Natural paradises in the province of Ourense

The province of Ourense has a wide range of natural areas. Here are five examples: three natural parks, two protected landscapes and a Ribeira Sacra, all in the same province! Where? Right here:

Ribeira Sacra. 26 municipalities from the south of the province of Lugo and the north of the province of Ourense joined forces to offer us this paradise, surrounded by large rivers, and full of artistic and natural historical heritage. Here the so-called heroic viticulture is practiced, carried out on vertiginous terraces overlooking the Miño and Sil rivers, resulting in first class wines. We find a landscape with incomparable views from viewpoints such as As Penas de Matacás, in Castro Caldelas, or the Balcones de Madrid, in Parada de Sil; piers from which to make catamaran excursions or practice water sports; architectural jewels like the monastery of San Pedro de Rocas, in Esgos, or that of Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil, in Parada de Sil; hiking routes like those that take us by the bidueiral (birch forest) of Montederramo or to foot of river, by the footbridges of the Mao. .. And all close to urban centers of interest, such as Castro Caldelas, with its castle, Manzaneda, or Pereiro de Aguiar, which even has a water park.

Serra da Enciña da Lastra. It is said that a large enciña (holm oak) served as a guide for travelers crossing the mountains in the area of Rubiá, in the northeast of the province. And that is where the name of the mountain range came from. It has been a natural park since 2002, and includes the mountain range and a limestone valley full of ravines, such as O Val do Inferno. The soil, of great geological interest, has a multitude of palas (caves), where many bats nest. Another curiosity is the presence of plant species of Mediterranean type, the same oak, for example, and others, such as oregano or thyme. On the other hand, there are up to 25 different types of orchids. To discover the sierra calmly, we have up to 10 conditioned trails, and even a guide service. There are 9 viewpoints, including Tanque de Covas, in Vilardesilva, or Alta da Escrita, in Biobra.

Val do río Navea. Within the confines of the Ribeira Sacra hides this landscape, protected since 2008, which occupies 691 ha in the region of Trives, within the ZEC of the Macizo Central Ourensán. It is a mountainous valley designed by the river Navea, a tributary of the Bibei on its left, and marked by a particular geology and by the abundance of trees, as we see in the great forest of San Xoán de Río or in the soutos (chestnut groves) typical of the region of Trives. The protagonist of the valley is Ponte Nave, a bridge that joins the municipalities of San Xoán de Río and A Pobra de Trives. It has a pointed arch with a span of 20 m and was built in the Middle Ages on the remains of a Roman bridge, on the way of the famous Via Nova. Nearby there is a Roman milestone, dedicated to the emperors Titus and Domitian, and the remains of the Roman mansio of Nemotóbrica. In the area, thick vegetation, native trees and very old traditional buildings.

Serra do Invernadeiro. This natural park, since 1997, is a destination to disconnect, as it has no human population. It is located south of the Massif Central, in the municipality of Vilariño de Conso, southeast of the province, between the rivers Ribeira Grande and Ribeira Pequena and the mountain ranges of San Mamede, Queixa and O Fial das Corzas. It stands out for its rich biodiversity, with the presence of mammals such as roe deer, deer and wild goats; there are also trout, and a very interesting geomorphology, with soils rich in quartzite and glacial cirques, waterfalls… It has an area of 5,722 ha and has 6 hiking trails.

Baixa Limia-Serra do Xurés. This is the largest natural park in Galicia, with 30,000 ha. It was declared a natural park in 1993. It is in the raia seca and, together with the Peneda-Gerês National Park, forms the core of the Tranfronteiriza Gerês-Xurés Biosphere Reserve. Here the landscape is full of granitic boulders or “cabaleira” stones, of glacial origin. It is a great place for the sighting of golden eagles, golden eagles, roe deer, deer, mountain goats, horses and cows. In order not to miss anything, we have up to 11 hiking trails, which take us through the landscape between rivers, mountains, marshes, alvarizas (walled apiaries)… In Lobios is the interpretation center of the park. There is also Portela de Home, with vestiges of Roman milestones. More Roman traces can be found in Baños, in the architectural complex of the mansio and camp of Aquis Querquennis, visible depending on the flow of the reservoir.

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