This area is one of our personal favourites at Rustical Travel. It's leafy and green yet warmer and sunnier than elsewhere in Northern Spain – or elsewhere in Galicia for that matter.
It’s also genuine and unspoilt, despite having so much going for it, and the people have that gentle friendliness one associates with the region.
Exploring the area, where the River Miño traces the Portuguese border, will keep you contented for weeks (we'll send you our detailed guide with plenty of holiday ideas before you travel).
The villa’s a beauty, rustic in flavour with modern facilities, including WiFi Internet. It’s arranged in an L-shape and includes a self-contained annexe in case two or more of you would appreciate some independence and privacy.
There’s lots of enclosed garden and the lawn’s flat, so wonderful for kids. The pool is gated, set between the lawn and a small vineyard.
The main part of the property has dining facilities and kitchen on the ground floor: good size rooms and well kept, as is the entire accommodation. The kitchen is modern in character and fully equipped; the dining room (which seats nine at one table and five at another), previously a wine-making cellar, is all original stonework and wood beams. At the far end is the trough that once collected the grape juice prior to fermentation.
There's a WC here and the dining room opens to a covered porch by the garden where you can also sit out.
The living room and bedrooms are upstairs.
There are two staircases, internal from the kitchen and external from the garden. They both lead up to the living room. There's a table with four chairs and a sofa seating area, but we thought the sitting arrangements could be improved and the living room has now a third sofa to complete the picture.
One bedroom is accessed from the living room. In typical Galician style, two more bedrooms are accessed from the terrace gallery, which has plants and a couple of wicker chairs to sit and enjoy the view.
Bedrooms have cleaned stone and plastered walls, high wooden ceilings and each has its own bathroom.
There are three bedrooms in the main house and two in the annexe. It is important to note that one of the bedrooms in the annexe is accesed directly from the landing and has no door (loft bedroom). Bear in mind that the wooden stairs up to it are steepish and would be difficult for young children. It also has a smallish (although double-height) sitting/dining room/kitchen with a TV and HDMI port if you bring movies on an external drive (remember to bring the cable). There’s just one two-seater sofa.
Outside, the large expanse of lawn gives children plenty of room to run and play. You have a good, brick-built barbecue to enjoy here and trees to provide shade.
There is a neighbouring house (you can see it in one of the photos), so we wouldn’t call the garden completely private in the sense of not being overlooked. We sought out and met the neighbours, by the way, and they were very correct, respectable folk.
The garden, which also hosts a traditional Galician pillared grain store, ends at the swimming pool.
The swimming pool is salt-filtered (in preference to chlorine), fenced and gated, and is 8 metres x 4 metres. It’s paved round for relaxing on sunloungers and has views of the hills in neighbouring Portugal.
Which brings us to the location, beginning with the green countryside setting, just 10 minutes walk from a typical country restaurant where our experience was of good value and even better food. It’s the type of place where they’ll invite you to see what’s cooking if you can’t decipher the menu.
Also walking distance is the Miño. The broad, healthy river is slow-moving and if you fancy a natural experience, river swims are possible. In summer months, there’s an excellent riverside restaurant and bar just the other side of Caldelas.
A short drive takes you to shops, a bakery and pubs in little Caldelas, which is best known for its naturally warm spa baths.
There's a local train, which passes nearby the house, that can take you to Galicia destinations, but the service is limited and rather slow: it's always quicker to take the car.
Tui, the delightfully small, historic cathedral town just ten minutes or so away, is a lovely place to walk around and explore. From here you can continue over the old iron bridge built by Gustav Eiffel into Valença in Portugal and drive to beaches.
If you feel like a longish (two-hour) walk, there’s a lovely path back from Tui to the villa.
This is the geographical region of green and Celtic Galicia where you are most likely to experience good weather, so let’s keep exploring…
Wine lovers will be excited by the albariño vineyards you find all around. These refreshing dry, white wines complement perfectly the excellent local seafood for which Galicia is rightly acclaimed.
Some 35 minutes away is La Guardia, one of the ports that make Galicia such a tremendous fish and seafood supplier for Spain. If you are there for 4 o’clock in the afternoon, you can witness the fish auction. It's a pretty seaside town and both beaches and restaurants are recommended.
Signposted on the way to La Guardia, there is circular route called Muiños do Folón, where you can see mills (the oldest of the nineteen date back to the 12th century) built in a cascade down the hillside to follow the heavy stream water.
Portugal's beaches are just as close: try the white sand of Moledo de Miño's romantic beach… You can go on boat trips or go fishing.
Galicia is very keen on its fairs, whether for flowers, witchery (!) or food –but especially food. It’s a very natural and social way to enjoy barbecued sardines, Spanish omelette, tender octopus, with a glass of that chilled white wine.