Cathedral Beach is probably the most beautiful beach in Galicia. If you clicked on this article, it’s probably because you are planning to enjoy some time here, and you are wondering if it is open all day long. Indeed, you may have heard some information about the tides, and about the access. This article will clear everything and give you all the pieces of information you need in order to plan your day at Cathedral Beach without any trouble. So, is Cathedral Beach open?
Cathedral Beach is officially opened all year long. However, the tides do not allow access to the beach all day long. This is why you must plan your trip to walk on this particular beach. Indeed, when the tides are low, you can access Cathedral Beach and walk under the arches and in the caves. But, when the tides are high, you cannot access Cathedral Beach. Be careful not to get trapped by the tides. This is a real issue and you do not want to be in that situation. Let’s now dive deeper into other pieces of information you definitely do not want to miss before visiting Cathedral Beach.
When is Cathedral Beach open?
An example with you: checking the tides
I am writing this article on August 1st, 2020. It is summertime and a lot of people want to visit Cathedral Beach. I will show you exactly what you need to do if you want to know the hours when the beach is physically accessible (when the tides are low). I will do an example with you. Keep in mind that this is an example and that the tides change every day! Even if you are reading this on August 1st, 2025, please do not use the data I found during my research. Now that I warned about that point, we can start the example.
The first thing you should do to know if Cathedral Beach is open is checking the tides hours. I simply googled “Tides hours Cathedral Beach” and found a very helpful website giving the tide hours in Ribadeo (the closest city to Cathedral Beach). Here, it is written that the high tide is at around 4 pm and 4 am. Those are hours to avoid. 4 am is easy to avoid since I will probably sleep, but 4 pm is definitely a time where I could head to the beach.
The tide is low at 10 am and 10 pm. 10 pm is a bit late for me, so I will plan my day with the 10 am hour in mind. I will wake up early and drive to Ribadeo to be as early as possible at the beach. Indeed, since on this day, there is only one logical low-tide time to visit the beach, there will be a lot of tourists who will have the same idea as I just had.
An example with you: booking a ticket
Now that I know at what time I will visit Cathedral Beach, I need to get a ticket. Indeed, since the beach is dangerous because of the tides, the authorities limited the number of tourists who can access the beach for each low tide. This was made to avoid having too many people staying until the last moment on the beach and then having traffic jams in the stairs to evacuate the beach. This rule was introduced in 2015. Thankfully, the ticket to accessing the beach is totally free, but you need to book it in advance! Just go to the official website and book it. I did it for you. Here are some screenshots.
As you can see on the screenshot, the dates are in green, and when we look at what it means on the right, we can read that it is the dates when it is necessary to book a ticket. If I did that example in the middle of winter, the dates would be in blue. Also, we can see that we directly have the tides hours on that website. It does correspond to the hours I found on the other website, which is great news! Finally, we can see that there are lots of tickets remaining (1894 at that moment), but this is mainly because of the COVID-19 strike that we are currently living at the time I am writing this article.
After that, you will need to fill in a form with all your personal information, and you will be ready to go. It is very simple and quick to do, and you need to do it. Otherwise, you will be refused access to the beach.
How to get to Cathedral Beach?
As mentioned earlier when I was talking about the tides hours, Cathedral Beach is next to Ribadeo, a city on the Galician Coast. Your main goal to get to Cathedral Beach is to get to Ribadeo and then follow the signs. To have a better view of where Ribadeo is, here is a Google Maps screenshot.
It takes 2 hours and a half to get from Santiago de Compostella to Ribadeo, and around 4 hours to get from Bilbao to Ribadeo. Spending the whole day in the area is a great idea. Indeed, you cannot stay all day long on the beach because of the tides, but you can still enjoy the view from the cliffs over the beach.
Once you arrived in Ribadeo, you still need to drive a little bit (around 15 minutes) and park your car in one of the numerous car parks (some of them are 10 minutes away from the beach). Here is exactly how to drive from Ribadeo to Cathedral Beach.
What is the best season to visit Cathedral Beach?
Summer is definitely the best season to visit Cathedral Beach. However, it is also the season with the most tourists. If you want to visit Cathedral Beach during summer to enjoy the sun and the beach at the same time, you should make sure that you book a ticket well in advance (a few days will do).
Then, it is also interesting to visit Cathedral Beach during the other seasons. Indeed, when you are out of the peak season, no ticket is needed. You are free to visit Cathedral Beach when you want (if it is accessible of course). If you want to read more about Cathedral Beach and see what it looks like, I recommend that you read the travel guide I wrote about Cathedral Beach. By following this link, you will land on another page of my website. You will find some pieces of information that I already talked about here, but you will also learn about my experience there a few years ago.
What weather can I expect when I visit Cathedral Beach?
It is not because Cathedral Beach is opened that you should directly book the ticket, take the car and drive as fast as possible to Cathedral Beach. Indeed, the weather in Galicia can be a bit capricious, and it could spoil your day at Cathedral Beach. Hence, you should also check the weather before visiting this beach. For me, if we finish the example we began earlier, the weather today is not particularly great. It is cloudy.
If I see this kind of weather, I would probably change my plans. Indeed, I see that the weather is better on Wednesday, so I would instead cancel my booking, ask myself “At what time is Cathedral Beach open on Wednesday?”, check the tides for Wednesday, and book another ticket.
I hope that this article was helpful and that you are now ready to visit Cathedral Beach. It is an incredible place and you do not want to miss it. So plan your day closely, make sure that you know the tides, and enjoy!