For a whole week we will enjoy a fascinating landscape that is decorated with medieval bridges, churches, monasteries, fortresses and pazos (stone manor houses). We will cross wine-growing lands, we will visit the region’s wineries and taste wines and we will relax at one of its spas.

Stone manor houses, towers and fortresses, monasteries and churches are there to greet us, together with wine cellars with up to three of the five wine denominations of origin that exist in Galicia. We will discover and enjoy the excellent local wines that they produce.

This specific pilgrimage combines the captivating Galician landscapes of the Vía da Prata with the wealth of the wine lands it crosses.

More information...
- Parador de Verín. Teléfono: 988 410 075
- Balneario de Laias (Cenlle). Teléfono: 988 280 409
- Monasterio de Oseira (San Cristovo de Cea). www.mosteirodeoseira.org
- Pan de Cea. www.pandecea.org
- Colegiata de Sar (Santiago). www.colegiatadesar.com

Day 1

The Way starts in Verín, a town reigned by the castle of Monterrei
  

 We recommend arriving in Verín in the afternoon. This is a villa of legendary entroidos (carnivals) in the valley of the River Támega and in the district’s capital. It is one of the main towns in the province of Ourense, close to Portugal, located on one of the turnoffs along the Southeast Way-Vía da Prata. The villa offers a wide range of accommodation, boasting the Parador, at the foot of the medieval fortress of Monterrei, Both are signposted on the N-525, the road that brings us to the town and that can also be accessed from the A-52.

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After settling in at our chosen accommodation we can visit this acropolis, Galicia’s largest according to many authors and that for 800 years has watched over the frontier with neighbouring Portugal and dominates the valley. From the Parador we can go uphill by foot, which is the best way of observing the triple wall and all the buildings of the imposing fortress, built between the 12th and 17th centuries.

In the parade ground we find the so-called “green well”, surrounded by legends of infidelities and suicides, such as that of the wife of Peter the Cruel. Do not miss the opportunity to climb up the Homage Tower, an impressive 22-metre high stone structure, offering a view of several kilometres of landscape dotted with vineyards, orchards, small villages and Verín at its feet.

For dinner, octopus á feira style, cod or androlla (sausage)

At the end of the itinerary, we come down from the villa. If you love heraldry you will be impressed by the coat of arms that decorates the facade of the house Casa do Asistente, next to the bridge that crosses the river Támega. At dinner time we recommend its famous octopus á feira style, the cod or the delicacies resulting from the slaughter of the pig, such as the androlla − a sausage typical from the area. We can accompany the meal with wine from the Denomination of Origin Monterrei.

Day 2

From Verín to Xinzo de Limia

After breakfast we continue towards the village of Trasmiras,set in the region of A Limia, and from there we begin thewalk along the stage of the Vía da Prata that leads to Xinzo de Limia. We pass the village of Zos, where we find thelovely doorway with three archivolts of the church of Santa María, that still preserves its entire Romanesque structureand the south gate’s original tympanum.

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Next comes Boado. As we walk we discover a landscape with great ecological value and that serves as shelter to manybirds, whereby it is not uncommon to find stork nests orother bird nests. We arrive in Xinzo de Limia at lunchtime.In this town we can taste our way through delicacies such asthe excellent lacón con grelos (pork shoulder with greens)or beef, lamb or kid, as always nicely accompanied by thefamous potatoes with Denomination of Origin that areproduced in the region.

We visit several wince cellars with Denomination of Origin Monterrei

After a rest we return to the area surrounding Verín to discover some of the wineries with Denomination of Origin Monterrei,their vineyards and their wine production process. In the villageof Vilaza we can stroll through the vineyards of treixaduragrapes and will learn to distinguish the godello grape variety,touching the vines, the leaves and the grapes. Then we tastetheir wines. And in the village of Pazos we visit another ofthe wineries representing the denomination and its vineyards,which spread out over the valley with a mountain backdropand watched over by the fortress of Monterrei. At the end ofthe tour you can have dinner at one of the town’s inns wherethe specialty is the barbecued meat.

 

Day 3

From Xinzo de Limia to Ourense
 

After breakfast we walk a new stage of the Vía da Prata,beginning at Xinzo de Limia. From here we will walk the stretch that crosses the town and the villages of Vilariño das Poldras, Couso de Limia and Sandiás,where we can climb up to the nearby tower that stands over an ancient settlement (castro) that was located at the foot of Lagoa de Antela, a lagoon that is now dry.

