The archipelago formed by San Simón and San Antón Islands, located at the end of the Vigo estuary, forms a unique place in the Rias Baixas geography that stands out both for its spatial and landscape specificity and for the layers of history overlapped in it.
The oldest documents speak of a monastic center mentioned by the troubadour Meendinho in the Middle Ages. In the sixteenth century the island was looted by the pirate Francis Drake and in 1702, as a result of the Battle of Vigo Bay, San Pedro’s church, one of its most emblematic buildings, was almost completely demolished. Later, it also suffered the invasion of French troops and periods of occupation by various monastic orders. In mid-seventeenth century the island was abandoned until June 6, 1838, when it became a leprosarium.
From 1936, at the start of the Civil War, the island changed its name to the official prison colony name, being, actually, a concentration camp where Republicans of all ideologies from Galicia and Iberian Peninsula were detained.
Its declaration as heritage of cultural interest in 1999 served to start the rehabilitation and remodeling by the architect César Portela to become the space we know today.
The Rías Baixas
The Rías Baixas are a first order scenery and culinary treasure, with some of the best beaches in Europe. They are the first tourist destination in Galicia, ranging from Louro’s Hill in Muros (A Coruña) to the River Miño Estuary.
Wonderful beaches, Atlantic islands, historical landscapes, cities where you can enjoy cultural activities just as nightlife, fishing villages and unique cuisine washed down with typical wine from this area.
If you come to Sinsal Son Estrella Galicia Festival in San Simón Island (Redondela), you have a unique chance to explore the Rías Baixas. We recommend you checking out the Turismo Rías Baixas website, where different experiences and routes are offered, as well as useful information about transport, accomodation and promotions.