We are located in Galicia, specifically in the municipality of Cedeira, in the heart of Sierra de la Capelada and near the sea. A small village in which it was curiously estimated in 2007 that a total of 49 people (29 men and 20 women) lived.
It may not sound familiar and we may not even know how to place it on a map, but we can assure you that after reading this article we are curious to get to know it or to follow some of its routes. Another pilgrimage route to this village, specifically to its sanctuary, very similar to the Way of St. James.
Did you ever hear the saying “A San Andrés de Teixido vai de morto o que non foi de vivo”? (To San Andres de Teixido va de muerto el que no fue de vivo). In addition to being known for its sayings and legends, the most interesting point is its cliffs, which are the highest in Europe.
San Andrés de Teixido may also be known as San Andrés de “Lonxe” or San Andrés “Do cabo do mundo” as it is very close to the northernmost point of the peninsula.
San Andrés de Teixido is a small village, but with an infinite number of tourist attractions, be it for its pilgrimage, its beautiful landscapes, its cliffs, its legends or even its gastronomy. Below we will detail what you can see, eat or do in this wonderful corner of Galicia.
WHAT TO SEE IN SAN ANDRÉS?
Although it is a very small village, it has many points of interest to visit that will make us fall in love with its nature and its history.
Natural landscape: A Capelada
Situated in the Sierra de Capelada, we find this village that at European level is known for its high cliffs. These are the highest cliffs, with a height of 612 meters above sea level. The Atalaia de Herbeira is the viewpoint from where you can appreciate the best views of the cliffs.
We will be able to observe birds of prey, wild horses and even free cattle on our way. Let’s not leave behind the flora of this wonderful environment in which we can highlight the namoreira herva or namorar herba. This town, in addition to its tradition and customs, is famous for the legends that arise from it. One of them has to do with this plant, which says that you have to put a piece in the pocket of the person you love, this would inevitably end up together by fate.
Awesome views: Vixía Hebreira
San Andrés de Teixido offers us a landscape worthy of being contemplated and kept in our retina for the rest of our lives. It may be considered one of the most impressive in Spain. There are several points from which we can enjoy the natural environment of this small village.
The most impressive is found from the Vixía Herbeira, located 612 metres above sea level, the highest point of the cliffs. It is an old construction made entirely of abandoned stone. Another outstanding viewpoint is the Mirador de San Andrés de Teixido, from where spectacular views of the sea and cliffs can be seen, as well as the mythical Barca de San Andrés. Finally we can emphasize the viewpoint of Cruz de Nogueira located in the entrance of the village practically. It often goes unnoticed but if you have the opportunity do not miss the views it offers.
Let’s get down…
At a much lower height, we can find the source of the saint, with an abundant flow and origin of many beliefs. From there, we will continue walking along the edge of the cliff reaching the “peirao”, a narrow coastal plain, where, if the sea is calm, you can walk through immense blocks of granulitas and serpentinitas that cover this entire sector. If, on the other hand, we come across the rough sea, we will be impressed with the breaking of the waves, a true spectacle of nature.
As we all know, the green predominates in the Galician postcard, between the species that we can find in this zone we emphasize for example the yews or “teixos” from where the name of this beautiful town comes.
Not only on land will we observe incredible phenomena of a natural nature, but if we raise our eyes as we pass through the cliffs, we will discover the impressive birds that furrow the blue skies, such as the peregrine falcon, the carnal crow, the tufted cormorant, or migratory birds of prey such as the albela eagle.
Sanctuary of San Andrés de Teixido
After the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, this sanctuary is the second one in Galicia, considered “Meca de los Gallegos”. A temple that has its origin in the twelfth century, when there was already news of a monastery in the place, although the church dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and Gothic-Baroque style of marine typology.
It’s just a place full of mysticism, in which, like the pilgrimage to Santiago, it is collected and carried out from different points until reaching the Saint.
A place of power, where legends try to explain the origin of this sanctuary. The best known and perhaps the most important is the saying “A san Andrés de Teixido, vais de morto o que non foi de vivo” (A san Andrés de Teixido, vais de morto o que non foi de vivo). It is believed that it was originated by the jealousy of Saint Andrew with respect to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
One day he received a visit from God who, accompanied by St. Peter, listened to his complaints. The promise he made to him to change his situation was that from that moment on all mortals would come to his sanctuary and that if they did not do it in life they would do it in spirit, after the dead.
There are many legends that try to explain its origin, perhaps the second best known is A Barca de San Andrés. He tells us that the apostle arrived at this place by boat and when he arrived, he hit the cliffs until he overturned. The boat was supposedly petrified, and today we can see from the viewpoint outside the Sanctuary a rock shaped like a boat.