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A wide panoramic view dominates the plains that are covered by potato plantations and small rural nuclei in the area that was formerly part of the lagoon. We get a glimpse of the towers of A Pena and A Porqueira, high up in the mountains. Originally they were four towers and it is said that they were connected by passageways, where, according to the elders of the town, there are dark dungeons.

In Augas Santas we taste its typical sheep’s cheese and coffee liqueur
We end the tour in the village of Augas Santas, close to Allariz, where we find one of Galicia’s loveliest old quarters and the perfect place to grab a bite. We suggest ordering dishes that include the best of the territory’s rich gastronomy, beginning with an entree of Queixo do Rexo (sheep cheese) and local sausages. Don’t miss the delicious empanadas (Galician pies) For dessert let yourself be seduced by the almendrados (almond pastries), the famous Torta Real (cake) or the typical melindres (biscuits) accompanied by the delicious locally made coffee liqueur.

We head towards Ourense, Galicia’s thermae capital
An excellent plan for the afternoon is taking some means of transportation to Ourense, to visit the thermae capital of Galicia and stroll through its casco antiguo. One of its symbols is the fountain of As Burgas, from where smoky medicinal water springs at 67 degrees from the spout of its neo-classical fountain. We can fill a bottle with water to take home with us, like the locals do. A legend fosters two versions about the spring: one says that it comes from a volcano that rests under the city and another that it is located below the chapel of the Holy Christ, in the cathedral, which is a must-see.

We end the day relaxing at the Laias spa
In addition to its wine culture, the lands of O Ribeiro are also rich in thermal spas. To take advantage of both we can move on to Laias, in the municipality of Cenlle, where we can also find accommodation. A perfect way to spend the rest of the afternoon is relaxing in the spa, surrounded by the river landscape of the Miño river and we can round off the day with a nice dinner accompanied by wines with Denomination of Origin O Ribeiro. To spend the night we can stay in the spa or return to Ourense, that offers a wide and varied range of hotels and lodging houses.

 

Day 4

First part of the stage San Paio de Bóveda-Carballeda
  

We visit the Pazo de Vilamarín

After breakfast we continue our own special pilgrimage by completing the first part of the stage San Paio Boveda- Carballeda.

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In San Paio, in the Ourense municipality of Amoeiro, we continue to Tamallancos and Sobreira. Here we can take a detour to visit the Pazo de Vilamarín,whose structure is that of a castle-fortress. It is located in a completely rural environment, next to the village of Fondevila, on a hill inside a large estate. Entrance is freeand we can even access the turrets. Inside, one of the most interesting elements is the traditional Galician kitchen,or lareira, with a huge smoke stack resting on two pillars with moulded capitals. After the visit we continue to Faramontaos or Biduedo, if we are up to it.

This villa is rich in art and history. An interesting visit are the ruins of the castle of the Counts of Ribadavia, where the greatness of one of Galicia’s most important fortressescan be perceived.

We have lunch in Ribadavia, wine capital of O Ribeiro

At lunchtime we recommend hiring some means of transportation to get to Ribadavia, the wine capital of the Ribeiro wine Denomination of Origin. There are interesting wine cellars with restaurant that serve fine wines from the local denomination to accompany the menu. For dessert we suggest trying some tasty Jewish sweets from the old Jewish quarter.

We tour a wine cellar and sign up for a spa session

We can round off the afternoon by discovering one of the wineries with the local wine denomination, San Clodio, in the geographical birthplace of these wines, in the neighbouring municipality of Leiro. We will have the chance to stroll through its large vineyards of treixadura vines and then taste its wines.

After the visit we round off the day signing up for a thermal spa session or massage at the Laias Spa,before dinner.

Day 5

From Cea to Vila de Cruces

We taste the bread from Cea and the special liqueur produced by the monks of Oseira

After a hearty breakfast we continue along the Vía da Prata.

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As a reference we can use the stage Biduedo-Carballeda, but we suggest starting before that, in Cea, a town famous for its bread that today boasts the protected geographical indication. Pilgrims from long ago already sought shelter by the heat of its ovens and then took their bun with them to nibble on along the way. Today you can easily stock up on bread, for there are many signs that lead to the town’s bakeries.

The story of this bread runs parallel to that of the monastery of Santa María la Real de Oseira. Back in the 13th century the villa was the main supplier of bread in Galicia thanks to the monks from the Cistercian monastery, that we can get to from Cea. It’s size, artistic value and its natural location, between mountains, will amaze us. There we suggest you try the “Eucaliptine”, a special liqueur made by the monks out of eucalyptus leaves. At the end of the visit we go back to the road and head towards Dozón and climb up towards Alto de San Domingos or as far as we can make it.

