R i b e i r a S a c r a A r e a
Ribeira Sacra is the area in Galicia where the Sil and Miño rivers meet. The town of Os Peares can be found several kilometers before the Sil river flows into the Miño river. Sil runs along the border of the states of Lugo and Ourense, forming a profound canyon. This impressive and unique landscape is the symbol of the Ribeira Sacra region.
The first ones to settle down in this area were Christian monks and hermits searching for an ascetic life. Based on this heritage, the region is full of monasteries that radiate art, culture and growth to the whole Galician state. Also the name Ribeira Sacra (sacred riverside) is based on this origin and dates back to the XII century.
The most important monastery is Santo Estevo de Ribas del Sil which, for centuries, was a center of not only religious power but was also in charge of justice, notary and customs. This 1500 year old inheritance provides this part of Galicia with a highly valuable cultural heritage, offering it’s visitors castles, churches, manor houses and bridges. Furthermore, the rich history is complemented with archeological sites from the Bronze and Iron Age which certify the existence of Roman Empire legions in this region.
The Ribeira Sacra relief consists of high plateaus and smooth mountains because of the erosion in the Sil canal. The result is a 500 meter profound canyon which was formed millions of years ago. At the top of the canyon, above the river, several natural viewpoints can be found that allow an impressive view over the area. At the other side, next to the Miño riverside, visitors can find vineyards and wine cellars based on the authentic Ribeiran lifestyle. Trips in Zodiac with Quinta Sacra, one of the tourist attractions of the area, allow the visitors to visit normally inaccessible corners of the terrain.
The Ribeira Sacra vegetation consists of oaks, chestnuts, birch, alder and broom. During the different seasons the countryside’s color changes remarkably, leaving an astonishing impression on the region’s unique landscape. Within this incredible scene the vineyards are surrounded by cypresses which stand out based on their terrace structure. The wines of this region fit high-end gastronomy and are sold with Ribeira Sacra denomination of origin.
This special area offers all kinds of outdoor activities. The possibilities of active tourism include hiking, abseil, cannoning, paragliding, horse riding or mountain biking. In winter, visitors can also take advantage of the ski resort, Cabeza de Manzaneda. For less active visitors, the area offers traditional festivities and cultural events which are celebrated in the castles and monasteries.