The route of the Camellia
Pazos and gardens
This route will take you through various settlements in the provinces of A Coruña and Pontevedra, as detailed below. Along the journey, you can wander through traditional Galician gardens while taking in their unusual scents and sights.
All year long, there are expos and contests celebrated in different regions of Galicia, since the quality and variety of the specimens is something highly sought after by local amateurs and international expert collectors alike.
Your trip begins at the Mariñán Pazo, which is located in the municipality of Bergondo. The building is situated on a large farm next to the Mandeo River. The French garden, with its geometric flowerbed, is composed of paths lined with boxwood and banana trees, as well as azaleas, ivy, rose bushes, centuries-old varietals of Clethra, and, of course, a wide variety of camellias.
The most notable botanical aspect of Santiago de Compostela is the Alameda, or boulevard, which is located in the city centre. It is in this peaceful place, along with the Carballeira de Santa Susana Park and the shade of the palm and banana trees where the stunning camellias called "jacobeas" grow.
The types of camellias that grow in the garden at the Santa Cruz de Ribadulla Pazo are known for their beauty and large size. For the experts out there, this ornamental botanical garden is the most fascinating in all of Galicia. It was enriched in the 19th century by Iván Armada, who significantly expanded the plant collection.
This magnificent example of the Galician garden is divided into wild areas and others that are more geometrically shaped. It also has an old glass greenhouse. This idyllic enclave was where intellectual and politician Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos sought refuge during the Napoleonic occupation of the early 19th century.
Known as the “Galician Versailles”, the Pazo of Oca has walled gardens and a large, river-like pond that passes between them, where you will find a stone rowboat bursting with vegetation and the red of camellias in bloom. If you take a walk, you will end up on the stunning Paseo de los Tilos promenade. Perpendicular to the main façade is a Barroque church and a beautiful arched corridor that connects to the building reserved for private use; it is adorned with furniture and artwork spanning several centuries.
The Casa da Matanza or Casa Museo, where the great writer Rosalía de Castro died in 1885, remains practically untouched insofar as the original structure is concerned. Inside, there are photos of family members and fellow intellectuals, as well as personal memorabilia, documents, and various objects from daily life in 19th century Galicia. There are various camellias in the house's gardens.
In Vilagarcía de Arousa you can visit the medieval Rubiáns Pazo and its extensive landscaped forest, the austerity of which is broken up by the colourful camellias, some from the famous Eugenia de Montijo variety. The uniqueness of this space has made it worthy of mention by the International Gardens of Excellence.
Be sure to visit its winery, which produces wines with the Rías Baixas designation of origin, to par
Pazo de Lourizán. Pontevedra ctake in a tasting. During the guided visit they will show you inside the pazo and its chapel.
The gardens at the Pazo of Quinteiro da Cruz, located in Ribadumia, are surrounded by vineyards with the Rías Baixas designation of origin, its own winery, and a native forest. The true star of the landscaped area, where a plethora of exotic and tropical species flourish, is the camellia: some 5,000 specimens of more than a thousand varieties. Another pazo with a winery is Fefiñáns, in Cambados.
Built in the 18th century, the Pazo of A Saleta, in Meis, has a chapel and pigeon house, as was typical in stately buildings from this era, as well as magnificent gardens. The one that surrounds the rural house itself is planted with more than two hundred varieties of camellias and was the fruit of labours of a British couple named the Gimsons, who, after acquiring the building in the 1960s, created an English-style botanical garden with species from all of the world's continents. It has subsequently become one of the foremost in all of Spain.
The origins of the Pazo of Lourizán date back to the 15th century, although the building itself —constructed in modernist style— was only erected in the 19th century. Its 54 hectares of land served a variety of purposes over the course of its existence, from farmland to a forest research centre. The abundance of a wide array of camellias makes this landscaped area burst with colour.
Camellias and roses are intermixed in the Castelo de Soutomaior garden, where their presence has increased over the years. The delicate flowers are surrounded by centuries-old chestnut trees and plant species from every continent in the world.
Just like the Rubiáns gardens, the ones at Soutomaior have also received the distinction of International Garden of Excellence.
You can get the best views of the Vigo ría from the Parque de O Castro [O Castro Park], and you can explore the city's Roman past, all while enjoying the camellias that flourish among the orange and cypress trees.
The garden surrounding the Quiñones de León Pazo/Museum, a municipal museum that displays archaeological, painting and decorative art collections, offers you the opportunity to meander among an infinite number of plant species right in the heart of Vigo. Come at the end of February to catch the camellias in full bloom.
Galician gardens hold many surprises. Do not hesitate to check out the Pazo of San Lourenzo de Trasouto, in Santiago de Compostela, where you will find magnificent camellia specimens and a garden full of boxwood hedges trimmed into allegorical Christian symbols.
Similarly, the Pazo of Faramello, built at the beginning of the 18th century between Santiago and Padrón, is surrounded by a 126,000 m2 farm with bucolic landscaped areas. Some of its flowerbeds are built on the remains of an old paper mill at the edge of the river that cuts across the land.