to the Atlantic Lands have a train station, however only two of these have long distance train halts, namely Redondela and Vigo, which is the final terminus. Trains arrive to both stations daily from Ávila, Barcelona, Bilbao, Burgos, León, Logroño, Lleida, Madrid, Ourense, Porto, Palencia, Pamplona, San Sebastián, Segovia, Tarragona, Zamora, and Zaragoza. On Saturdays, there is a train from Alicante. There are thirteen trains along the Atlantic route that ply between Coruña, Santiago and Vigo. The regional trains that go or come along the Ourense line stop at Os Valos (Mos), O Porriño and at Salvaterra de Miño. At Redondela, those of you who come by long distance train as well as those of you who take the regional train along the Ourense line can change on to the Arcade (Soutomaior) local line.
For more information on operating schedules, itinerary and prices, see http://www.renfe.es/.
Peinador airport is the principal recommended destination for travelling to the Atlantic Lands, either by taking some of the direct flights that arrive from the several capital cities in Spain or via transfers at Madrid, Barcelona and Paris, with which this airport has several daily flights.
The port of Vigo was a stopping point for the numerous transatlantic liners and passenger cabotage. There is no regular line with Vigo nowadays. However, there are a number of visitors who come to Vigo in their own boats, mainly sailing boats. Vigo Bay has berthing or anchoring points at the Royal Yacht Club in Baiona, at the Nautical Clubs in Panxón and in Nigrán; the Maritime Club at Canido, the Liceo Marítimo at Bouzas, the Royal Nautical Club at Vigo, the Maritime Port at Lagoa, in Vigo; Sports berths at Arealonga, Cesantes, Redondela, Arcade and at Soutomaior.