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Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

The Natural Adventure Company

Self Guided Walking Holidays and Cycling Holidays

Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

Details

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Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia
Rating
Average rating:   5,  1 reviews
Country
Spain
Activity type
Self Guided Walking
Duration
8 days & 7 nights
Difficulty
Easy to Moderate, Moderate
Accomodation
Comfortable
Availability
April - June, September - November

Itinerary

Day 1: Castro Caldelas
Day 2: Cristosende
Day 3: Parada de Sil
Day 4: Luintra
Day 5: Penalba
Day 6: Peroxa
Day 7: Orense

 

Overview for Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

Ribeira Sacra is one of the hidden gems of Spain. The gorges of the rivers Sil and Miño provide dramatic scenery, with 500m high cliffs, comparable to the Norwegian fjords, but enjoying the privileged Spanish climate, ideal to grow vines, cherries and even oranges. Add to this the welcoming Galician people and their picturesque villages, the Romanesque ruins, the chestnut forests and the lovely city of Ourense city at the end, and you have a walking holiday that you will not forget.

This is a land of ancient monasteries which produced exclusive wines for the enjoyment of the most refined members of the clergy in the Vatican. This tradition has continued and nowadays there are many terraced vineyards hidden in the steep gorges. The wineries are small family-run businesses and produce limited editions of excellent Ribeira Sacra wines using the Mencia grape and other local and exclusive varieties.

This holiday runs along scenic trails, crossing vineyards and beautiful oak and chestnut forests and passing by the edge of the gorges, so expect spectacular views most of the time.

Highlights

  • Many viewpoints over the Sil river gorge
  • Unspoilt nature
  • The spring and autumn colours of the vineyards and the chestnut forests
  • Rural Galician villages with their distinctive Celtic character
  • Welcoming hotels where you will feel like at home
  • Pretty Ourense with its impressive monuments and fine restaurants


Itinerary for Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

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Day 1: Castro Caldelas

Arrive to this pretty town with typical Galician stone houses on time to enjoy the views over a lovely valley, the castle and of course do not miss a glass of local wine!

Day 2: Castro Caldelas to Cristosende

Walk down the valley through oak forests and then across vineyards, passing through some small villages. Head to the abandoned monastery of San Paio and ascend to the village of A Portela. Take the trail along the gorge, offering fantastic views for two hours, and reach Cristosende, a scenic village where you will spend the night.

  • Walking for the day: 15.5 km, 5-6h ↑500m ↓750m
  • Overnight at La Casa Grande

Day 3: Cristosende to Parada de Sil

Walk down to the gorge and along the river from village to village, enjoying the scenery of cherry trees, chestnuts and vines and through beautiful oak forests. Climb up to Parada de Sil, one of the most lively villages in the area, perfect for enjoying a well-deserved refreshment.

  • Walking for the day: 12.5 km, 5h ↑700m ↓550m
  • Overnight at Casa O Torgal

Day 4: Parada de Sil to Luintra

A spectacular stretch! The route offers many viewpoints over the 400m high gorge, amazing paths running close to the cliffs and through beautiful chestnut forests, to descend to Santa Cristina Monastery, a must-stop place. After that, walk up and pass by small picturesque villages on the edge of the cliffs. In Cerreda, you can have a coffee or beer while you wait for the taxi that will take you to Luintra, where you will stay overnight. If you prefer an easier day, from Santa Cristina walk back to Parada, to complete a pleasant circular walk, and take the taxi to Luintra.

  • Walking for the day: 16.5 km, 6h ↑750m ↓750m (standard option) or 12.2 km, 4-5h ↑500m ↓500m (easier option)
  • Overnight at Caserio de Fontes

Day 5: Luintra to Penalba

After a 5 minutes’ lift, start the walk along a path offering amazing views of  San Estevo Monastery. Walk down and stop there for a visit, to continue through a chestnut forest. Once up and back to the plateau, walk across open areas and meadows, and reach the confluence of the gorges of Sil and Miño rivers. Walk into Penalba enjoying the beautiful vineyards and the delightful views of the river Miño.

Day 6: Penalba to Peroxa

After a short lift (3-4 minutes), start today’s walk at Os Peares. Walk up the secluded and beautiful Bubal gorge. Reach the plateau and walk through meadows and oakland, enjoying a quiet descent into lively Peroxa, from where you can already see Orense.

  • Walking for the day: 13 km, 5h ↑550m ↓200m
  • Overnight at Fazenda Pradio

Day 7: Peroxa to Orense

Descend from Peroxa to the River Miño along a beautiful path, visiting the old castle of Peroxa and some scenic villages along the way. At Barra de Miño you can take the train to Orense (at 11:50h, ticket not included) and arrive on time for some wine and lunch at one of the excellent restaurants there (not included). Of course, if you prefer to walk, you will get to the city after a total of 21 km. Whatever your decision – shorter (advised) or longer day of walking –  enjoy this lovely city!

Day 8: Departure or Onward Travel

Hotels for Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

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On this walking holiday, you will be staying in family-run guesthouses, pensions and small hotels. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour.

