Driving from Muros to Santa Uxea de Ribeira
The seaside town of Muros has many old houses and a harbor, but Noya (also spelled Noia), to the southeast, is more impressive. If you don't have a car but would like to see at least one or two ría fishing villages, you can do so at either Noya or Muros: Both are on a bus route connecting them with Santiago de Compostela. Monbus (tel. 98-229-29-00; www.monbus.es) runs 11 buses per day from Santiago for Noya, and 9 to Muros. Some of the tiny villages and beaches are connected by bus routes. Rates are in the 12€ to 14€ range.
If you do drive, the entire trip is only 76km (47 miles); at a leisurely pace it should take you 2 hours. Noya has a number of interesting, handsome old churches, including the 14th-century Igrexa de Santa María (with tombstones dating from the 10th c.) and Igrexa de San Francisco. A lot of good beaches lie on the northern bank of the ría near Muros. Noya is your best bet for a lunch stop.
From Noya, the coast road (N-550) continues west to Porto do Son. You can take a detour to Cabo de Corrubedo, with its lighthouse, before continuing on to Santa Uxea de Ribeira at the southern tip. Ribeira is a fishing port and a canning center. At Santa Uxea de Ribeira you'll see Ría de Arousa, the largest and deepest of the inlets.
From Ribeira, continue east along the southern coastal road to A Puebla de Caramiñal. From here, take a marked route 10km (6 miles) inland into the mountains, to admire the most magnificent panorama in all of rías country -- the Mirador de la Curota, at 498m (1,633 ft.). The four inlets of the Rías Bajas can, under the right conditions, be seen from the belvedere. In clear weather you can view Cape Fisterra.
Back on N-550, drive as far as Padrón, where, it is claimed, the legendary sea vessel arrived bringing Santiago (St. James) to Spain. Padrón was also the home of romantic poet Rosalía de Castro (1837-85), sometimes called the Emily Dickinson of Spain. Her house, Casa Museo de Rosalía de Castro, Carretera de Hebrón (tel. 98-181-12-04; www.rosaliadecastro.org), is open Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 1:30pm and 4 to 7pm, and Sunday 10am to 1:30pm. Admission is 1.50€. Padrón makes a good lunch stop.
From Padrón, follow the alleged trail of the body of St. James north along N-550 to Santiago de Compostela, or take N-550 south to Pontevedra.