Somewhere along the way during our research into Northern Spain we saw a picture of Cathedral beach and decided we had to go! We added it to our list of places to see and left it at that. As our trip grew closer we happened to read somewhere that you need tickets to visit the beach since Galicia, Spain does monitor and limit the number of people who can visit each day. This led to much more research to make sure we had everything figured out before we left. This post will outline what you need to know to make sure you make the most of your visit to this amazing beach!
First of all it is worth it! The beach really is incredible and if you are in the area we would highly recommend a visit. Plan to spend at least an hour down on the beach itself. It is much larger with more rock formations, arches and caves to explore than we realized.
During the spring through fall months you need to have tickets to visit the beach. You cannot book your tickets until 15 days prior to your visit. You will need to enter names and passport information for each person visiting. Then you will get an email with a barcode which they will scan when you enter the beach (so make sure to print it or save it on your phone).
Use this website to book your tickets:
When to visit the beach:
Cathedral beach is different than most beaches in that the time of day and time of month really matter for your visit. The beach is only accessible at low tide. At high tide the water is too high to walk around the rocks. Low tide happens twice a day. The tides will be predicted on tide tables about two weeks ahead of time on the website listed below.
It’s good to know a little bit about the tides when you’re visiting this area. The tides have different heights based on the lunar phase. The best time to visit the beach is at the full moon or the week after. This is the time of the month when the difference between high and low tide is the greatest. Generally speaking that means low tide is lower and high tide is higher. That means there will be more beach to walk on during low tide at this time of the month. The week before the full moon is the worst time to visit the beach as this week the difference between high and low tide is at it’s lowest. During this week you won’t be able to walk on the beach without getting wet, even at low tide.
The tide table on this website is in Spanish. The bajamar column is low tide and the pleamar column is high tide. The altura or height column shows the height the sea will reach. It varys each day based on the lunar phase. The closer that number is to zero, the lower the tide/the better the day is to visit.
During your Visit:
Once you scan your ticket and head down to the beach you won’t be allowed to go back down a second time, so take your time! Even though the number of visitors is limited each day it will be crowded. The beach is large with lots to explore but do be aware it can be difficult to get a picture of the rock formations without anybody in them. Most of the large arches you will have seen pictures of before you go are to the right of the stairs down to the beach. But trust us walking the entire length of the beach in both directions is worth it. We recommend wearing shorts or pants that can easily be rolled up and wear shoes you can easily kick off. We visited the week after the full moon at low tide (the best week to visit) and while the beach was mostly dry there are rock formations closer to the water so if you want to see it all you may have to walk through some shallow water.
There is a restaurant at the top of the stairs to the beach if you want lunch after you explore. We didn’t eat there so cannot recommend it. There are also picnic tables with better views of the beach so we would recommend taking a picnic lunch or some snacks to enjoy there before or after your beach walk. There are bathrooms you can use while your there but do be prepared, you will have to pay a small amount so do bring some small change.
We hope this helps! Go and explore this incredibly beautiful beach!