Ribeira Sacra: wine and breathtaking views

Ribeira Sacra is enchanting. A green, mysterious and breathtaking region. It’s located between Lugo and Ourense in the mythical interior of Galicia. Those who visit Ribeira Sacra will have double fun: delicious wines and fantastic views.

Ribeira Sacra is known for it’s breathtaking green and deep canyons. The area is crossed by the rivers Miño and Sil who create beautiful sceneries in the landscape. On the vast borders of the canyon winegrapes grow and will be harvested in an heroic way. Ribeira Sacra is an official Spanish wine area, honoured with the title D.O. (Demonicación de Origen). It’s also an area with a beautiful landscape. Although you will not find many tourists in this region. The area is pretty hidden in the inlands and borders the mountainous border of Galicia.

Ribeira Sacra
(image source: http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/roman-vineyards-reopening-eastern-galicia-wine-makers-tasting-ribeira-sacra-guimarovaldeorras-adega-a7790436.html

Ribeira Sacra wines

Probably, the wine are Ribeira Sacra is better known for it’s heroic cultivating than it’s (delicieus) wines.

Ribeira Sacra is not new into wine making. More than two thousand year ago the romans where the first to make wine in this area. When the romans left the wineries were also abandoned, but in the medieval times the monks started this tradition again.

Manual grape picking in Ribeira Sacra at the vineyard of Guimaro
Manual grape picking in Ribeira Sacra at the vineyard of Guimaro

To make wine in Ribeira Sacra nowadays can also be described as ‘monks work’. Not that it’s still done by monks, but it describes the proces, that still is mainly a manual job. The wine area is very hilly and the vineyards are on steep slopes and in deep valleys. The vineyards are that steep that agricultural machines like tractors can’t be used. This makes it a hard job to make wine in Ribeira Sacra, but also a romantic story. You can imagine that this hard way there is not loads of wine that runs out of the area. Therefore you won’t find wines from Ribeira Sacra all around the world. The offer is limited. When you find one, think of this story and enjoy from your wine!

In Ribeira Sacra there are mainly used three type of grape varieties. For red wines the fairly well know grape Mencía is used, and for white wines the grapes Godello and the traditional and famous Galician grape Albariño. These grapes are also used in the other wine regions of Galicia.

Highlights to visit

Ribeira Sacra is beautiful. As said the region is well known for it’s breathtaking views over green and deep canyons. Especially the valley of the Rio Sil is worth visiting. The gorge is some kilometers long en has several view points. You should definitely visit the mirador los balcones de Madrid. You will see why this is the most famous mirador of Ribeira Sacra.

Views of Ribeira Sacra: Mirador los balcones de Madrid
Mirador los balcones de Madrid (source: turismo.gal)

Besides the wine and the views Ribeira Sacra is also known for it’s medieval monasteries. Often well hided in the mysterieus, green forests that characterize the area.
Best know monasterie is the Monasterio Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil. This monasterie dates from the mediavel times, but there are also proofs that was already established in the sixth century. The monasterie is located on a enchanting place, upon a hill near the Rio Sil and surrounded by woods and the canyon. Rooms in the monasterie can be rent and from all rooms you can enjoy beautiful views, see the fog around the forest in the morning and a sunset that set’s Ribeira Sacra in a golden night in the evening.
Another monasterie that’s worth visiting is Monasterio Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil. It is mysteriously hidden in the woods, as in a fairytale.

Monasterio Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil
Monasterio Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil

Visiting a winery is also a must do in Ribeira Sacra. See it for yourself how the winegrowers have to act to grow wine on those steep slopes.

If you’re an active person Ribeira Sacra is there for you as well. The green, hilly region is a fantastic spot for hiking or atb. There are some beautiful and challenging routes at the Rio Sil.

To conclude, it’s gastronomy. Also in this remote area you will encounter the famous Galician kitchen. When at las Rias Baixas and the other coastal areas you will eat seafood. In this inland forested country you will enjoy delicious meat and forest fruits. A typical dish from Ribeira Sacra is Caldo de Osos. May be you are familiar with the famous Caldo Gallego. The version in Ribeira Sacra is made with bones. Very taste, especially during winter. Enjoy your meal! To combine with a delicious glass of red Ribeira Sacra wine.

A video tour

Convinced, or not, about the beauty of Ribeira Sacra? Have a look at the following video highlighting the mythical Ribeira Sacra. O so beautiful!

How do you reach Ribeira Sacra?

It is a long journey, but certainly worth it. Ribeira Sacra is located in the mountainous area between Ourense, Lugo and Ponferrada. Depending on your destination you can reach the first vineyard from these cities in half an hour. Of course you have to travel a little longer for the best pictures. But like so often in Galicia, the journey is just as beautiful as the destination.

Want to know more about Galician wine regions? Read further about las Rias Baixas.

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