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Hidden Spain: Ribeira Sacra, the Secret of the Monks – Journey Dudes

A deep gorge crosses the land. On the prime, Romanesque monasteries watch the horizon and a bunch of viewpoints provide magnificent views. Trying down, oaks, chestnuts and vineyards cowl the stepped hillsides.

Every little thing in Ribeira Sacra invitations one to breathe, chill out and really feel alive.

Let me present you why Ribeira Sacra is a candidate to be listed as Cultural Panorama World Heritage, and an ideal future for a retreat journey.   

It’s one of many much less identified lovely locations in Spain.

A Capela viewpoint at Ribeira Sacra, Spain.

Ribeira Sacra means the sacred banks of the river. In actual fact, the magic of this land turns round 2 essential rivers: Miño and Sil.

River Sil carves throughout its final 35 kms granite partitions as deep as 600 Mts in some areas. Then, it runs into River Miño, close to Os Peares.  The pure drive of river Sil is soothed by a number of dams, making nice boat journeys doable – an exquisite solution to uncover the canyon. 

An entire route within the area ought to embrace: monasteries, viewpoints and nature, vineyards, conventional cities and native delicacies.

What number of days? Think about at the least 5.  

The Viewpoints to admire Ribeira Sacra

We are able to rely at the least 36 wonderful viewpoints the place to admire the Ribeira Sacra.

They’re distributed all alongside the 2 essential rivers: Miño and Sil.

It may take you some time to cease at each viewpoint, that’s why it’s a good suggestion to choose a bunch of them, particularly if you’re visiting Ribeira Sacra for a brief time frame.

These ones under are my favorite ones: 

Pena do Castelo Viewpoint
Pena do Castelo Viewpoint
  • Cabo do Mundo and Cabezoás, the primary one above probably the most well-known meander of River Miño, the second watching one other meander, of river Sil, on this case.
  • Pena do Castelo, A Capela and As Penas de Matacá, displaying the perfect views over the cultivated terraces and the river. 
  • And the stylish ones: O bambán do Solpor and the one in Terra Brava Wineries. These are two swings with views, a delight for instagramers and bloggers. The one in Terra Brava Wineries is the one personal one, solely accessible as a part of the go to to the wine cellars. 

And the factors of view

What number of locations did you go to from totally different heights? You are able to do that on Ribeira Sacra! 

From prime to backside: 

Hot Air Balloon at Ribeira Sacra in Spain.
Scorching Air Balloon at Ribeira Sacra in Spain. Picture credit score: aerotours
  • Fly over the vineyards, with the dawn as a witness. Bounce right into a scorching air balloon and float over the panorama. There are three corporations providing this unimaginable expertise that may take you on a flight for about an hour. 
  • Drive up and down alongside the mountains, stopping on the viewpoints and immersing within the surroundings. 
  • Get a ship journey. Navigate the water of River Sil, or Miño. A pleasing journey amongst damns will likely be excellent at sundown. Firms function at one and different facet of the primary rivers. 

The monasteries round Ribeira Sacra

The realm is taken into account the primary focus of rural romanesque in Europe, with 85 romanesque monasterios, 18 of which you’ll go to.

Why so many, and what was the aim of constructing them?

The fertile lands, the thriller, retreat and peace of the world attracted monastic orders from the start of Cristianity. We are able to now comply with their footprints looking for the identical pleasure in such a serene retreat.

Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil, Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil and San Pedro de Rocas are probably the most exceptional monasteries, the “should see” of the area.

Santo Estevo is positioned within the coronary heart of Ribeira Sacra, and was one of the crucial highly effective monasteries within the space: 9 bishops determined to spend their final days in it.

It preserves a baroque façade, a church with a romanesque apse and three cloisters of various durations: Renaissance, Romanesque and Gothic. The monastery is these days an opulent lodge (it belongs to the distinguished Spanish Paradores lodges chain), the place you may finally keep. 

Guide at night time at Santa Estevo right here.

Monastery of Santa Cristina De Ribas de Sil

Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil is a kind of magic locations that may stay in your recollections. Surrounded by a chestnut forest, this monastery, constructed on the newest XI century, stands above a meander of Sil river.

San Pedro de Rocas (Saint Peter of the Rocks), it seems like being smelt on the rocks. It was most likely one of many first locations had been the lonely lifetime of eremites grew to become a group life. 

The vineyards in Ribeira Sacra

Ribeira Sacra lives with and for the wine. The Romans discovered gold in these lands, however left us one thing in change. They most likely mixed the indigenous grapevines with the mediterranean ones, acquiring higher vines. What’s extra, it’s mentioned that the Caesars demanded these wines. The custom continued with the monks bettering and selling the wine exercise, cultivating tough items of land, at angles of fifty to 85%. A few of them are nonetheless solely accesible by boat. Wine cultivation grew to become the financial supply in these occasions, what nonetheless is. 

