In its middle course, to the southeast of the province of Lugo, the Miño flows between the mountains in an impressive landscape, in fact the entire Ribeira Sacra is a biosphere reserve, also housing an important historical and ethnographic heritage in terms of the Romanesque churches and vestiges of buildings that we find along the way. Of course, to everything we must add the culture of wine, which designs the slopes of the riverbank with the very particular way of cultivating the vineyards in vertiginous terraces in this area.
All this means that this riverside is perfect for some good excursions. We can contemplate it from above, approaching one of the many viewpoints that exist, whether natural or artificial; go down to the water and take a catamaran ride; go into the mountains following a hiking route; rest in a winery having a wine; Get to know the surrounding towns and cities… Surely we won’t get bored.
From the Belesar piers, in O Saviñao; Maiorga, in Pantón and Os Peares, in Carballedo. we can make some good river routes. Before going on an adventure, we must take into account that we depend on the water level of the reservoirs and the river, which can alter our plans. Under normal conditions, from Belesar, for example, we can take a catamaran to see the vineyards from another perspective, as well as the Romanesque churches and Cabo do Mundo itself, where Mount Navallo curves the pattern of the river in a meander that makes us feel at the end of the earth. From the Pincelo jetty, in Chantada, custom-made routes are made, in zodiac, with complementary services such as country lunch, for example. More personalized routes start from Maiorga, combined with hiking, gastronomy… In short, there is something for all tastes.
Going by land, there are many points of interest on both shores. For example, on the west bank of the Miño, starting from Os Peares, we can visit Chantada, which has a beautiful old quarter, and many Romanesque jewels in the surroundings, such as Santa María de Nogueira or Santa María de Pesqueiras, on the reservoir of Belesar, with wonderful murals from the 16th century. On the west bank is also Taboada, and the churches of San Pedro de Bembibre and San Xoán da Cova, this one moved stone by stone, so as not to end up at the bottom of the reservoir, or the castle of A Peroxa, with the remains of the 8th century fortress, in a fantastic natural viewpoint.
The eastern bank of the Miño is not far behind either. To begin with, here we find, in the municipality of Pantón, the Augacaída waterfall, with a dizzying slope and almost 40 m of waterfall, very close to the Marce castro, which has the remains of a settlement and a fortress, in addition to Clock Tower. We also have to visit the Monastery of Ferreira de Pantón or Las Bernardas, the only one in Galicia that is still in operation and, following the route, the Ethnographic Museum of Arxeriz, where we find out in depth about fluvial culture and traditional viticulture. Also on this shore we find the church of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Miño, a former medieval monastery, and that of San Facundo de Ribas de Miño, founded in the 12th century. And we arrive at Portomarín, a key point on the French road to Santiago, which was largely duplicated in the 1960s when the original was left at the bottom of the river with the construction of the Belesar reservoir.
If we choose to forget about the car and start walking, this is an ideal destination, as there are several trails, some approved and others not, such as: the Miño river route, the Belesar vineyards route, the Loio, the Ribeira Sacra route of the Miño river, the Augacaída-Marce route, and the Aldosende Green Way.
To take home the best postcards of our visit, we must go to one of the viewpoints, which are not scarce, such as Líncora, Cabo do Mundo, Paradela. Taboada, Pesqueiras, Sernande, Terra Branca, from O Faro, from A Peroxa, from Serra de Penas, from A Grixoá, from Penedo do Garabullo, from Pena Cabezuda, from O Cabo do Mundo, from A Buqueira, Cabodevila or Penedo do Bico , Santa Marta, Cabo do Mundo II, Cortes, Alto da Picota-Os Peares and Alto do Coto. What are many? The latter, by the way, inaugurated in 2022, sports a structure elevated 10 m above the ground. Up there, it seems that we are about to take off.
Of course, the experience is not complete if we do not drop by one of the many wineries in the area to taste the juice that this land gives. Many have various resources aimed at tourism, even functioning as rural accommodation houses.