Although the best known of Galicia are usually its coasts and its beautiful cities, in the interior we also find some impressive places such as the Ribeira Sacra.
The Ribeira Sacra is located between the provinces of Lugo and Ourense, with the rivers Cabe, Sil and Miño and with the city of Monforte de Lemos as the main town in the area. Visiting the Ribeira Sacra is an unforgettable experience if you are in Galicia and one of the best areas in Spain.
If you stay in Lugo or Santiago de Compostela, we recommend that you do one of these excursions so you don’t miss out on any details of the area:
- Excursion to the Ribeira Sacra from Santiago de Compostela.
- Excursion to the Ribeira Sacra from Lugo
What to see in the Ribeira Sacra
The natural spaces that we can visit in the Ribeira Sacra are a great reason to visit it, especially the Sil River Canyon.
But it is also the largest concentration of Romanesque art that we can find in Europe, with a dozen medieval monasteries, the result of the importance of the Ribeira Sacra during the Middle Ages.
One of those medieval monasteries, perhaps the best, is the Santo Estevo de Ribas del Sil, the largest of all and which is also today a Parador de Turismo. It is an old restored convent, with a spectacular cloister, very close to the Santa Cristina Monastery.
But are not the only ones. We also recommend visiting Santa María de Montederramo or San Paio de Abelada. If you like Romanesque art, visit the 12 monasteries of the Ribeira Sacra. Each one has its special charm and will surprise you.
The Sil River Canyon
It is undoubtedly one of the best natural spaces to visit in Galicia. And it can be enjoyed both from above and below.
The best way to admire the immensity and beauty of the Sil River Canyon is to go to one of its viewpoints, especially the Balcones de Madrid, a natural viewpoint that rises above ravines some 500 meters high. The views from there are magnificent and it is something that you will not be able to forget.
Then we recommend going down to the waters of the Sil River and taking an excursion on one of the catamarans that cross its waters on various routes of different durations along the 40 navigable kilometers of the river.
After this visit, it is time to enjoy two other beautiful activities in the Ribeira Sacra: take a hiking route through its lush forests or enjoy the wine, of great international prestige and one of the hallmarks of the area.
Visit Monforte de Lemos
As we have said before, the main town of the Ribeira Sacra is Monforte de Lemos, an interesting town of medieval origin where we can visit interesting places.
The tour of Monforte de Lemos can begin in San Vicente do Pino, an interesting monumental complex from where there are also beautiful views of the city.
Nearby is the Convent of Las Clarisas, where there is a fantastic Museum of Sacred Art, the Colegio de la Compañía de Jesús, the Colegio de Nuestra Señora la Antigua or the Castillo de los Condes de Lemos, today a Parador de Turismo.
From there we can walk to Ponte Vella, the bridge that crosses the river Cabe, of Roman origin although with subsequent renovations.
You can find more information about the Ribeira Sacra on the official Galician tourism page.