To go to a Ribeira Sacra vineyard is completely essential to know the way of life of the locals. There are various small wine cellars, household companies, distributed within the three wine areas: Amandi, Ribeira do Miño and Ribeira do Sil.

Simply decide one (or two, or three), and let your senses go. 

The normal cities of Ribeira Sacra

Are there large cities within the space? Happily not, so tranquility is assured. However there are three cities and a metropolis you must go to.

Monforte de Lemos

Being node of rails, made Monforte a metropolis. It’s positioned within the geographical heart of Ribeira Sacra, a sensible choice to remain in and plan day journeys from there. Don’t depart the town with out strolling alongside River Cabe and discovering the Galician Escorial: Nuestras Señora de la Antigua, the previous fort and the Tower hold.


Portomarín is a crucial village on the Manner of St. James. I take advantage of to say that the Manner works because the railway for rural cities: it makes life to flourish. Folks open small eating places, lodges, retailers. Some cities and villages appeared throughout the Center Ages due to the Manner.

However, listen: the Portomarin you may go to these days, that’s the brand new city. The previous one is submerged below the waters of the reservoir. The primary buildings, together with the church of St. John, had been beforehand moved, stone by stone, to its new location. 



A conventional city with some romanesque treasures. The primary sq. is surrounded by conventional homes with wood balconies and porches. If you’re fortunate sufficient to go to Chantada on a Fairy day, 5 or 21 of each month, you can be immersed in an genuine expertise: the market as within the previous occasions.

A bunch of romanesque church buildings will full the go to: the church buildings of San Salvador of Asma, Santa María of Pesqueiras, or Santa María of Nogueira. 

Castro Caldelas watches River Edo from the highest of a hill. To achieve the fort, positioned within the heart of the village, you’ll must stroll up winding cobbled streets misplaced in time. And as soon as once more, really feel fortunate to be right here. 

The character in Ribeira Sacra

You’ll quickly uncover that Ribeira Sacra is a paradise for ramblers.

There are various unimaginable strolling trails within the space. You may comply with anybody close to your lodge, however I want to advocate three ones: 

The River Mao canyon path
  • Santa Cristina Path (you’ll find it as PR-G 98), round, with nice views of the river Sil canyon and cultural patrimony. 
  • Belesar vineyards path ( PR-G 183), straightforward and quick path crossing vineyards. 
  • River Mao canyon path (PR-G 177), my favorite path. Round path that calls for some effort, however is totally price it. 

The delicacies

Gastro vacationers may select Ribeira Sacra solely as a gastro vacation spot, and be gratefully stunned by the standard and number of the native dishes and wines. However even if you’re not a gastro vacationer, you’ll need to eat between one outing and one other. 

Octopuss a Feira, or Galician Fashion

Meat lovers can be in so luck right here. Very best quality pork (shoulders, ham, chorizo), veal (T-bone steak, sirloin), goat meat, large and small recreation looking are supplied on its tables. Naturally, all of those meats, often roasted, pair completely with the native pink wines of Ribeira Sacra.

In case you get pleasure from fish, trout’s are caught regionally, however there’s additionally a deep custom to eat European eel and octopus A Feira (Galician model). 

Locals collect wonderful mushrooms and chestnuts within the forests and put together scrumptious garnishes with them. Chestnuts are a typical ingredient within the dessert recipe books, typically mixed with honey and cheese. 

Attempt Bica de Trives or Bica de Castro Caldelas. Bica is a standard moist sponge cake ready with pork butter. You may have it as a breakfast or as a dessert, going with espresso liquor – an historic custom within the space. 

Sleep with the serenity of a monk

There’s an incredible vary of unconventional lodging in Ribeira Sacra. 

What about sleeping in a former monastery? Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil is a spectacular former monastery reconverted right into a 4 stars lodge.

Parador Santo Estevo, Ribeira Sacra, Spain.
Parador Santo Estevo, Ribeira Sacra, Spain.

Or in a vineyard? Rectoral de Anllo provides the likelihood to chill out surrounded by vineyards.

Or in a former rectory? Reitoral de Chandrexa is an ecological cozy rural hostel, with solely 3 bedrooms. 

In addition to, there are many rural genuine lodging, a variety the place to choose.

Ribeira Sacra is likely one of the most full locations. Skilled travellers will nonetheless discover it astonishing. It’ll depart you with a full abdomen, a smile in your lips and a happy coronary heart. I promise. It occurs to me each time I go to.

Searching for extra distinctive locations to go to in Spain? Take a look at these posts:

  • Gabriela Garcia

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