Natural paradises in the province of Lugo

In addition to other protected areas, the province of Lugo has three biosphere reserves, one of which is the largest in Galicia. This is already a symptom of paradise? Will we find it in the mountains, walking along the banks of a river, in green valleys… Here are five natural paradises:

Ancares lucenses. To the east of the province extends the mountain range of Os Ancares, which also has part in León. The municipalities of the region are Baralla, As Nogais, Pedrafita do Cebreiro, Becerreá, Navia de Suarna and Cervantes. These last three have been part of the Biosphere Reserve of Os Ancares and the mountains of Cervantes, Navia de Suarna and Becerreá since 2006.

The mountain range runs along the upper course of the Navia River, into which hundreds of streams and rivers pour their waters. The intimacy enjoyed by this space hidden in the mountains has ensured its preservation as a stronghold of the most authentic of the area, full of native flora and fauna, centuries-old customs, traditional buildings still standing… O Cebreiro is also the entrance to the French Way.

In these valleys and mountains, which change color every season, there are not only many Atlantic and even Mediterranean forests, but also prehistoric remains, forts, mining sites from the Roman period… Of course, the most singular constructions are the pallozas of Piornedo. To learn more about the culture of the area, we can visit the Ethnographic Group of Cervantes, with a palloza museum.

The highest peak of Os Ancares lucenses, and of the whole province, is O Mustallar, 1,935 m, which serves as a border with the province of León. Although we do not climb so high, there are high viewpoints, such as As Nogais, at 650 m, with stunning views over the Torre de Doncos.

O Courel. We continue in the high mountains in this mountain range in the southeast of the province, between valleys and rivers such as the Lor, the most important. The protected area covers most of the mountain range, in the counties of Folgoso do Courel, where the Aula de la Naturaleza de Moreda is located, and Seoane.

Here we find peaks of up to 1,500 m, thick vegetation, with forests of Atlantic and Mediterranean type and the characteristic devesas, forests of many species, usually located at the headwaters of rivers, such as the Devesa da Rogueira. There are also forts (Torre, Vilar…); Roman settlements related to mining (Esperante, Seoane); medieval buildings, such as the monastery church of Visuña, where Alfonso II spent his childhood; ethnographic elements (alvarizas, ferrerías…). On the other hand, it is remarkable the geological importance of O Courel, where caves abound, and where we have a geological monument: the Campodela-Leixazós folding.

Terras de Burón e río Eo. This area includes the 3 municipalities of Terras de Burón (A Fonsagrada, Ribeira de Piquín and Negueira de Muñiz), and 4 of the Eo area (Ribadeo, Trabada, A Pontenova, Baleira). Together with 7 Asturian municipalities, they form the Biosphere Reserve Río Eo, Oscos and Terras de Burón.

The truth is that the landscape is very complete, with Cantabrian coastline, river beds, the estuary and mouth of the Eo and mountains and mountains. In addition to the many trails that we have at our disposal here, there are two routes of the Way of Saint James: the Route of the coast and the Primitive Way, and others such as the Eo River Railway, a greenway that leaves A Pontenova and ends in San Tirso de Abres, in Asturias. The historical heritage is no less important, with many dolmen, castro, religious and civil architecture, and large urban centers such as Ribadeo.

Terras do Miño. This area, biosphere reserve since 2002, the largest in Galicia, covers the upper and part of the lower basin of the Miño river, and the surrounding lands, very varied, with cultivated areas, flat areas with wetlands, such as Lagoa de Cospeito, and mountain wetlands as well, such as the peat bogs of the Serra do Xistral, important forest masses… It includes 26 municipalities: Ourol (Mariña Occidental); Alfoz, O Valadouro, Mondoñedo (Mariña Central); Abadín, A Pastoriza, Begonte, Castro de Rei, Cospeito, Guitiriz, Muras, Vilalba, Xermade (Terra Chá); Meira, Pol, Riotorto (Meira); Castroverde, Friol, Guntín, Lugo, O Corgo, Outeiro de Rei, Rábade, (Lugo); Baralla (Os Ancares); Láncara, O Páramo (Sarria).

The Northern Way and the Primitive Way go through the reserve, so the artistic footprint is still present, with many examples in the capital or in places like Meira, founded around the medieval monastery of Santa María.

Ribeira Sacra do Miño. To the southeast of the province, the Miño travels in a different way, between bends flanked by high mountains. The conditions of this area make it ideal for the cultivation of vines. Of course, with the courage required for heroic viticulture. On these slopes are born the wines of D. O. Ribeira Sacra. The Ribeira Sacra, with its capital in Monforte de Lemos, has a part too in the province of Ourense, since the river forms the border between the two provinces. In the part of Lugo, it comprises the eastern bank of the Miño and the two of the river Cabe, and are part of it the municipalities of: Paradela O Saviñao, Pantón, Sober, Monforte de Lemos, A Pobra do Brollón, Bóveda, Carballedo, Chantada, Paradela, Portomarín, Quiroga, Ribas de Sil and Taboada.

Here the natural wealth is shared, which must be admired from the inside, either by catamaran or by hiking routes among the trees; and the human footprint, reflected in the vineyards and wineries, in the forts, in the number of Romanesque churches and monasteries, such as Santo Estevo de Ribas do Miño, and in urban centers with a lot of history, such as Monforte de Lemos.

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