Half of the Miño river runs through little-known landscapes that nevertheless are of great scenic, natural and ethnographic interest. The rivers now descend tamed by several dams but the slopes of this great valley host large remote forests that live in harmony with the major protagonists -the vineyards- and small villages.

Birds, wine, chestnuts and strawberry trees

Years ago the Miño descended in rapids through a large and tight valley with a gentle climate. On its slopes farming developed that was dedicated to the cultivation of wine - a place certainly attractive for the settlement of monasteries and villages that today represent a great historical, artistic and cultural heritage.

Currently the river descends calmly tamed by several reservoirs, but both slopes conserve vast forests of chestnut and oak, in which the strawberry tree is also an important species, which gives an idea of the area's fine climate. Depending on the position and altitude, there is a mosaic of forests and vineyards where picturesque villages and numerous crags help diversify the landscape.

The routes
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Route by foot or by bicycle: from Portomarín to Xián

BEST TIME

From April to July

DISTANCE

18 Km

DURATION

2 hours by car, 3 hours by bicycle

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Portomarín, Taboada

PATH

Portomarín - Xián

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Key points on the route:

  1. From Portomarín (1), head parallel to the Miño river on its right bank, paying attention to the black kites, booted eagles, great cormorants and great crested grebes on the river.
  2. A stop in the village of Sabadelle (2) is recommended to see raptors again.
  3. Up to the village of Xián (3) the route passes through areas of countryside where montagu's harrier, short-toed snake eagle and red-backed shrike can be seen, as well as woodlark in the areas of high scrub.
  4. Once in Xián, you can stop and walk back closer to the river where black kites can be easily seen.

Route on foot or by bicycle: Chantada - A Voutureira

BEST TIME

From April to July

DISTANCE

33 Km

DURATION

2 hours by car, 4 hours by bicycle (one way)

DIFFICULTY

None

COUNCILS

Carballedo, Chantada, O Saviñao

PATH

Chantada - Belesar - A Voutureira

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Key points on the route:

  1. The route starts at the outskirts of Chantada (1) and, before crossing the river, stop to make the first observations of eurasian crag martin, peregrine falcon and common whitethroat, among other species.
  2. In the vicinity of Diomondi (3) a stop can be made in the surrounding woods to discover eurasian nuthatches, great spotted woodpeckers and jays.
  3. In the vicinity of Belesar (4), before crossing the bridge stop to see up to four species of swallows: the barn swallow, red-rumped swallow, common house martin and eurasian crag martin, together with common swift.
  4. Continue towards A Eirexe (5), where a stop can be made at the vineyard areas close to the woods. They are good places for common whitethroat, garden warbler and eurasian blackcap. It is also easy to see black kittes and booted eagles.
  5. Before reaching the end of the route the road runs along towering rocky cliffs, where cliff birds (6) such as the eurasian crag martin may be seen.

Route on foot: Portomarín - O Barco

BEST TIME

From April to July

DISTANCE

4 Km

DURATION

1.5 hours

DIFFICULTY

Low

COUNCILS

Portomarín

PATH

Portomarín - Santa Mariña - O Barco

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Key points on the route:

  1. The route starts at the village of Portomarín 81) towards Santa Mariña. In the village surroundings look out for rock sparrows.
  2. While following the route down the Miño river (2), black kite, grey heron, great cormorant and great crested grebe can be seen.
  3. Next, walk along the reservoir banks, watching the forest and adjacent scrub, where red-backed shrike and, with luck, woodchat shrike can be seen.
  4. To end, the route ascends through the surroundings of the village of O Barco (3) and returns to Portomarín, where attention should be paid to the common whitethroats and dartford warblers. Once in Portomarín, a pair of white storks say their goodbyes.
The birds

The inaccessible forests on the slopes of the large valley are ideal nesting places for birds of prey such as the booted eagle, short-toed snake eagle and goshawk, although the black kite is most abundant in spring. The crags provide a home for sizeable populations of cliff birds such as the peregrine falcon and eurasian crag martin. The area's warm climate lends itself to the presence of species such as the common nightingale and red-rumped swallow. The reservoirs welcome certain water birds such as the grey heron, great cormorant and great crested grebe.

Tips and resources
  • The routes run through agricultural areas - be cautious and do not ever roam off clearly marked trails or roads.

  • In summer it can get very hot: water and sunscreen are good companions. 

Arriba