The best castles to visit in Lugo: Pambre, Tovar, Doiras, Monforte de Lemos, San Paio de Narla

In the province of Lugo we find several medieval castles and other more modern ones, with a great display of bastions. Here we have 5 examples of the most impressive, in very well chosen places, ideal for immersing yourself in the history and landscape of Lugo.

Pambre Castle (Palas de Rei). It is on a hill next to the Pambre, in Palas de Rei. It is also known as the fortress or the tower of Pambre. Although legend says that it was built by the mouros (beings from Galician mythology that live underground) in one night, the truth is that it was ordered to be built at the end of the 14th century by Gonzalo Ozores de Ulloa, it is thought that neither by mouros nor in one night, but rather quickly. It is one of the few castles that resisted the attack of the irmandiños; As the lord decided to flee, they left the castle alone, which is why it is so well preserved: perfectly medieval and fantastic, imposing among the trees. It has a moat, chapel, wall with four towers and a large keep in the middle. At the end of the 15th century, it passed to the Counts of Monterrei and, from the 16th century, it can be said that its glory days ended. It arrived in the 20th century quite abandoned and, after being donated by the last owner to a charity, it ended up in the hands of the Xunta in 2011. It was rehabilitated and can be visited since 2016.

Pazo de Tovar (Lourenza). Formerly it was known as Torre de Canedo, today it is called Fortaleza or Pazo de Tovar. It is in the parish of San Tomé, in Lourenzá, in the Mariña Lucense. The tower was built in the 16th century on top of the remains of another. The first owners were the Tovars, hence the name. Over time it changed owners and tenants, even several coinciding at the same time. It has two square towers with battlements and two pavilions. It is a good example of Elizabethan Gothic in Galicia. After a time in poor condition, it was rehabilitated, and today it is well used, housing the Pazos de Galicia Cultural Interpretation Center; the Rincón del Juguete (traditional toy museum); the Linen Museum; and even a restaurant: O Forno de Tovar.

Doiras Castle (Cervantes). It is 700 m high, in the Sierra de Os Ancares, overlooking the Cervantes and Doiras rivers. Perched on a hill, like Sleeping Beauty’s castle, it can be seen from far away, with the keep jutting out. It was built in the 15th century, as a defense at the entrance to the Camino de Santiago. Currently, it belongs to the Xosé Soto de Fion Foundation. It is said that the knight Froiaz lived in the castle with his children Egas and Aldara. One day, Aldara simply disappeared and no matter how much they searched for her, they were unable to find her. Some time later, Egas saw a white doe in the forest and hunted it down. Since it was too heavy to carry into the castle, he cut off one of its front legs to illustrate his feat. But, when he arrived with his trophy at the castle, it turned into the hand of a maiden, with a familiar ring… It was Aldara’s hand! They ran next to the deer and there was the sister of Egas, dead and without a hand. It is said that everything happened due to an enchantment made by the mouros. There, with so much mountain, surely there are many…

Monumental complex of San Vicente do Pino (Monforte de Lemos). Such a long title deserves the group formed by the Tower of Homage, the Pazo Condal and the Benedictine Monastery, an authentic symbol of the city of Monforte de Lemos. The tower and the wall, from the 13th century, were rebuilt after the Great Irmandiña War. They are in a great place to have a good panoramic view of the city and the entire Val de Lemos. The Counts of Lemos lived in the Pazo Condal, from the 16th century and later rebuilt due to a fire. As for the monastery, although its origin is from the 10th century, what is preserved is from the 16th. The façade and the cloister are neoclassical. A large part of the pazo and the monastery currently function as a tourist hostel. The church sports a Renaissance portal and a transitional Gothic interior. Here Santa Montserrat and San Blas are celebrated with great devotion.

Castle of San Paio de Narla (Friol). It is in A Castronela, in the parish of Xiá. Although it is from the 13th century, the current building is from the 16th and 17th centuries, after the well-known post-irmandiño reconstruction. The homage tower and a large tower stand out. Today it houses the Ethnographic and History Museum. On the ground floor there is a collection of farm tools, weaving, and more. On the first floor there is a kitchen, a living room and more restored rooms. From the top floor, which has a large Renaissance fireplace, we can access the crenellations and take a walk contemplating the views. The separate chapel is from the 18th century, and contains an image of San Paio from the 19th century.

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