Interview with Xosé Regueira, Councilor for Economic Promotion and Tourism of Carballo
We continue with the interviews to the town councils with the Town Council of Carballo. Carballo, capital of Bergantiños, is located in the north of Costa da Morte. Economic and commercial epicentre of the region, crossroads between Santiago, A Coruña and Fisterra, the town is nowadays a dynamic and lively nucleus, with a great capacity of attraction.
Sixty percent of the inhabitants of Carballenses live in an urban nucleus, which has an important young population, full of energy and projects. Between the sea and the land, between the impulse of a commercial and service town, and a rural area that has always stood out for the fertility of the lands of Bergantiños, Carballo energetically understands its roots facing the future.
Today we show you the town council from the point of view of Xosé Requeira, Councillor for Economic Promotion and Tourism and Vice-President and Deputy for Tourism of the A Coruña Provincial Council. Here are the best answers:
What feelings does Costa da Morte awaken in you? What does it mean to you?
Costa da Morte is my living space, where I was born and where I live, for me it means belonging, identity, commitment... life.
Three reasons to discover it
Landscape, authenticity and culture, these are the three reasons that always come out of my mouth or my keyboard when I am asked why I should visit Costa da Morte, although there are many more. Landscape, and not only seafaring and coastline, because the interior of the Costa da Morte hides places of extraordinary uniqueness and beauty; authenticity because it still preserves the character of its people, their ancestral ways of understanding the territory and, although many of the traditional trades no longer exist, the sea and the land are still fundamental in the economy of the territory and their exploitation still shapes the reality of the people who live here; and culture, with a broad vision, from traditions, intangible culture and artistic and cultural heritage, to contemporary art, and from traditional music to electronic and avant-garde music.
What time of the year do you like Costa da Morte the most and why?
I will not deny that summer is an extraordinary month to visit Costa da Morte because it is a reality. Mild climate, extraordinary landscape, opportunity to practice many sports and long days. But I think that whoever dares to discover Costa da Morte in winter or autumn will have the opportunity to witness the true soul of the territory, especially on the coast. It is also an extraordinary time to practice sports such as surfing, mountain biking or hiking.
For tourists who come to visit you outside the summer season, what experiences are not to be missed?
Autumn and winter are extraordinary gastronomic moments to "taste" Costa da Morte, both in terms of garden and sea products. That would be reason enough to come in these two seasons. But also the landscape, the water gains relevance both on the coast and inland, and the marine and fluvial landscapes have an extraordinary power in these seasons. Sports such as surfing also enjoy very good conditions for their practice at this time, but others such as hiking or mountain biking can also be practised as the climate is mild in relation to other points.
Apart from Razo beach, what other places or experiences are not to be missed?
The Razo-Baldaio natural area is a spectacle both for its landscape and its natural wealth and biodiversity. Moreover, Carballo today has a highly demanded resource which is its open-air contemporary art museum, with more than 100 large-format works of art distributed throughout the streets of the town and today attracts thousands of people to stroll and photograph urban art. The Carballo Town Council is above all culture and sport, and throughout the year, the hospitality offer is covered thanks to the programming of international festivals such as the Carballo Interplay, Regenera Fest or Fiot, and major sports events of regional, national or even international character that are held in the town thanks to the local sports muscle that has teams in regional and national competitions in disciplines such as football, handball, basketball, cycling, athletics, hockey, swimming, rescue, motor, paddle, chess. ... and I'm sure there are many more. Sports tourism is very important for the council.
Undoubtedly, we cannot forget a fundamental and highly recommended place, the Carballo Spa, the only medicinal spa on the Costa da Morte, which attracts thousands of people every year to be treated for different ailments in its waters and to discover Carballo and the Costa da Morte during their stay.
Galicia in general, and the Costa da Morte in particular, are synonymous with good food. Any recommendations for typical dishes to discover Carballo through the palate?
Carballo is bread, with a registered trademark and with an ancestral tradition of bakers and bakers, we also have a hiking route called "Route of the bread mills"; however, bread, pies and egg bread are a real delicacy. But we cannot forget the beans, with which we supply a large part of the Asturian demand, a product that even has specific fairs; or the most prestigious potato in Galicia, the "Fina de Carballo", which is difficult to taste outside our town council. And if we add to all this a top quality meat, and in the case of Carballo the beef steak or beef summum of Galicia have already settled in the gastronomic offer of the town with fame in very lodged points of our municipality, and a market of supplies that brings the best of the fish markets of the Costa da Morte, the gastronomy has the force to be a fundamental reason to approach to our premises of hotel and catering business with guaranteed success in the experience.
