Ribeira Sacra. Winter way of the Jacobean’ route. Galicia

The Ribeira Sacra is an area that includes the banks of the Cabe, Sil and Miño rivers, in the southern part of the province of Lugo and the north of the province of Orense, in Galicia, Spain. The capital of the area is the city of Monforte de Lemos, in the province of Lugo, which is also the most populous locality. The Sil River Canyon acts as a natural border between the provinces of Orense and Lugo in Galicia.
It is a candidacy for the list of World Heritage Sites of Unesco. The decision will be taken in the 45th World Heritage Committee, in the year 2021.

The Ribeira Sacra is a land marked by the Miño and Sil rivers that, as they pass between the mountains, shape their beautiful landscape. All this, together with the faith and spirituality that still involves the numerous convents scattered throughout these lands, makes this corner of Galicia a safe bet for the senses.

The Ribeira Sacra is especially known for its natural and biological treasures, constituting a vast ecosystem of great variety and richness. The Meander of A Cubela in Ribas de Sil and the Canyons of the Sil, for its spectacular landscape, are noteworthy. This is an area in which the river runs encased through landscapes and mountains that have been described as of great beauty; the canyons have viewpoints enabled to admire its impressive monumentality, as well as a catamaran open to the public that transits the canyons from one side to the other.

Sports enthusiasts can also rent canoes on the Sil River and practice rowing or canoeing.

 Currently, during the transit through the river Sil, 18 monasteries can be visited in which the recently created Parador de San Estevo de Ribas de Sil, in the Nogueira de Ramuín Town Hall (Orense), and that of Monforte de Lemos ( most of the section of the Canyon runs in the municipality of Pantón in the province of Lugo).
Without forgetting to make a stop to contemplate the great work of nature in the canyon of the Mao River. All the way is done along the shore of the Mao River where we will see the waterfalls.

And, if what you like is to contemplate landscapes, go to Parada de Sil, where the most rugged and steep canyons of the whole area await you. The most famous are «the balconies of Madrid» from which we can appreciate the spectacular canyons hanging over the void … as long as you are not afraid of heights.

Jacobean Route. Camino de Santiago. French way. Winter route.

This route to Santiago was used by pilgrims in the winter months, to avoid passing through the mountains of Os Ancares and O Cebreiro, which are usually covered by snow. The Winter Way is an alternative to the French Way of Saint James a little further south, following the course of the Sil River to pass from El Bierzo to Galicia.

A section of this road passes through the Ribeira Sacra. It enters through Quiroga and deviates from the course of the Sil river in Ribas de Sil, where it ascends north to Barxa de Lor. Later, it passes through A Pobra do Brollón and enters the city of Monforte de Lemos, where it crosses the Cabe river by the Roman bridge. From there he goes to Belesar, where he crosses the Miño River before reaching Chantada.

Ribeira Sacra’s Wines

The Ribeira Sacra, as a designation of origin, is also known for the quality of its wines, widely used in Galician cuisine, which are popularly known in the area with the generic name of Mencía, because they are made mainly with the Mencía grape variant, although the godello variant is also used. The vines, which can be seen following the course of the river, are arranged in a system of stone steps, called socalcos, along the riverbank, and date back to Roman times.

The Romans already had in great appreciation these wines, which are fruity and of great presence, ideal to enjoy with meats, and it was said, that one of the variants of this wine, the Amandi (from the area of ​​the same name), is made him bring Caesar from the Romanized Gallaecia.

Iberinbound, iberinbound@iberinbound.com , incoming travel and pilgrimage agency in Galicia, has been organizing various pilgrimages for our clients. Our itineraries are all tailor-made and can include walking, cycling or even horseback riding. Masses and cultural visits can also be part of the program, which might enhance the intensity of the trip even more.

We collaborate with many different accommodation providers with different standards, so one can choose between a budget pilgrim tour, a ‘VIP’ tour, or something in between.