“The Magical way of the Celts.”

Walking amidst legends towards San Andrés de Teixido.

Few paths carry as much magic and mysticism as the journey to San Andrés de Teixido. Its origins date back to Neolithic times, as evidenced by the multitude of legends surrounding it. It is said that to San Andrés de Teixido, ‘one goes dead if not gone alive’ (‘irás de muerto o que non vai de vivo’). Interestingly, this coincides with the legend of the Celtic Irish god Donn, who also prophesied upon his death: ‘To me, you will all come after your death.’

San Andrés de Teixido is a small village and sanctuary nestled by the sea, in the municipality of Cedeira, amidst the Sierra de A Capelada. This pilgrimage route, in addition to its religious tradition, is above all an enjoyment for the senses.

“The Sierra de A Capelada ends directly at the sea, forming the highest cliffs on the continental Europe. San Andrés de Teixido is also known by the names San Andrés de ‘Lonxe’ or San Andrés ‘Do cabo do mundo,’ as it is very close to the northernmost point of the peninsula.”

“The old path to San Andrés starts at the Monastery of San Martiño de Xuvia, in the municipality of Narón, near Ferrol, covering a total of 42 kilometers to reach the destination. As is often the case, the journey itself is as important, if not more so, than the destination.”

There are numerous rituals associated with the journey. It is said that those embarking on the path for the first time, in addition to doing so with joy, should pick up a stone and carry it throughout the journey in their pocket. Upon reaching San Andrés, they should throw the stone in the ‘milladoiro’ as a testament to completing their pilgrimage.

Similarly, there is a ritual for the return journey, which involves bringing a hazel stick (the protection or ‘Branch of San Andrés’) and small yew branches (in Galician, ‘teixo,’ from which the town gets its name) as symbols of health.

Although San Andrés is a very small village, it has many points of interest to visit that will make us fall in love with its nature and history.

The “A Capelada” Mountain Range

Located in the Sierra de Capelada, we find this village known at the European level for its high cliffs. These are the highest cliffs, with a height of 612 meters above sea level. Atalaia de Herbeira is the viewpoint from which you can appreciate the best views of the cliffs.

Along our way, we can observe birds of prey, wild horses, and even freely roaming cattle. Let’s not overlook the flora of this marvelous environment, where we can highlight the ‘herva namoreira’ or ‘herba de namorar’ (love herb). In addition to its tradition and customs, this village is famous for the legends that arise from it. One of them is related to this plant, claiming that putting a piece of it in the pocket of the person you love would inevitably bring you together by destiny.

The largest cliffs in Europe.

San Andrés de Teixido offers a landscape worthy of being contemplated and etched into our memory for the rest of our lives. Perhaps it is considered one of the most breathtaking in Spain. There are several viewpoints from which we can enjoy the natural surroundings of this small village.

The most impressive one is found from Vixía Herbeira, located at 612 meters above sea level, the highest point of the cliffs. It is an old stone construction that has been entirely abandoned. Another noteworthy viewpoint is the Mirador de San Andrés de Teixido, from where you can contemplate spectacular views of the sea and the cliffs, as well as the mythical Barca de San Andrés. Finally, we can highlight the Cruz de Nogueira viewpoint located at the entrance of the village. It may go unnoticed, but if you have the opportunity, do not miss the views it offers.

Wild nature

At a much lower elevation, we can find the ‘Fuente del Santo,’ with an abundant flow and the 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, one can walk on immense blocks of granulites and serpentinites that cover this entire sector.

If, on the contrary, we encounter rough seas, we will be impressed by the crashing waves, a true spectacle of nature. As we all know, green dominates the Galician landscape, and among the species that stand out in this area are the yews or ‘teixos,’ from which the name of this beautiful village originates.

Not only on land will we observe incredible natural phenomena, but if we look up while passing through the cliffs, we will discover the impressive birds soaring through the blue skies, such as the peregrine falcon, the carrion crow, the shag, or migratory birds of prey like the white-tailed eagle.

Santuary and village of San Andrés de Teixido

After the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, this sanctuary is the second most important in Galicia, considered the ‘Mecca of the Galicians.’ A temple that dates back to the 12th century, with records of a monastery in the area, although the church itself dates from the 16th and 17th centuries, featuring Gothic-Baroque style with maritime influences.

