7 nights
59 mls (km)
North West Spain
Apr to Jun, Sep to Oct

Gorges, Vineyards and Monasteries of Galicia

  • Incredible Canyon Landscapes
  • Encounter Many Sights of Historical Interest
  • Discover a New Side to Spanish Culture
  • Scenic Trails through Stunning Natural Scenery
  • Beautiful Forest Paths
  • Ourense
  • Sample Local Wines and Galician Cuisine
  • High-quality Characterful Accommodation

Galicia is one of the (if not the most) secluded areas of Spain, and this is especially the case further inland, where our route takes you on a journey through the valley of the Miño and Sil rivers, where dramatic canyons and gorges hold verdant forest and historic monasteries and picturesque villages are dotted along the routes’ course. The impressive effect of the high-level routes over the canyons and gorge finds its nearest comparison in the Norwegian Fjords; a magnificent landscape carved out and shaped during glaciation millions of years ago. The route offers many opportunities to stop and take in this landscape, on a route that links these awe-inspiring natural phenomena with the forest trails and meadowed paths that link your journey from one charming Galician village to the next, ultimately arriving in the historic city of Ourense.

Ourense is beautiful, particularly the old-town, with its welcoming atmosphere, lovely cathedral and fantastic restaurants and wine bars.

Why This Walk?

If you’re seeking an alternative experience of Spain, Galicia gives an insight into a side of Spanish culture almost entirely untouched by mass-tourism. Here you’ll find miles of unspoilt natural beauty, authentic culture and the experience of uncovering unspoilt stretches of countryside, step by step. The Ribeira Sacra (meaning sacred riverbank) area, through which the route makes its way, is where the confluence of the rivers Sil and Miño meet, a region that has attracted various civilisations over the centuries – very much in evidence in the old monasteries, Romanesque art and Roman architecture found along the path’s course. But, as befits an area full of vineyards and groves, visiting the area is a great opportunity to sample local wines and produce in the historic towns and villages you visit along the trail.  

One of the major highlights of this holiday are the beautiful forest paths; you will see oaks, maples, cherries and countless thick chesnuts which are the most beautiful trees in the area.  In autumn, the colours are incredibly beautiful.

The Path

Follow routes through vineyards, fields, meadows, small villages and forest paths as your journey takes you on high level routes overlooking the river gorge below – arguably one of the most impressive vistas in Galicia, if not Spain itself. Some of these trails have roots in historic means of transportation, as you follow old roman roads and caminos reales (royal paths), that were originally created for military use and became the main form of transit for merchants, civilians and traders from village to village. The majority are kept and maintained by various hiking and mountaineering associations, as well as by the locals who still use them to this day. Nevertheless, the landscape is distinctly wild, and, on your way, you’ll observe a variety of scenery created by the changes in topography as well as the diversity of wildlife, plants and flora native to the valley.

The Accommodation

Our accommodation in Galicia are selected to reflect the character of the locality; they are typically small, family-run establishments with great views.  Examples include elegant 19th century buildings, farmhouses located among vineyards, historic B&Bs and country hotels with modern comforts, usually a stones-throw away from the main sights of the area.

Our Ribeira Sacra Itineraries

  • Gorges, Vineyards and Monasteries of Galicia
    Distance: 59 miles (94.5km)
    7 Nights, 6 Days
    from £610 pp
    SPA-RBS1 ~ Gorges, Vineyards and Monasteries of Galicia ~ 7 / 6 classic
    • Day 1
      Arrival in Castro Caldelas

      Arrive in time to take in the spectacular views and sunset over the valley before you – the very landscape you’ll be exploring on foot the day following. A visit to the old town with its castle and cafés comes recommended, it’s a fabulous place to stop and enjoy a coffee and the locally speciality, bica (a variety of sweet sponge cake), as well as a nice glass of local wine.

    • Day 2
      Castro Caldelas to Cristosende
      9.6 miles/15.5 km, 5h ↑500m ↓750m

      Take a descending path through the valley, through oak, maple and chestnut forests. At the base of the valley, the path climbs across vineyards, with far-reaching views over the landscape. Here, you can take a coffee break in quiet village of O Pombar, join the riverside trail that leads to the fascinating, abandoned San Paio monastery. Your route then crosses paths with small, authentic villages before turning the ascent into the charming village of A Portela, with fantastic views of the hilltop Castro Caldelas. You’ll find even more scenic views over the area as you follow a trail along the gorge, before heading up to Cristosende, a village that looks out onto the countryside surrounding.