In addition, the coast of Carballès, with a very mild climate, produces garden produce of extraordinary quality. The mycological season also has a very good offer in the restaurant trade.
And I cannot forget the unique products of the highest quality that we have in the town, such as Marino chocolate or Calvo tuna.
But Carballo, which has a municipal cookery school, has a rich and varied gastronomic offer, beyond the product, with excellent restaurants that transform what comes from our vegetable garden, our livestock and our sea into extraordinary dishes.
What do the people who visit you tell you? What do they love most about their stay in Carballo and the Costa da Morte?
Undoubtedly, Carballo is a welcoming town council, with a wide cultural, sporting, gastronomic and scenic offer and many services to offer to the people who visit us. Carballo has just that, its urban and coastal offer. In the urban area Carballo has already become a small town and with it has grown a renewed and innovative commerce, a quality hotel and catering business and a reformulation of the space that is more designed for people and that has urban art as a factor of attraction, and the cultural and sports programme as a factor of dynamism and cohesion, giving value to everything. And the coastline is a reference point for a tourism profile whose main motivations for visiting us are surfing and nature watching. Carballo's coastline is a reference point for surfing, bird watching, sport fishing and also for family leisure, walking and relaxation.
But Carballo has very interesting and attractive inland tourist experiences such as the Ruta de las Férvedas, the Ruta de los Molinos del pan, the urban routes of the streetart, the Ruta de los Pendientes del Mar, or many other cycling routes that cover the whole of the municipality.
All this means that the tourist profile is becoming very clearly defined as a xove profile or even a very xove profile, in many cases a family profile, looking for sport, urban culture but not overcrowded, comfort, services and a good gastronomic offer, and of course fun and shows. Carballo also always had, and still has, the vocation to go beyond the municipal area and sell Costa da Morte. For Carballo, Fisterra is Carballo, Seiruga is Carballo, Dombate is Carballo, and that strengthens and complements our offer and makes us more competitive as well as improving the experience of the people who choose Carballo for their holidays.
The feedback is that they come back, and that's important. And people who pass through Carballo the following year see another Costa da Morte town council and come to Carballo to tell us about it, the same as people who were in another Costa da Morte town council and now choose Carballo because they came to visit us the previous year during their stay.
The Spa is also fundamental in the consolidation of the product, thousands of people discover the Costa da Morte through their stay in this establishment, and one day justice will be done to the dynamising power of this establishment.
In short, we are told that we live in an incredibly beautiful land, where you can eat very well and where the people are wonderful, what more could you ask for?
Your three favourite beaches in Costa da Morte, why those, and for surfing and other nautical-sport activities?
My three favourite beaches in Costa da Morte are Arnela and Esplanada in Razo and Piedra de la Sal. I am shooting for home, but I think they are three fantastic beaches, with all the necessary services and where surfing has excellent professionals both for beginners and for those who want to improve in this sport, or even for those who just want to surf. Quality sand, excellent water quality, lifeguard service, totally natural space... a paradise.
Other beaches of the Costa da Morte located in the estuaries, some of them very beautiful, are suitable for other types of nautical sports, but they also have good ambassadors to talk about them.
For those who love hiking... Which one do you recommend in your municipality and which is your favourite in Costa da Morte?
In my council I recommend the Ruta de las Férvedas, the Ruta de los Muíños del Pan and the Ruta de los Pendientes del Mar. On the Costa da Morte, without a doubt, the Camiño dos Faros.
Which place do you think is the great unknown in Costa da Morte but has a great interest or potential?
In the Costa da Morte there are already few unknown places, but in many there is still potential to be explored. I think that the territory still has carrying capacity and business opportunities from a conscious point of view and with a clearly sustainable model. There are still services to offer and there is still a need for more professionalism and planning in the tourist experience of the people who visit us.
I think that the challenge lies in the management model of the territory, which has to seek the creation of opportunities and the generation of quality employment from a management and business model that is responsible with the natural environment and clearly sustainable. We have a threat to the landscape in the form of wind farms, which must be urgently debated. Wind energy is fundamental, but it must be well ordered and obey social criteria, otherwise it will end up weakening areas with great potential for the benefit of large energy multinationals.
Where do you find the best sunset?
The best sunset can be seen from the viewpoint of Castro de Santa Irene on the coast of Carballés, a fantastic place. Keep it a secret.