The oficial name of this beach is Praia de Aguas Santas, but everyone calls it the Beach of the Cathedrals (Playa de las Catedrales in Spanish) or Praia das Catedrais in Galician. When one walks between its high rocks, it’s impossible not to feel like wandering through the flying buttresses of giant natural cathedrals dedicated to the sea. In fact, this spot in Lugo, located between Ribadeo and Foz, pays tribute to the sea. When the tide is low, the traveler might stroll through the long sandbank which hosts these majestic archways. However, when the tide comes in, we shall go seek shelter, since the whole beach disappears underwater. The postcard shifts dramatically, but it’s still incredibly charming.
There is no doubt that the Beach of the Cathedrals radiates magic. Some might even mean this literally, since there are countless stories set in this mysterious landscape. Most of them have been told from one generation to the next, like a myth that will not leave these extraordinarily beautiful rocks.
Praia das Catedrais is also a beach full of legends. Perhaps the most popular one is the story of two men that were seized by the sea. Two unfortunate sailors who fell under the mermaids’ spell, and were trapped in a cage of sea foam. Their souls have been confined for centuries between water and rocks, inside passageways that can only be seen if one stays with the feet on the sand for too long. At least that’s what they say.
According to popular beliefs, this place is the portal between two worlds: the world of the land and the world of the sea. A great archway diving into the ocean would be the gate. If we get to see the sunset at the exact moment the tide is at its lowest, legend says that the old pagan gods will grant us any wish we want.
When night falls, new possibilities arise. Seamen say that, in the darkest of nights, one can see bright spots guiding them to the gate to another world. Those would be the eyes of the mermaids, who, according to the oldest tales, and despite the malice they are usually attributed to, always light the path back home.
Moreover, this gate between two worlds could light up at any time. The lucky person who beholds that will be able to bring back the past or predict the future.
As we said, the Beach of the Cathedrals is a magical place. Therefore, and considering its cultural and natural value, we should take good care of it. In the last few years, tourists have flocked to this spectacular spot, and although it makes perfect sense to want to immerse in the legends of the beach, we should not let fantasy interfere with our need to preserve it.