Sample hotels: Casa de Caldelas, La Casa Grande, Casa O Torgal, Caserio de Fontes, Remanso dos Patos, Fazenda Pradio, Hotel Zarampallo, Hotel Novo Candido

*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.

Meals

Breakfast is included on 6 days. You can also pre-book a meals pack (highly recommended!) which includes two packed lunches and five dinners (including wine). When no restaurant location is available on route lunches and snacks should either be bought from local shops, or packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before.

Travel for Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

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Our recommended airports for this holiday are Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña.

Please note that flight information can change rapidly, and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner before finalising any booking with us. Please do not book your flights before we have confirmed your booking.

Transfers to/from Airports

Take a train to Orense and then take a bus or taxi to Castro Caldelas. Bus available every day except on Saturdays. Taxi can be pre-booked.


Private Transfers

Airport transfers by public transport are recommended for this trip.

Baggage Transfers

All hotel to hotel luggage transfers on walking days are included (maximum one piece of 20 kg per person).

Country Info

Up-to-date travel advice on Spain is available here.

Detailed travel information and hints will be provided in your holiday information pack.

Trip Info for Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

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Difficulty Grade: Moderate

This holiday is appropriate for seasoned walkers and requires a good level of fitness; average walking time is 5-6 hours per day (read more about difficulty grades).

Route Navigation

The paths are waymarked only in some parts, but the itinerary is easy to follow as the route notes are very accurate and to the point, and the maps are very detailed. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.

When to Go

This trip is available in April, May, June, September, October and early November. Best time to visit is late April and May, as well as late September to mid October.

The flexibility of self-guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates and you can start your trip on any date during the season.

Weather

The climate in Galicia is different from what is normally expected in Spain, in fact it is mild oceanic, with relatively mild and rainy winters, and cool and quite sunny summers. In summer, short heat waves are possible, with highs around or above 30 °C. The Spanish think of Galicia as the rainy region, but that needs to be put into the context of Southern Spain and their 12 month long summers and extreme heat in July and August. The months of May and June are the most picturesque when it comes to scenery, as the hills and meadows are a blend of green and yellow from the daisies and wild broom. On a good day in late spring temperatures can easily reach 25 °C.

What to Bring

We recommend that you travel as light as possible – airlines might charge you an extra fee, and during ground transfers, the place might be limited. Ideally, you should bring one piece of luggage weighing not more than 20 kg (to be checked in) and a daily pack (15 – 20 l rucksack) for your everyday essentials (snacks, drinking water, camera, etc.). Below is a non-exclusive list of what you should bring to this trip. More detailed info will be included in your holiday information pack. If you need further advice, please contact a reputable outdoor retailer or us.

  • Good hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Several t-shirts (cotton or preferably breathable/fast drying)
  • Packable waterproof and windproof jacket with hood
  • Synthetic mid layer or warm fleece
  • Trainers and/or sandals – to relax and wear inside accommodation
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and lip salve
  • Hat/Baseball cap
  • Personal First Aid kit (wet wipes, flu remedies, stomach remedies)

Included for Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

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  • Detailed pre-departure holiday information pack including GPS-checked and regularly updated route descriptions, road notes and maps
  • GPS tracks
  • 7 nights in small hotels and guesthouses
  • 6 breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days
  • 24/7 phone assistance by our local office / representative

Single Room & Solo Traveller Supplements

  • Where individual members of a group require a single room, a single room supplement is applicable.
  • This holiday is available for solo travellers. As costs are not shared, a supplement is payable on the standard trip cost

Please click the CHECK AVAILABILITY button above to see the price of the holiday and the different options, extras and supplements for your desired dates

Other Trip-Related Costs

  • Entrance fees for attractions and museums
  • Optional taxi lifts or train tickets for shorter walks

Excluded

  • Flights and airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as snacks, drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc.
  • Any items not specifically mentioned as ‘included’ in the programme

Extensions and Optional Extras

  • Extra night in Orense after the holiday
  • ‘Meals pack’ (highly recommended!) – add 5 dinners (including wine) and 2 packed lunches

Gallery for Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

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Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia
Average rating:  
 1 reviews
by Tom & Claudia on Ribeira Sacra: The Gorges and Vineyards of Galicia

Our first day of walking, from Castro Caldelas, set the scene perfectly. We descended through golden autumn oak woods, acorns crunching underfoot, before crossing a pretty stream to sunny vineyards. Then a little village and a beautiful ruined monastery in a lovely setting. Later in the afternoon, the first encounter with the gorge, and a final climb to Cristosende. We relaxed with a beer in the garden at Casa Grande, our accommodation for the night, enjoying the stunning views ahead to our route along the gorge the following day.

Each day was a joy. One morning we reached a spectacular viewpoint across the gorge, a sea of mist filling the gorge below us, while we were in bright sunshine. We loved the oak forests, and chestnuts, and pine trees; the old villages; the Romanesque monasteries; and the granite outcrops on the high plateau.

Orense provided a great climax to the walk – a magnificent Roman bridge, superb restaurants, and a beautiful historic centre.

The route descriptions were clear and accurate. Our accommodation was comfortable with a great welcome each night.

We also enjoyed extending our holiday with a night in Santiago de Compostela at either end.


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