A sanctuary where the Christian cult of St. Andrew is mixed with pagan rites and pre-Christian traditions, such as the belief that the reptiles and insects you find along the way are pilgrim souls who will not deserve rest until they have visited it.
We make a parenthesis to explain what the famous sanandresiños are. An offering we’ll see if we decide to visit the sanctuary. They are handcrafted by village women, and although they are offerings they have become souvenirs at the same time. The material is curiously breadcrumbs and are painted in bright colors. There are several forms, of course, all related to the saint and his legends as they are:
La Mano: To ask for love, good company and friendship,
The Fish: For work and sustenance,
La Barca: For travel, home and business,
The saint: For physical and mental health, and good coexistence.
Thought: For studies and against envy and evil,
The Cross of Saint Andrew
The staircase: to reach paradise, etc.
Earlier we talked about some of the best known stories and legends of San Andrés de Teixido, but there are countless of them that are hidden in every nook and cranny of this village. In fact, for sale in the village we can find a book that compiles most of them if not all.
In addition to those that we have spoken about the sanctuary, there is another legend that says that each person who goes on pilgrimage must carry a stone that he must leave in order to continue forming the “milladoiros”. If we continue investigating, we find another much more curious one related to the origin of the Sanctuary.
It is said that when God ended the world, he rested, resting his right hand on the region of Galicia. The fingers sank into the ground, even as soft as clay, giving rise to the submerged valleys we know today as the Galician Rías. Jesus, accompanied by his friend Peter, wanted to know the place where his father had rested his hand.
They had to travel all over the Iberian Peninsula until they found the concrete place, where, dead of thirst, they decided to rest. However, the water was not drinkable and they found nothing to eat, so Jesus asked his father for help. God sent him an apple and St. Andrew was sheltered inside, so when Jesus had quenched his hunger and thirst, the saint was liberated.
Therefore, Jesus entrusted the place to this saint, forever. But St. Andrew, desolate, asked him not to abandon him in such an inhospitable place where there was neither food nor water. And Jesus promised him that, from that moment on, the food would be abundant, the water fresh, and that he would be visited by people from all over the world, his name being known and revered by all. The saint accepted.
Finally, another of the legends and already tradition of this magical place is that of throwing to the fountain of the Three Spouts, a bread crumb. If it is kept afloat, the saint will be benevolent and not if he sinks into the water on the contrary.
We can make a single article telling all the legends and customs of this town, so we invite you to continue investigating if it is curious or better still, to visit San Andres de Teixido.
Fresh fish and seafood form the basis of its culinary tradition. All types of seafood are common at local tables. The cockles and coquinas are famous, but, without a doubt, the true protagonist of Cedeira’s cuisine is the barnacle. This happens when you are very close to the northernmost point, so you can’t leave there without trying your star product.
PATH OF SAN ANDRES DE TEIXIDO
As it happens in the Way of Santiago, there is the custom of pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of San Andrés de Teixido. For all those who decide to make this journey we must take several things into account before embarking. It can be done on foot or on horseback, and they will do it with joy as it is said.
Those who are going to do it for the first time, must take a stone and carry it in their pocket to throw it in the milladoiro (leaving evidence that the person made the path and fulfilled). Once in the sanctuary, we’ll leave the offering or a handout. It is also possible to carry candles to light them there.
And we cannot forget when we go out kissing the image of the Saint, who will give us the blessing or as we usually know “to put or saint”. After this ritual, we continue with the traditions and go to the saint’s fountain to throw a bread crumb. All these rites and legends are optional, but they are customs of this pilgrimage along with others of which we spoke earlier.
Go for it
Those who dare to make this little-known pilgrimage outside Galicia do so from different parts of Galicia, but there are marked routes. For example, the road to San Andrésque begins at the monastery of San Martiño de Xuvia, in the municipality of Narón. A total of 42 kilometers to the finish line. In addition to this road there are two more, one from Ferrol and the other from San Adrián de Veiga in the municipality of Ortigueira.
Although the distances are not very long, it is advisable to spend the night in the village because there is no public transport to get back. There is also a ritual for the return, in which it is customary to bring the bouquet of San Andrés, which consists of a hazelnut stick (protection), a twigs of yew (in Galician is teixo, where the name comes from the village) as a symbol of health.
San Andrés de Teixido is religion, spirituality, tradition, legend and history.
There are many routes as well as those offered in our agency for The Way of St. James, which depending on the time available or the distance you want to travel can do. For more information on the routes you can choose if you decide to make this pilgrimage click on the link.