About Fervenza do Toxa
The Fervenza do Toxa Waterfall was an impressive 60m waterfall situated in the lush Galicia Region of northwest Spain.
Yet, for such a big waterfall, we pretty much had the place to ourselves as we really enjoyed the peace and quiet from the relative lack of fanfare of this place.
The photo you see above definitely didn’t do this waterfall justice because it was HUGE.
Indeed, this waterfall gave us quite a different experience than all the other waterfalling experiences we’ve had throughout Spain.
After all, we were becoming conditioned to lower-than-average-flow on all the Spanish Waterfalls that we witnessed during our self-tour of the country in late May and early June 2015.
Yet the thing that really stood out to us about our Fervenza do Toxa experience was that the environment hinted to us that we were in a high rainfall area.
After all, we noticed ferns growing alongside the trail, and we felt the higher humidity as we sweated beads during our short hike.
In fact, I had read that this part of Spain was similar in climate to the Pacific Northwest in the USA.
So this place had more in common with the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state than it did the Mediterranean climate of Southern California.
As a result, perhaps the waterfall’s pretty high volume shouldn’t have come as a surprise given these observations.
Hiking to Fervenza do Toxa
We accessed the Fervenza do Toxa waterfall from a steep unpaved road (see directions below).
On this road, we didn’t feel confident enough to drive a low-clearance passenger vehicle past a few crater-like ruts in one particular switchback.
According to my GPS logs, that probably added another 300m or so of hiking in each direction to the nearly 400m trail (about 800m round trip) to the waterfall’s base.
This road was flanked by what appeared to be a ditch or water channel before we eventually got far enough down the road to reach the signage and vehicular barricade, which marked the official start to the trail for Fervenza do Toxa.
Then, we continued descending on a fern-fringed walkway with glimpses of some nearby towns in the distance beneath power lines.
The trail steepened a bit more towards the bottom where there were steps.
Given the humidity during our visit, we knew it would be a pretty sticky hike back up on this upside-down hike.
Nevertheless, at the bottom of the descent, there were stone picnic tables in view of the top part of the Fervenza do Toxa Waterfall.
Then, the footpath pretty much ended right at the plunge pool at the base of the falls.
Actually, it was hard to tell where the footpath ended and where the waterfall’s plunge pool began because parts of that footpath was inundated with water during our visit.
The refreshing spray from the waterfall was a welcome relief to the heat and humidity during our visit.
It also rejuvenated us for the sweaty hike back up to our car.
Overall, we had spent a little over an hour away from the car, but again, some of that time was spent walking a little farther than what the authorities probably wanted us to do.
Brief Observations About Gallego
Finally, one thing I noticed about the name Fervenza do Toxa was that it was not Spanish.
Actually, it’s Galician (or Gallego), which appeared to be a hybrid language between Portugese and Spanish.
In fact, many of the signs as well as restaurant menus in this part of Spain were in Gallego.
A few things that I picked up while touring this region was that the el and la in Spanish became o and a in Gallego.
I also noticed that the word saída was Gallego for the Spanish word salida or “exit”.
Finally, the word fervenza meant “waterfall” in Gallego, which was why there wasn’t a cascada in its local name though I have also seen it called Cascada de la Toja.
Fervenza do Toxa resides near the town of Silleda in the province of Pontevedra, Spain. It may be administered by the municipality of Silleda. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you may get leads from this website.
Since Santiago de Compostela was the nearest city of note to the Fervenza do Toxa, we’ll describe the driving directions from there (even though we actually came from Salamanca in a very long drive).
So from Santiago de Compostela, we’d take the AP-53 (a toll autovía) for about 25km south to exit 24 to Barrio a Brea.
The offramp and connecting road would eventually take us to the N-525 road (at about 1.6km), where we would then turn right onto the N-525 road.
We would continue on the N-525 road for another 2.8km into the town of Bandeira, where we would then turn left at the traffic light onto the PO-204 road.
Next, we followed the PO-204 road for another 3.2km until a sign directed us to turn right onto the narrow Estación Bandeira road, which seemed to flank a railroad (or one that was under construction).
After another 850m or so, the sign then directed us to turn left onto Barrio Ansemil.
After 500m, the signs then had us turn right to descend the unpaved switchback road that ultimately led us to the point where we couldn’t proceed any further.
Technically speaking, we should’ve kept powering through the deep-cratered ruts, which not only would’ve descended to the official trailhead, but we could’ve also followed the “saída” sign back up to the original turnoff on Barrio Ansemil thereby forming a loop.
This drive took us about 45 minutes, but a large chunk of that time was spent navigating the city streets of Santiago de Compostela to reach the autovías.
Finally, if you don’t want to pay the toll on the AP-53, it was possible to just drive directly on the N-525 road from Santiago de Compostela to Bandeira.
Moreover, if you’re headed north (like we were) on the AP-53, we had the choice of leaving the AP-53 at exit 33 towards Silleda or taking the exit 24 further north.
Exit 33 made us take the PO-205 road to the N-525 road through Silleda, then we took this road all the way to Bandeira.
Exit 24 would take us to the same directions as given above.
And for some context, Santiago de Compostela was 426km (over 4 hours drive) northwest of Salamanca, 607km (about 6 hours drive) northwest of Madrid, and 332km (3.5 hours drive) west of León.
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