Not to be missed: Os Peares is the precise point where the two great northwest rivers join.
According to the popular saying, the Sil has the water and the Miño the fame.
Upstream, each river separately forms deep gorges which in the case of the Sil
reach a depth of 500 metres at their deepest point. The service road to the
hydroelectric dams that starts from Os Peares takes us to this region with a
surprising feeling of adventure.
One of the most spectacular ways of getting to know the Ribeira Sacra is by
water. The two courses are navigable in a catamaran, the Sil from the Ourense
jetties of Santo Estevo (Nogueira de Ramuín) and Abeleda (Castro Caldelas)
and the Miño from the Lugo town of Belesar (O Saviñao). The tourist routes
run through the heart of the region itself.
The monasteries closest to the river Sil are those of Santo Estevo de Ribas de
Sil and Santa Cristina. The first, converted into a hostel, is reached from Luíntra
(Nogueira de Ramuín) or, if we want to take a longer road, by way of the
monastery of San Pedro de Rocas (turnoff on the OU-536 in Tarreirigo, Esgos).
The Interpretation Centre of the Rocas monastery, regarded as the best in
Galicia, gives the visit an added value. There is a direct road to and from Parada
de Sil going to Santa Cristina. The path down to this monastery goes through thickets of centuries-old trees. From Parada
de Sil, a short dirt path goes to the so-called “Balcón de Madrid”. This is a breathtaking lookout point over an abyss, from
where the shrine of Cadeiras (Sober) can be seen on the other bank and the Monforte plain on the horizon. There are no
lack of lookout points, like the structure between Vilouxe and Caxide where the gorge reaches its greatest height.
From Castro Caldelas, from whose castle one can look
out over the countryside, a winding road makes its
way through the secret places of the Ribeira Sacra.