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Ribeira Sacra

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  • Santa María Monastery, Montederramo © Turespaña

    Santa María Monastery, Montederramo © Turespaña

  • Maceda Castle ©Turespaña

    Maceda Castle ©Turespaña

  • Panoramic view of the San Esteban Monastery ©Turespaña

    Panoramic view of the San Esteban Monastery ©Turespaña

  

Nature and spirituality combined

Ribeira Sacra is in the heart of Galicia, at the confluence of the Miño and Sil rivers. It is a region of verdant woods, gorges and vineyards, best known for its many monasteries, the majority of which were founded beginning in the 12th century. This is where the region’s name comes from: Ribeira (meaning riverside, referring to the area’s major rivers), and Sacra (“sacred”), referring to the religious nature of its settlers.
 

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The city of Monforte de Lemos (Lugo province) is the gateway to the Ribeira Sacra area. Most important among the monuments in its old town are the group of buildings forming the Renaissance monastery of San Vicente do Pino, the remains of the Condes de Lemos Palace and its keep, and the Monforte Parador hotel. On your visit you should also take the chance to see the streets of the old Jewish Quarter, the 17th century Convent of the Franciscanas Descalzas, and the Herrerian-style Nuestra Señora de la Antigua College.


Next, you should head for the Belésar reservoir, where you will find two 12th century Romanesque churches that belonged to the old Benedictine monasteries of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Miño and San Paio de Diomondi. The spectacular landscape cannot fail to catch your attention. This is hardly surprising, since nature is a constant attraction along the whole of the route.


We continue our journey to find the Romanesque church of San Miguel de Eiré, an old Benedictine monastery. After this we reach the Cistercian convent of Las Madres Bernardas, in Ferreira de Pantón, the only one still occupied by nuns today in Galicia. Next, on the way to the village of Os Peares, it is worth stopping to see the Romanesque churches of San Fiz de Cangas, Santo Estevo de Atán and San Vicente de Pombeiro.


At Os Peares (Ourense province), we find ourselves in the Sil River Canyon. Do not be surprised to see vineyards on the slopes of the gorge, as we are now in the wine region with the Ribeira Sacra Designation of Origin. If you have time, do not miss a visit to one of the area’s wineries.


Following the course of the river, we will come across two old Benedictine monasteries: Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil, with its Romanesque church and Renaissance cloister, and Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil. The latter of these is the most important in the Ribeira Sacra: it is a splendid group of buildings, comprising a church, monastery and three cloisters, with Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque elements.


From here, the route heads towards the interior of Ourense province, to visit the cave church of San Pedro de Rocas. After this, the route continues on to the Cistercian monasteries of Santa María de Xunqueira de Espadanedo and Montederramo, both Romanesque in origin, but renovated greatly in the 16th-18th centuries.


The route ends in the town of Castro Caldelas, where you will see the medieval castle, quite well preserved; the Renaissance church of Santa Isabel and the 14th century Church/Shrine of Los Remedios. This leaves us very near (about 25 kilometres) to the route’s starting point of Monforte de Lemos. You will need three to four days to enjoy at an easy pace the culture and relaxation this route offers.

 

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What to see on the route See more

What to do

Cycle touring

Cycle touring
Equestrian routes

Equestrian routes
Routes by boat

Routes by boat
Hiking

Hiking

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