    • Day 3
      Cristosende to Parada de Sil
      7.8 miles/12.5 km, 4-5h ↑700m ↓550m

      Follow a path down to the waters’ edge as you walk along a riverside path linking villages surrounded by cherry trees, oaks, chestnuts and vines…even orange trees in the villages that are closer to the water. Here you’ll find oak forests on your climb up to Parada de Sil where, if you take a moment to look over your shoulder, you’ll see some fantastic views of the river.

    • Day 4
      Parada de Sil cliffs, monastery and viewpoint
      10.3 miles/16.5 km, 6h ↑750m ↓750m

      Today holds some of the most spectacular scenery found on the trail. Walking along the paths that run the cliff edge, with many spots to stop and take in the views over the 400m high gorge. The effect of the chestnut forests that line the path descending to Santa Cristina Monastery are particularly memorable, just like the Monastery itself: tranquil, scenic and an inviting space in which to reflect.

      From here you have a choice. You may either continue to the town of Cerreda, where the path climbs back towards the cliff edge and you’ll encounter more picturesque villages and fantastic viewpoints, with the view from the town of Vilouxe one of the most iconic in Galicia. A taxi will collect you from Cerreda (10€ - only payable locally), a great place to stay a while with a coffee or beer while you’re waiting. Alternatively, if you are looking for a more leisurely route today, you could opt for a scenic circular walk from Santa Cristina to Parada.

    • Day 5
      Parada de Sil to Santa Estevo and Penalba
      9.6 miles/15.5 km, 5h ↑400m ↓850m

      Today’s journey starts with a short transfer (not required if you stayed in the Parador), to the San Estevo Monastery, from which there are incredible views. Walk down through a scenic forest trail, with views of the gorge and of the monastery behind you as your trail meets the picturesque village of Paradela. Once you reach the plateau, walk across open areas with views for miles over the impressive granite rocks, before reaching the confluence of the Sil and Miño river gorges. Re-joining a forest trail, suddenly you’ll find the route opening to views of the river in Penalba, before walking the last part of your route through vineyards.

    • Day 6
      Penalba to Peroxa
      8.1 miles/13 km, 4-5h ↑550m ↓200m

      A short transfer (5 min approx.) takes you to the start of your route in Os Peares. Your path takes you through the remote and beautiful Bubal gorge, visiting the historic villages of the area. Reach the plateau and walk through meadows and oakland, encountering more remote villages and enjoying a quiet descent into lively Peroxa, from where you can already see Orense. Your hosts at Fazenda Pradio are winemakers so this is another opportunity to taste the nice local wine, and of course great food!

    • Day 7
      Peroxa to Barra de Mino (train to Ourense)
      4.4 miles/7 km, 2h ↑100m ↓500m

      The last leg of your journey begins on a route descending from Peroxa along a scenic path skirting the edge of a creek. Your route then joins a trail through an oak forest, crossing paths with the old castle of Peroxa, with views over the quaint villages clustered around the river Sil. At Sobrado you have a choice. You can either make your way to the river and on to the train station at Barra de Miño, to catch a train to Ourense (11:50 am). This option will allow you ample time to sample some of the local wine and produce at the city’s many restaurants. Taking the train is, of course, optional and if you prefer a longer walk today you can in fact connect several paths, lanes and tracks from Sobrado to walk directly to the city centre (total of 13 miles/21 km, 6-7h ↑400m ↓750m). Whichever way you decide to reach the city, you can expect to find more than enough to see and do in the lively and historic Ourense.

