Belonging to the Atlantic Island National Park since 2002, the nature reserve of Cortegada has a surface area of 42 hectares, of which 39 belong to the island and the rest to Malveira, Briñas and Con islets.
Cortegada has a great historic, ethnographic and environmental value. Cited by Plinio, at the beginning of the 20th century, it was donated by the town to king Alfonso XIII, with the idea of building a summer palace on the island. The project never became a reality and after one hundred years of abandonment, Cortegada is today almost a fossil of a typical village of the ría. However, the island also has a great ecological value: it contains a spectacular laurel forest, and on Contegada up to fourteen endemic species can be found.
Visits to Cortegada can be either self-guided or participating in the guided tours that the environmental companies Corticata and Alvamar carry out.
A 7.5-meter semi-rigid boat that sets off from Carril is used for taking up to 15 people to the island. The interpretative route goes along the paths that have been traced within the island and goes through the most extensive laurel forest in Southern Europe. Apart from its fauna and flora, people can also learn about the rich history of this place: the origin of the village, the donation of the island to the king Alfonso XIII and how it was recovered for the public property to become part of the Atlantic Island National Park. The tour takes about two hours and a half.
If Cortegada island has an undeniable charm by daylight, it is by no means less spectacular by moonlight with a sight of the sky and sounds that can only be perceived and enjoyed by night. The route starts at the port of Carril at dusk, during the sunset. The trip takes two hours, after which the way back to Carril is performed under the starry night sky and possibly with the sight of the milky seas.
Cortegada & Los Peperetes canned food company. After the interpretative route to Cortegada, the traveler can also enjoy a lunch served by “Los Peperetes”, a canned food company (of handmade delicacies) located right in front of the island. Since 1990, the year it opened, “Los Peperetes” has maintained its original philosophy: best quality, excellent product caught from the Galician rías, handmade and a limited production.
After the interpretative route to Cortegada, the traveler can also enjoy a lunch served by “Los Peperetes”, a canned food company (of handmade delicacies) located right in front of the island. Since 1990, the year it opened, “Los Peperetes” has maintained its original philosophy: best quality, excellent product caught from the Galician rías, handmade and a limited production.
After a route around Cortegada, a small vessel sets off from there and takes the same itinerary that the remains of the Apostle Santiago followed one day. Up the river, there are some crosses that mark the way to Compostela as well as the defensive towers of Catoira, the place where the Viking landing reproducing the battles between the peasants and Barbarians looking for Santiago’s treasure takes place. Eventually, and following up the river Ulla, it is Padrón, origin of great legends and the birthplace of important writers such as Rosalía de Castro and Camilo José Cela. This route takes 3 hours and a half.