We discover the vineyards by the riverbanks of the Ulla, land of grape eau-de-vies

We propose discovering how wines and liqueurs are processed in the valley of the river Ulla − a land of great tradition in grape eau-de-vie and quite close to Santiago − at a wine cellar with Rías Baixas Denomination of Origin, in the municipality of Vila de Cruces. We suggest having lunch at one of the several country guesthouses that offer good cuisine and accommodation for the night. We can request that they prepare their famous baked farmhouse rooster for us.

Good cuisine goes hand in hand with spectacular landscapes carved by water and it is no wonder that these lands are part of the River Network Ulla-Deza. After a rest we move on to the riverbanks of the Ulla to get to know its vineyards and learn more about the real “granite viticulture “, known as such because of the composition of this soil, where the albariña grape also grows.

At the end of the visit we return to the rural accommodation for dinner. We recommend fish, given that this river basin is plentiful in salmon, although there are also good trout and eels.

Day 6

From Lestedo to Santiago de Compostela
  

After breakfast we will be prepared to walk the last stretch of the Vía da Prata. We start off at Lestedo, in the municipality of Boqueixón, from where a little over ten kilometres separate us from the Cathedral of Santiago. As we walk we will leave the shadow of the Pico Sacro, focal point of many Way of Saint James legends behind us.

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Further on we cross the villages of A Susana and Paradela, reaching Santiago de Compostela through the Rúa da Ponte do Sar, while to the left we see the Collegiate Church of Sar. Its clearly visibly slanting walls are stunning. To really get a good look you must visit its interior, where you will see why there are thick buttresses on the outside, that were later added to the building, between the 17th and 18th centuries.

We then have to tackle the hill to Castrón Douro, a street that is as beautiful as steep. We cross the Fonte de Santo Antonio and enter right into the “almond” − the old quarter − of Santiago through the “almendra” -casco histórico- de Santiago por el Archway of Mazarelos, the only gate of the medieval city wall that is still standing.

Behind the Praza da Universidade square we go downhill along Costa de Xelmírez and reach the Praza das Praterías square, ith multiple and varied stone treasures, such as the Casa do Cabildo or the Clock Tower. This tower houses the cathedral’s largest bell, the Berenguela, that at noon announces the Pilgrim’s Mass. Then we go down and turn the corner to the Praza do Obradoiro, the longed-for destination for pilgrims.

A Berenguela, Cathedral of Santiago’s Clock Tower bell, calls to the Pilgrim’s Mass at noon

We fulfil all the rites inside the cathedral and grab lunch in the popular street Rúa do Franco

In the interior of the cathedral we can fulfil all the rituals associated with the pilgrimage, such as the tradition of embracing the Apostle or visiting his relics by going down to the crypt below the main altar, where they are kept in a silver urn. When we are through we will take a tour to see the other cathedral facades and squares, all different and extremely beautiful.

At lunchtime, the street Rúa do Franco, that communicates directly with the Praza do Obradoiro, is a showcase for the best of Galicia’s cuisine: seafood and meat. And, for dessert, the traditional Tarta de Santiago, a delight made from almonds.

We stroll through the city’s gardens and go “wine-drinking” in the old quarter

We spend the afternoon strolling around the monuments area. We find many buildings of different styles that can be visited. And if what we really want is to be out in the open, Santiago’s gardens will delight us. The elegance of the nineteenth century boulevard Paseo da Alameda or the spirituality of the park of Bonaval re only a few of the many options that the centre of city has to offer..

By evening we will have worked up an appetite. A very deeprooted tradition is to “go to wine-drinking” around the streets of the old quarter, accompanying Galician wines with the typical helpings or pinchos (bites) to suit all tastes.

Compostela as a World Heritage city, open and hospitable, has a wide and varied range of accommodation. A lodging house or a charming hotel in the old quarter can be a good option to continue enjoying the city the following morning.

Day 7

We visit the cathedral’s rooftop
  

After breakfast we propose going up to the rooftop of the cathedral, which will offer us a whole new perspective of the city; practically a bird’s eye view.

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Afterwards we can venture around streets such as Preguntoiro, the Praza de Cervantes square, Acibechería or even the Fresh Produce Market if we want to do some last-minute shopping. To round off the morning we can rest at one of the charming cafés in the historic area.

Arriba