    • Day 8
      Departure from Ourense

      Transfer to airport, or if you’re looking to extend your holiday – let us know and we’ll be happy to arrange extra days in Galicia.

    or ask us a question
    What's Included:
    6 walking days
    7 nights accommodation
    7 breakfasts
    Price FromTwo people sharing (price per person)Single personSolo person
    1/4/20 - 30/6/20£610£750£810
    1/7/20- 31/8/20Not AvailableNot AvailableNot Available
    1/9/20- 31/10/20£610£750£810
    • 7 nights accommodation and 6 breakfasts
    • Luggage transfer
    • Route notes including mapping and GPS tracks
    • Destination guide
    • Regional Map
    • Local support and telephone advice
    Price Does Not Include 
    • Packed lunches – available locally
    • Breakfast in Ourense, as there are many local places nearby to eat
    • Evening Meals – a package of 4 dinners (drinks included) & 1 packed lunch can be purchased for £80 per person.  Wstrongly suggest booking this package as this is the best deal and in some towns it might be the only available option.
    • Tickets to winery visits
    • Tickets to thermal areas in Ourense.
    We highly recommend an upgrade of accommodation on Day 4 to stay at the Parador de Santo Estevo, approximate upgrade prices of £35 per person (double occupancy), £80 per person (single), with transfers from Parada included.

    You choose which day you would like your holiday to start on. We will book your holiday in accordance with your requirements.

    Our Ribeira Sacra holidays are available to walk April to June, September to October.

    Travel arrangements for arrival/departure ~ 

    You are responsible for booking your travel to your accommodation in Castro Caldelas and return from your accommodation in Ourense.  Taxi transfers can be arranged from/return either airport mentioned below if required.

    Nearest airport is located in Santiago de Compostela (SCQ)   http://www.aena.es/en/santiago-airport/index.html

    The other convenient airport is located in A Coruna (LCG)   http://www.aena.es/en/a-coruna-airport/index.html

    FROM SANTIAGO AIRPORT (public transport)

    • Shuttle bus runs from the airport terminal to Plaza de Galicia in Santiago, stopping at different points in the city including the bus station and the railway station.  http://www.empresafreire.com/en/rutas/#aeropuerto-santiago
    • Bus from Ourense to Castro Caldelas  Monday to Friday 14.45 & 18.30, Sunday 18.30, no service on Saturday. Or taxi from Ourense

    RETURN TO SANTIAGO AIRPORT (public transport)

    • Train to Santiago and shuttle bus to airport as above

    FROM A CORUNA AIRPORT (public transport)

    • Line 4051 bus service from airport to A Coruna centre (train station)

    Monday-Friday, both from A Coruña and from the airport, buses run from 7.15 am to 9.45 pm every half hour. On Saturdays they leave from A Coruña every hour from 7.30 am to 10.30 pm, and from the airport from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm also every hour. On Sundays and bank-holidays they leave every hour, from A Coruña from 8.30 am to 10.30 pm, and from the airport from 9.00 am to 10.00 pm. http://autoscalpita.com/

    • Bus from Ourense to Castro Caldelas  Monday to Friday 14.45 & 18.30, Sunday 18.30, no service on Saturday. Or taxi from Ourense

    RETURN TO A CORUNA AIRPORT (public transport)

    • Train to A Coruna and shuttle bus to airport as above
    We can organise additional nights/rest days, as well as transport options. Please contact us to discuss how we can help you with your specific requirements. Call one of our helpful team on +44 (0)1291 689774 or e-mail us here.

    Ribeira Sacra Client Reviews

    5/5 based on 1 reviews
    Celtic Trails are better than other companies we've used - good price / quality - value for money! They are helpful and attentive - they ask YOU if everything is fine and if you need advice. It was, for us, the first time to walk a trail in Spain. We enjoyed it very much. Beautiful weather, amazing viewpoints, gorgeous landscape, impressive silence and very delicious local wines.
    - October 2019
    Leave your own review of your Ribeira Sacra Walking Holiday with us - add review.
    Booking Request - Ribeira Sacra
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    What Happens Next?

    We will check your details and come back to you within two working days with a personalised estimate based on your requirements. We will then formally request a deposit of £150 per person (£100 per person for a single centre break) and book all your arrangements - find out about our full booking process here.

    Please note this does not constitute a booking confirmation, we kindly ask you to refrain from booking any travel until we have confirmed all your arrangements.

    Still Have Questions?

    If you are still unsure on any of your requirements, please do enquire with us first and one of our friendly team will be happy to help you with any queries you have.

    Enquire About Ribeira Sacra
    +44 (0)1291 689 774
    Our lines are open: 9am to 5pm (GMT), Monday to Friday
    Sample Accommodations

    Please note: exact accommodation booked will depend on availability.