Fanny Pena, the young woman taking social media by storm by showcasing the best of Galicia: "even organised a honeymoon on Instagram"
She has spent years chronicling all the places she has visited within the region and then sharing them on her profile: @engaliciamorate. A connoisseur of the best spots to be found in Galicia, she tells us everything from her favourite place to visit to where to find the best croissant31 oct 2023 . Actualizado a las 17:42 h.
Fanny Pena (Friol, 1996) is quite possibly the most enthusiastic person out there when it comes to talking about beaches, viewpoints, restaurants and pretty much any other spot in Galicia worth visiting.
Her profile (@engaliciamorate) already has more than 35,000 followers and you should certainly join her if you’re looking to come to Galicia. And once you’ve seen what Galicia has to offer, it’s almost impossible to stay away.
—How did Engaliciamorate come about?
—Well, my first post was on 24 July 2019. I’ve always loved to travel and get around and, at the time, my partner and I wanted to somehow share our experiences while travelling and, in general, showcase the places we have visited. Let’s just say that we were already working as influencers of sorts among the people close to us, who were always asking us for recommendations on what to see and do in Galicia.
—Was starting out on 24 July purely a coincidence?
—We decided to create it just before Galicia Day as a kind of tribute. We wanted the launch to coincide with a special date and our first post was about Santiago de Compostela. At the outset, it was nothing more than a corner where we shared the places we visited, sort of like a hobby. But I happened to study advertising, and I also work in communication, so I also use social media for my work. Then it began to take off and I started to treat it as a job, because I really don’t know how else to do things.
—Are you running the profile on your own right now?
—As it currently stands, I’m the only one running it.
—And is it the only thing you’re doing now?
—No. I work full time at a marketing agency in Vigo and I combine it with my work as a freelancer, creating content and handling the communications side for Landra Shop, a family-owned fashion store.
—On your website, there is a map showing all the places in Galicia that you have visited and that you recommend. When did you start creating the map and how do you update it?
—We started making the map right from the outset and I actually think it’s the most useful thing about Engaliciamorate. I get a lot of mails from people asking me for places to visit in different parts of the region and what I often do is refer them to the map, which shows all my recommendations and all the places I think they should visit. It’s a map I’d like to update more, but I have three jobs and I can’t keep up with everything. To be fair, I still think it’s pretty comprehensive.
—On the subject of what people write to you about, what is the question you hear the most on social media?
—The most common question is “What would you recommend me to see if I go to Galicia for X number of days”, both from followers and from users who don’t follow me. I get a lot of mails from people interested in coming to Galicia and they tend to be after the basic stuff.
—And do you usually answer them?
—Yes, and I think that’s why replying to Instagram messages from Engaliciamorate takes up most of my time. Most of them are from people looking for very specific content and, while they can often find the information they are after on my site if they look a bit more closely, I always get around to replying to all my messages. Without a doubt, planning a trip with the person I’m talking to is the most time-consuming task for me. I even once helped a girl who was on her honeymoon and we planned her trip together. It was an amazing experience and made me really happy, because she was so grateful and said that thanks to me they had enjoyed a wonderful honeymoon. These little things in life are so rewarding.
—The million-dollar question: What is your favourite place in Galicia?
—I’d have to choose my home town. I honestly think Friol is one of the most beautiful places in the world. It is my place on the map and naturally I have a special fondness for it. Beyond Friol, my heart is divided between the Rías Baixas and the Rías Altas. In my view, the Rías Altas in northern Galicia are more off the beaten track when it comes to tourists but are absolutely fantastic, with many places to see and things to do: clifftops, beaches, viewpoints, sunsets...
—The most beautiful sunset?
—For me, the most impressive one can be seen on the Praia de Patos beach, in Nigrán. Where in the world can you watch the sun set over a collection of islands on the horizon?
—You also share a lot of content on good hiking routes. Which one would you recommend the most for beginners?
—I highly recommend the O Fuciño do Porco or any of the Cíes Islands routes. Though perhaps, for someone starting out, rather than an actual hiking route, I would recommend the Pedras Negras coastal pathway in San Vicente do Mar. It’s beautiful, short, simple and I think it can even be done with children.
—Any advice for someone looking to visit Galicia that you haven’t shared yet?
—I have a post about this on Instagram and there will be more to come. I will certainly be stressing the importance of bringing an umbrella and dressing in layers. People who come to Galicia should know that in one day we go through all the seasons of the year. Another piece of advice is that this is not really a trip in which everything can, or indeed should, be perfectly planned out. The important thing is to relax and have fun, enjoy the places you are visiting, live the moment and spend as much time as you like in each place. It’s just not possible to plan your journey right down to the hour.
—Let’s talk about gastronomy. What is your favourite Galician food?
—Scallops or mussels. It’s a tough choice!
—The three best places to eat?
—Lugo comes first, for both quality and quantity; in second place, I would choose the Rías Baixas, because the seafood there is incredible; and third, I would say the Costa da Morte, because there are many very good but relatively unknown restaurants.
—Any restaurant that you think is genuinely amazing in Galicia?
—It’s not a restaurant as such, but there is a place in Lugo that I highly recommend on my site because I do think it’s amazing: La Postrería de Noe. They make and sell incredibly inventive home-made cakes and pastries. For me it’s the real deal and a genuine treat.
—On Instagram you have a featured story called Croissants. What’s the best croissant you’ve ever eaten?
—The ones you can find at Confitería San Luis, in Carballo.
—What would you say is the best thing and worst thing about social media?
—The best thing is that you get to meet amazing people with the same tastes as you and you learn a lot from them. The worst thing is that you need to be constantly posting, otherwise the algorithm will penalise you.
—Have you ever done the Camino de Santiago?
—It’s still on my bucket list! I’ve done the odd stage or two, but never completed the whole pilgrimage. I would like to do the English or Portuguese route.
—Any other places you have yet to visit?
—The Ons Islands and the Carnival of Laza.