A Baixa Limia, in general, and the Serra do Xurés Nature Park, in particular, constitute one of the largest natural reserves and most fascinating areas in the interior of Galicia. Its hills and valleys are dappled with large extensions of forests made up of native species. A total of 151 species of vertebrates have been identified, the most outstanding of which are wolves, otters, roe deer and wildcats.

One A Baixa Limia's main attractions is the variety and intensity of its landscapes, a natural setting almost untouched by humans, where one can discover and enjoy nature at its purest.

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Without a doubt, it is one of the most interesting areas in Galicia in terms of nature, landscape, ethnography and archaeology.

Rugged mountain chains, of singular morphology and with peaks as high as 1,500 metres, afford impressive panoramic views, as well as provide the conditions for unique flora and fauna.

The second main attraction is to be found in its waters. On the one hand, there is the omnipresent River Limia, as well as the numerous torrents produced by the winter snows and abundant rain, which feed the many beautiful waterfalls to be found in the Nature Park. On the other hand, the region of A Baixa Limia boasts three dams: Salas, As Conchas and Lindoso. The waters contained in these reservoirs provide visitors with the ideal setting for various water-related activities, combining sports and leisure.
 

Route

The route we propose is of low difficulty with the help of a vehicle and includes short journeys on foot. It is suitable for everyone and ideal to do as a family. It takes an estimated three days. The time distribution should just be taken as an example as each person can be vary it according to preferences.

Access to the area (Bande)...

  • Turnoff at Xinzo de Limia on the N-52 to link up with the OU-540, Ourense-Portugal, in Bande.
  • From Ourense, along the OU-540 road towards Celanova and Bande, where the tourist route through A Baixa Limia begins. A new dual carriageway beginning at the A-52 near Ourense and ending after Celanova is to be opened at the end of 2012.
  • From Portugal, we have access through the borders at Portela do Home or through the border at A Magdalena.

Day 1

The route proposed for the first day begins in the town of Bande, principal town of a small municipality in which the "Festa do Peixe" (Fish Festival) is held annually, an unequivocal sign of the richness of the area's rivers.

Also well-known for its carnivals, in which the masked "troteiro" is the main character, here we can visit the monumental church of San Pedro and the Rector House.

Commencing the route along the OU-540 towards Lobios and Portela do Home, after only a few kilometres we come upon the Roman archaeological site of Aquis Querquennis. Nearby, in the village of Bath, some thermal pools were prepared next to the Conchas Reservoir for the enjoyment of residents and visitors.

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Continuing along the OU-540, 10 km from Bande, we find a turnoff to the right that leads to the Visigothic church of Santa Comba de Bande. The route will take us first to the parish church; just a few metres away, we find the walls that surround this important monument in A Baixa Limia.

Continuing along the OU-540 towards A Feira Vella, in the village of Asperelo we come across an unusual stone roofed oven, the only one of its kind to be found in the region, after which we take the turnoff towards Entrimo to visit the Church of Santa María A Real.

After the visit, from the centre of A Terrachá, we follow the road that goes towards Queguas. To the right we will see the Pedreiriño Recreation Area, with beautiful views over the valley. To the left stands a statue to Saint Rosendo, a noble Galician who founded the Convent of Celanova. Further on we will come to a small chapel on the left of the road, dedicated to Santo Cristo (Sacred Christ).

Once in Queguas, we can visit the Ascension shrine, As Cortes da Carballeira and the Dolmen of A Casa da Moura. From the centre of this town we can link up with the trekking route that commences in A Terrachá. From here the route we continue on foot for about four km, taking approximately two hours. The first part, which will take about half of the scheduled time, is particularly interesting as one can visit the shrine.

Day 2

The proposed route for the second day begins at the village of Feira Vella and heads towards Lobios.

The return route to Lobios from Compostela can be done along the OU-540 or by going first to Manín and then on to Lobios. This last itinerary offers the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful panoramic views over the Lindoso Reservoir.

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Upon reaching Lobios we can visit the Church of San Miguel as well as the village of Fondevila, where there numerous hórreos also known in the area as "canastos". This visit helps us to get a clear picture Fondevila's wealth in times past.

Nature lovers can visit the Serra do Xurés Nature Park's Interpretation Centre at Lobios, where they will find all kinds of information related to the park and its natural resources.

Back on the road again, we take the OU-540 towards Vilameá and Portela do Home. As we reach Vilameá, to the left we see the Santa Lucía Chapel, from where we can access the Muíños de Vilameá Route and the Chapel of the Virgin of Xurés. After going through the village and just as we leave the last houses behind, we see a road that will take us to the New Bridge and the first mill. Continuing along the road, the route ascends to the Chapel of the Virgin of Xurés, where we can see the three chapels with the Stations of the Cross with images of Jesus Christ on the way to Calvary.

Continuing once again along the road from Vilameá to Portela do Home we reach Os Baños de Río Caldo, one of the Galicia's loveliest corners, where there is a recently inaugurated hotel spa and a river beach ideal for a day out with the family. There is also a free thermal pool which is particularly enjoyable when the weather turns cold as the waters can emerge at temperatures of up to 42 degrees.

One can leave the car near the spa and do an interesting excursion on foot. The walk will take between one and two hours, depending on how far we want to go. Only a few metres after starting out we will see to the right the remains of the Roman Villa of Baños de Río Caldo (also known as "Mansio Aquis Originis"). Continuing along the route, there is a path that leads to the A Fecha Cascade. The first part is not difficult, while the last part, in ascent, is from low to medium difficulty.

Carrying on towards Portela do Home, after going through Torneiros, where there are a large number of hórreos, we will see the A Fecha Cascade on the distant mountain side. The largest in Galicia, they are spectacular in winter, when the flow of the water peaks. On the other side of the River Caldo we come to the Os Miliarios Recreation Area, where there are several Roman milestone markers that can be visited; on the left side of the road a section of the Roman Via Nova linking Braga with Astorga has been reconstructed. Part of this route along the Roman road can be done on foot to link up with the A Fecha cascade route.

As we near Portela D'Home we will be able to enjoy some beautiful views. All along the route there are numerous natural viewpoints where one can stop for a rest and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

Day 3

Our suggestion for the third day begins at Lobios and goes towards the municipality of Muíños and then we head on towards the Salas Reservoir.

Before reaching Mugueimes – capital of the municipality of Muíños – just after passing the village of Cadós, we can take the right-hand turnoff that climbs towards the shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Clamadoira which also offers the opportunity to enjoy some beautiful views over the reservoir.

The town of Mugueimes has a magnificent recreational area and facilities for recreational activities and sports in the Das Conchas Reservoir. We can also visit interesting architectural monuments such as the parish church, where the roof of the tower is made of overlapping slabs.

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From Muíños, our route carries on to the parish of Maus de Salas. There we see a sign that locates the megalithic monuments in the area. Arriving at the reservoir, to our right we find A Casiña da Moura. We cross the River Salas and skirt the reservoir towards Requiás and Guntumil, where we can visit A Casola do Foxo. The last megalithic monument – Outeiro de Cavaladre – is situated to the left, after we have crossed the reservoir.

We head back towards Mugueimes and then on to Bande, where the route ends.

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