A place full of mysticism, where, like the pilgrimage to Santiago, people gather and embark on the journey from different points until reaching the Saint.

An empowered place, where legends attempt to explain the origin of this sanctuary. The most well-known and perhaps the most important is the saying ‘A san Andrés de Teixido, vais de morto o que non foi de vivo’ (To San Andrés de Teixido, you go dead if you didn’t go alive). According to belief, it originated from the jealousy of San Andrés regarding the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

“One day, he received a visit from God, who accompanied by San Pedro, listened to his complaints. The promise made to him to change his situation was that from that moment on, all mortals would come to his sanctuary, and if they didn’t do it in life, they would do it in spirit after death.”

Numerous are the legends attempting to explain its origin; perhaps the second most well-known is that of ‘A Barca de San Andrés.’ It tells the story of the apostle arriving at this place by boat and, upon arrival, colliding with the cliffs until capsizing. The boat supposedly turned to stone, and today we can observe from the viewpoint outside the sanctuary a rock shaped like a boat.

A sanctuary where the Christian worship of San Andrés blends with pagan rituals and pre-Christian traditions. One such belief is that the reptiles and insects encountered along the way are souls on pilgrimage, and they won’t find rest until they have visited the sanctuary.


We’ll take a pause to explain what the famous ‘sanandresiños’ are. An offering that we will see if we decide to visit the sanctuary. They are handcrafted by women from the village, and although they are offerings, they have also become souvenirs. The material, curiously, is bread dough, and they are painted in bright colors. There are several shapes, all related to the saint and his legends, such as:

The Hand: To ask for love, good company, and friendship.

The Fish: For work and sustenance.

The Boat: For journeys, home, and business.

The Saint: For physical and mental health, and good coexistence.

The Thought: For studies and against envy and curses.

The Cross of San Andrés

The Ladder: To reach paradise, etc.


Earlier, we talked about some of the most well-known stories and legends of San Andrés de Teixido, but countless others hide in every corner of this village. In fact, at the village’s store, you can find a book that compiles most, if not all, of these tales.

Beyond those we have discussed about the sanctuary, there is another legend that says each pilgrim must carry a stone that they should leave to continue forming the ‘milladoiros.’ If we continue to investigate, we find another, even more curious, legend related to the origin of the Sanctuary.

It is said…

Legend has it that when God finished creating the world, He rested, resting His right hand on the region of Galicia. His fingers sank into the still-soft clay ground, giving rise to the submerged valleys we know today as the Galician estuaries or ‘rías.’ Jesus, accompanied by his friend Peter, wanted to see the place where his father had rested His hand. This legend poetically explains the formation of the Galician estuaries and adds a mystical touch to the region’s geography.

They had to travel the entire Iberian Peninsula until they found the specific place where, dying of thirst, they decided to rest. However, the water was undrinkable, and they also found nothing to eat, so Jesus asked for help from his father. God sent him an apple, and inside it was sheltered San Andrés, so when Jesus had satisfied hunger and thirst, the saint was set free.” This legend tells of a mystical journey of Jesus and Peter across the Iberian Peninsula until they reach a specific place in Galicia, where, after overcoming difficulties, they find San Andrés inside an apple.

For this reason, Jesus entrusted the place to this saint forever. But San Andrés, desolate, asked Him not to abandon him in such a inhospitable place where there was neither food nor water. And Jesus promised him that, from that moment on, food would be abundant, water fresh, and that people from all corners of the world would visit, knowing and venerating his name. The saint accepted.

Finally, another legend and tradition of this magical place is to throw a breadcrumb into the Fountain of the Three Spouts. If it stays afloat, the saint will be benevolent, and if, on the contrary, it sinks in the water.

We can create a single article that tells all the legends and customs of this village. Therefore, we invite you to keep researching if you find it interesting, or better yet, to visit San Andrés de Teixido.

Gastronomy on San Andrés de Teixido

Fresh fish and seafood form the foundation of its culinary tradition. All kinds of seafood are common on the tables of the locality. Cockles and clams are famous, but undoubtedly, the true star of Cedeira’s cuisine is the barnacle. This is because it is located very close to the northernmost point, so one cannot leave without trying their flagship product.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *