I visited Baiona as the second harbour after leaving Porto for the FREE WILLY homecoming: A Bavaria 37 Cruiser of my dear friend and skipper Wilfried with whom I had delivered a Dufour Grand Large 460 two years before to the Canary Islands. He had his boat on Lanzarote too but after five years on the islands of the never ending spring he desperately wanted to bring her back to the Baltic Sea: I volunteered keenly to be part of the crew who´s job would be the traversing of the Bay of Biscay and the English Channel.
As you may have read in the first article, we ended up spending one night in Baiona. And right so: We´ve discovered a very, very different Spain here and I want to put this first – I definitely plan to return to that amazing part of this wonderful Country. Baiona – with so many other hidden gems of the Galician coast. I had never heard of these so-called Rias Baixas before: Long Fjords going deep into the mainland, framed by steep, rocky cliffs and sprinkled with lovely small towns, villages and even bigger cities, like the one we are about to visit now: Baiona is the southernmost harbour of the Ria de Vigo.
How to sail to Baiona
Sailing to Baiona is a no-brainer: Just some 10 miles north of the Spanish-Portuguese border you may find the large estuary that is the entrance to the above mentioned Ria de Vigo. As we (sadly to say so in retrospective now) haven´t been here to explore the Galician coast and instead just wanted to refuel the boat and get some rest, I looked for the first marina to reach. And I found: Baiona. The small port is just around “the corner” and roughly eight miles before Vigo.
You will round the Cabo Silleiro in quite some safe distance to the large rocks and head straight for a hill with a fortress immediately visible: That´s the Fortaleza de Montereal, the Fort overlooking Baiona and quite possibly the strategic reason for all those Kings and Queens, rulers of Spain and Portugal, to build and maintain a fortress here: Controlling the entrance to the Ria and protecting the important harbour of Vigo. Approaching the marina is not a problem, the entrance between both breakwaters is wide, depth granted even for large deep-keeled yachts. You may choose to go starboard side to the Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona, the local sailing club, or to the municipal harbour to port side. We chose to go right.
Mooring in Baiona Monte Real Sailing Club
Upon arrival you should call the club by radio via VHF channel 71 and announce your coming. We had been greeted and told to look out for the marinero on the pontoon, who fast, friendly and efficiently helped us to land the boat stern first at mooring lines. The marina offers 220 berths with – at least when we were there – plenty of guest berths available for boats of sizes to up to 40 metres in length. The marina is not shallower than 6 metres, so even big yachts with deep draft will be safely mooring here.
The marina is in perfect shape and everything is well-organized and very professional: Fresh water and shore power can be drawn nearby with just short ways to go from every berth from newly installed plugs, the pontoons are in good manor. As the marina is home to a kind of higher-priced sailing club, entrance is guarded 24/7 by security personnel and CCTV as well. You will be feeling safe here at an instance. The pontoons lead to the Fortaleza which has been transformed into the club house with a nice bar and restaurant. Here is where you´ll find the bathrooms and facilities as well.
Demurrage in Baiona Marina
There is no information about prices whatsoever to be found on the website of the yachting club or the marina respectively. From what I have seen and judging by the comments on various rating websites, prices in Baiona are expected to be above average: I must admit that we did not pay the demurrage. Arriving at 6 p.m. we just refuelled, cooked a dinner and left for good just before midnight so that we haven´t been due to being charged, which was a very appreciated move by the staff.
Nevertheless, I shall say that the atmosphere, the surroundings, the quality of services and amenities justify a higher price for this marina. As time was sadly to short, I was only able to take a look onto the menu of the restaurant: Sitting here very exclusively high above the town, looking down on the small beach, the harbour and the far away hills of the opposite shore, dining out in style and enjoying a good wine must be priceless.
Bathroom facilities & Amenities
Only downside is the somewhat long walking distance to the facilities from the berth. You have to walk up to the Fort where in the basement bathrooms are situated. I did not take pictures – unfortunately forgot to take the cam with me – but I can assure that the bathrooms have not just been clean but design-wise clearly above expectation. I applauded to the WC-compartments which ensured maximum privacy – top notch!
The marina offers also showers (closed due to Corona virus when I was there) and washing machines. It´s just a short walk out of the Fort to the town which must offer a quite impressive old town with plenty of narrow alleys, restaurants and bars. As I said, I am very sad we did not stay longer to discover more of Baiona. And Vigo of course.
Dining out and resting one´s Oars
That is why I cannot tell anything fruitful about nearby and town-based culinary delights other than from what I´ve seen Baiona is definitely worth a two- or three-day stay for sure! All that I know for sure is that Baiona was the first continental town to receive the news of a newly discovered land: America! As Columbus´ fleet arrived back from their deciding journey in 1493 it was the PINTA who arrived in Baiona and spread the news.
That is why a replica of the famous brave little ship is the main attraction of Baiona harbour and center of an annual big party in honour of that venture. So, in essence, Baiona was just an hors d´oeuvre, a small appetizer, of what these Spanish Rias might offer: Lots of spectacular nature, sights and sounds, living history and beauty. As I said before, I will most definitely come back here to receive a full dose of Galicia.
My overall assessment of Baiona Royal Sailing Club is 9 out of 10 points
Link to Monte Real Sailing Club Baiona Website here
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