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Ribeira Sacra: among monasteries, castles...
Three-day / 2-nights package that proffers a deep knowledge of the Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Banks) of the river Sil. Accompanied by our expert guides you will discover the monasteries, castles and fortresses hidden among rocks and the hillside forests on the Ourense side of the river Sil.
SANTO ESTEVO AND SANTA CRISTINA DE RIBAS DE SIL (Friday)
We begin the weekend with a 4-hour guided visit (regular): “Ribeira Sacra I” that leaves at 16:30 from the monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil, today a Tourism Parador that can become your chosen accommodation for this weekend. If you arrive on time, its restaurant offers good meals and a place to rest among the coolness of its cloisters.
The visit begins right at the monastery of Santo Estevo, that thanks to its restoration and magnificence, is one of the most magnificent in the Ribeira Sacra. We continue towards Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil, of Romanesque and Renaissance style, surrounded by nature, and we enjoy spectacular views from one of the observation points overlooking the river Sil. We enter another canyon, on the river Mao, tributary of the Sil, where on boardwalks that are literally hanging from the mountain we stroll among tree tops all the way to Barxacova. The walk takes approximately 30 minutes.
End of the visit and we head towards chosen accommodation. You may have dinner at the chosen place of accommodation
DAY 2: CRUISE AND SAN PEDRO DE ROCAS – CASTLE OF MACEDA ROUTE (Saturday)
Breakfast. In the morning, we set off from the jetty of Santo Estevo for a pleasant outing (1.5 hours) that is included in this package, on board a luxury catamaran (maximum 11 seats). This outing brings us more in contact with the nature found along the river Sil, and in the summer we can even enjoy a swim. We also have a different view from below of the canyons and monasteries that we saw the previous day. On the way back, a stop is included on the Lugo side of the riverbank, at the jetty of Chancís, and if you would like to stay and have lunch at one of the outdoor tables, remember to book in advance so that the boat can cross you to the other bank with enough time to take the afternoon tour “Ribeira Sacra II”. Calculate around 30 minutes from the jetty of Santo Estevo to Esgos.
In the afternoon, in Esgos, at the monastery of San Pedro de Rocas, the visit (regular) with an official guide begins at 16:30. This monastery, set among lush forests, is one of Galicia’s oldest. Its three chapels carved directly out of the rock are stunning, together with its bell tower, its anthropomorphic tombs and the world map painted directly on the rocks. Next we visit the monastery of Santa María in Xunqueira de Espadanedo, that today houses the town hall. Inside this small monastery the beams painted with animal and human figures are remarkable. We stop along the way to witness how the pottery kilns of Niñodaguía work, while they produce extremely useful crockery pieces out of yellow clay (cups, plates, trays...) and you may also purchase pieces to take home as practical souvenirs. Finally we visit the medieval Castle of Maceda, very well preserved and where Alfonso X of Castile resided until age 11. The castle houses a restaurant where we recommend that you book a table for dinner.
End of the visit and return to place of accommodation.
MONTEDERRAMO AND CASTRO CALDELAS (Sunday)
After breakfast, we propose that you carry out the following route by car. At approximately 45 minutes away from your accommodation, and passing through Parada de Sil you arrive at Montederramo. There, visit the Cistercian monastery of Santa María, that underwent several reforms since it was founded in the 12th century and that today shows a mixture of Renaissance and Baroque styles. Its cloisters are remarkable as well as its spectacular staircase that leads down to the church and sacristy. In a document from the year 1124, Queen Therese of Portugal order that it be founded and for the first time makes written reference to the name Rivoyra Sacrata. The tourism office offers guided tours.
Continue to Castro Caldelas, a town with cobbled streets and little houses with windowed balconies, famous for its bica (sponge cake that is typical of the area) and for its castle, a fortress that dates from the 12th century, and the sanctuary of Os Remedios. The walk along the inside of the fortress’ walls proves to be quite interesting. You will be surprised by a stone carved sun dial and the keeps, that are perfectly well preserved.
You may continue discovering Lugo’s Ribeira Sacra by entering Doade, in the province of Lugo, or head towards Terra de Trives to enter the most genuine and traditional Galicia. We have tourism packages for both routes.
Parador de Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil
- Low season: 239 €
- Mid season: 255 €
- High season: 265 €
Casa Rural da Eira
- Low season: 119 €
- High season: 129 €
Two nights B&B.
Official guided tour “Ribeira Sacra I” (4 hours, Friday afternoons).