We’ll kick back and relax in the spas’ mineral waters, travel by catamaran on the River Minho, discover wineries and monasteries and visit the Jewish quarter of Ribadavia.

The wineries proposed on this route are an example of the many that you can find across the length and breadth of the territory included in the designation of origin, from the large and modern wineries – such as the Cooperativa do Ribeiro – to the smaller, artisanal wineries, more open and approachable.

O Ribeiro is Galicia’s oldest wine-producing region. The Rivers Miño, Arnoia, Avia and Barbantiño converge in it, leaving behind lush riverbank vegetation interspersed with vineyards and orchards. On its slopes are scattered churches, monasteries, pazos, fortified pre-Roman Iron Age villages and Jewish settlements as well as hot springs, which are coming to the fore once again in a new golden age for their spas.

More information...
- Pazo Casanova winery. www.pazocasanova.com
- Viña Meín winery. www.vinamein.com
- A Arnoia spa. Teléfono: 988 492 400
- Cortegada spa. Teléfono: 988 483 276

Day 1

A Arnoia opens the doors to the oldest wine-producing region in Galicia

A Arnoia will be the site chosen as a starting point for a closer look at the oldest wine-producing region in Galicia, O Ribeiro. This village, on the banks of the Frieira reservoir, is the paradigm of harmony between wine, water and spas that we will find elsewhere in the region.

The A Arnoia spa

The town’s offer of accommodation includes a refurbished boutique hotel in a former Cistercian Priory. There is also a modern hotel which houses a spa with hypothermal waters; at 22 degrees and possessing a sulphurous and fluorinated composition, they are suitable for fighting rheumatic, dermatological or respiratory ailments.

We recommend that you arrive early in the afternoon if you want to take unhurried advantage of the time in this spa, which is terraced onto a hillside slope, just as they do here with the vineyards. From its exceptional enclave, it faces the water in the reservoir and the forests on the banks of the River Miño. It’s the same landscape that we see from its indoor and outdoor pools.

Travel by catamaran on the River Miño

If the weather is suitable, in the afternoon we can complete our spa therapy with a catamaran tour on the River Miño. The wooden pier is practically at the foot of the spa. Depending on the time of year, they’ll be green or have turned brown, red or yellow.

We’ll reach another spa town Cortegada – whose spa we’ll see standing majestically on the shore, nestled in the woods behind it. If it’s not spring or summer, we suggest arranging the trip with the organising company in advance. At the spa, they can help you contact the company or arrange it directly.

Characteristic A Arnoia peppers are presented in very different ways, even in ice cream

At dinner time, we can order traditional products to enjoy along with our Ribeiro wine and, if it’s season, enjoy one of the region’s star dishes: the well-known A Arnoia peppers. They are delicious fried, stuffed or in an omelette. There’s even pepper ice cream. The product’s own festival – an official Tourist Event – is held in August.

Day 2

On the winery route, admiring the grandeur of the territory and the Jewish Quarter in Ribadavia

Pazo Casanova winery

In the morning, after the breakfast, we head to the town of Santa Cruz de Arrabaldo, near the city of Ourense. We’ll tour the Pazo de Casanova winery, a half hour away via the A-52, N-120 and OU-0522 provincial road. After passing through the stone walls of the rural eighteenth-century pazo belonging to the winery, on the estate’s slopes we’ll see Treixadura, Albariño, Godello and Loureiro vines covering an area of ten westward-orientated hectares.

During the tour, they’ll explain the traditional wine-making process the winery follows. We’ll also find out about the research projects they are engaged in aimed at contributing to the development and evolution of local wines, in collaboration with the Galicia’s Viticulture and Oenology Station. At the end of the tour, we’ll sample their wines and pomace brandies.

The Viña Meín winery

The Viña Meín winery is located in the parish of San Clodio do Ribeiro, and we can tour it and sample their wines.

Surrounded by a plantation of Treixadura, the grand old manor is now a charming rural accommodation, a pioneer in wine tourism in Galicia; from it, we can see how the grapevines extend up the mountainside. The newly built winery is located at the foot of the building for guests, and has used the original stones of the old winery.

The Cistercian Monastery of San Clodio

Just a kilometre away is the San Clodio Monastery, – since 1931, a Historic/Artistic Monument – considered the cradle of O Ribeiro wines. Cistercian monks took up residence in it in the twelfth century and their work boosted the cultivation of wine grapes in area. The soil, the gentle slopes and its western mid-day orientation did the rest of the work. Today it houses a monument/hotel. Access is free and we can stroll through the gardens or visit the cloisters. In the church, the altar stands out as well as the curious Mudéjar-style coffered ceiling under the choir. Meat, wine

Meat, wine and coffee liqueur

Back in the hotel restaurant, we’ll have the opportunity to sample some carne ao barro or suckling lamb, or choose other spots in the parish offering menus based on traditional cuisine washed down with local wines. After dessert, it is customary to order a glass of coffee liqueur which is popular in the province of Ourense.

When we finish, we can take a walk to the San Clodio mediaeval bridge, which – together with the monastery – complete the historical/artistic complex. Take a look at the cross that crowns its central arch. On the outer wall is a figure of a saint who could be San Clodio.

The Jewish Quarter of Ribadavia

We’ll devote the rest of our afternoon to wandering Ribadavia, the capital of O Ribeiro, where the Viño do Ribeiro Wine Festival, – the oldest in Galicia and an official Tourist Event – is held in late April or early May. The wine also attracted a large Jewish community to this town, and ended up becoming half of its population.

We can enter the Jewish Quarter, between the Praza Maior square and the wall. Among its shops is one that prepares exquisite Jewish sweets following ancient recipes. The House of the Inquisition is a beautiful sixteenth-century building that you’ll be able to recognise because there are five coats-of-arms of families linked to the Holy Office who went to the village to watch for and execute Jews who were false converts.

A visit to the ruins of the castle of the Counts of Ribadavia

The ruins of the castle of the Counts of Ribadavia, – at the top of the village – are its iconic symbol. Abandoned since the seventeenth century, its grandiosity as one of Galicia’s largest mediaeval fortresses can still be seen. We invite you to pass through its three remaining gates in the wall: the Porta de Cerca Oeste, facing the Alameda; the Porta de Celanova, to the south, connected to the river, and the Porta Falsa, to the southeast in direction of the mill. You can take a break from your walk at the viewpoint in Praza Buján square, where you can watch the River Avia as it flows by, finally ending up in the River Miño.

Ribadavia offers many bars with a very wide selection of wines in addition to those of the O Ribeiro Designation of Origin. They are an excellent choice for tapas and dinner. Some of these establishments provide evening entertainment with live music from local groups.

Day 3

Treatment at the A Arnoia spa or a boat ride

After breakfast, we encourage you to continue taking advantage of the mineral-based medicinal properties of the A Arnoia spa, where you can enjoy a massage or a beauty, health or relaxation treatment.

If you prefer, you can go down to the pier, rent a small rowboat and navigate the calm water. Another alternative is to stroll along the shore and admire the scenery, or enjoy a drink in the small, rustic bar surrounded by gardens and wooden tables.