Northeast of Ourense, along the Ríos Sil and Miño, unfold the natural beauty and unique cultural heritage of the Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Riverbank), so called for the many medieval monasteries founded here after early Christian hermits and monks were drawn to this remote area. Amid the beautiful and sometimes severe scenery – particularly dramatic along the Cañón do Sil (Sil Canyon) – the area offers good walking and mountain-bike trails, winery visits (Ribeira Sacra is one of Galicia's five wine DOs) and boat trips along the rivers.
The area is poorly served by public transport, but it makes for a marvellous driving trip. A good route is to head from Ourense to Monforte de Lemos via the Mosteiro de San Pedro de Rocas, Mosteiro de Santo Estevo, Parada de Sil and Castro Caldelas. Try to give yourself at least two days to make the most of what the area has to offer.