Discovering the rural part of north western Spain, the magic of Lugo
Little is known for many travellers around the world about the North West of Spain apart from the Saint Jacques pilgrimage router, which we recommend everybody to do. But in this post we are going to discover the province of Lugo, in North West Spain, rural places to explore and things to do in it. Lugo is a province located in the autonomous community of Galicia. It has around 355.000 inhabitants in total and it is famous due to is landscapes, rural life and good food. Lugo is also the capital city of the Autonomous Community with around 100.00 inhabitants.
LUGO OFFERS MOUNTAINS AND SEA
Lugo borders in the north with the Cantabric Sea and to the south with the province of Ourense. To the west there are two mountain chains called Serra do O Courel and Serra dos Ancares. Both of them are quite impressive and have high and beautiful mountains. We can also find more to the North of the province the Serra de Meira. The coast of the province of Lugo is characterized by small, charming towns facing the sea. Some of the most popular are Ribadeo and Viviero. These coastal towns are very popular in summertime, where people go there to expend their holidays. The coast of Lugo is around 60km long where there are many estuaries. In the case of Lugo, the leisure offer is diverse, and it combines a tandem between beach and mountains where there are unique natural landscapes. Nonetheless to mention that throughout the province you can enjoy many restaurants that will offer you first class products.
HOW TO GET THERE
Lugo is quite accessible by plane. There are four airports that are relatively nearby. The nearest of them is the airport of Lavacolla in the city of A Coruña (157km from Lugo city). The second nearest airport is the airport of Santiago de Compostela (174km from Lugo city). Vigo also has an airport, and it is around 227 km far from Lugo City. Another near airport is the airport of Asturias, which is located near Oviedo and is the main airport of the Autonomous Community of Asturias, and it is 207 km far away from Lugo city. If you arrive to Madrid by plane, you can get a connection plane to A Coruña. This plane takes around 60 minutes from Madrid to A Coruña and it is one of the fastest services to arrive to Lugo.
Bus and train
The best connections to Lugo are done by bus from Madrid. You can get regular buses services from Madrid to Lugo with the bus company Alsa. They have an everyday service from the Airport of Barajas and a service from Madrid Bus Station. The trip takes around 6 or 7 hours by bus to Lugo city. This bus service is quite popular since many people uses these regular services. Unfortunately, there is only one train per day that offers a connection to Madrid form Lugo. This train usually has a departure in the morning and arrives to Lugo around 5 hours later on. The train prices are slightly higher than the bus. A regular bus return ticket from Madrid to Lugo can cost around 80 euros fixed price. The train can get around 100 euros a return ticket from Madrid to Lugo. Just to say that the bus strip is usually smooth and quite comfortable. Also the train used for this route has some high speed areas where the train can get from 200 to 300 km per hour.
ENJOY RURAL LUGO
All the province of Lugo is characterized by its nature, it's beautiful landscapes and forests. If you like forests, hills and mountains, rivers, and small lakes this is your place. The lunarscape of rural Lugo is one of the most beautiful in Spain. There are many forests of eucalyptus, pine trees, oak trees and various autochthonous trees as well such as birches and yews. The rural part of Lugo is mostly dedicated to farming and there are farmers in all the province. The landscape is very green, and it has different of tones of greens that you can enjoy throughout all the seasons, especially in autumn where the landscape offers a lot of tones of greens and browns. I would recommend visiting the Province of Lugo in autumn, spring and summer, since iti s when you can explore better the landscape and enjoy the routes and the views. While visiting the rural northern Spain you might want to swing by the beautiful Basque Country, bordering the French coast - there you will find the gorgeous city of San Sebastian, where you can stay in a wonderful beachfront apartment hotel in San Sebastian with sea views.
1.SERRA DE MEIRA
Once you get to Lugo we recommend to visit Serra de Meira. Iti s around 34 km from Lugo capital to the North East of the Province. We recommend you visit the village of Meira. It is a village with a population of around 1.800 inhabitants and it is famous for its church. The church of
Meira belonged to a monastery that was founded in the XII century following the Cistern order, originally from France.
The Serra de Meira is a mountainous alienation belonging to the Cantabric mountain range where the river Miño is born. The Miño River is the longest of Galicia and it joins the sea in A Guarda, in the South of Galicia marking the limit of Galicia with Portugal. The highest peak of the mountain is 892 metres high and where you can contemplate all the views.
On the following photos you can see the views from the top of the Serra Meira in summertime. This place is great for walking, enjoying nature, and if you want to do a picnic there that would be great, but is usually windy and it gest colder at nights due to is altitude. We recommend to bring a jacket if you go there. The Serra de Meira has many eolic windmills on top. This part of Spain is characterized for having many of these wind turbines which are used as renewable energy. It is a windy area, so this is an advantage to generate electric power by the electric companies.
Enjoy the nature: if you are lucky you can see some deers around here.
2. CANOÑES DEL RÍO SIL
Cañon literarily means Canyon in English. Cañones is the plural, but what Is a Canyon? A canyon is defined by the dictionary as geographical accident caused by a river that carves a deep fissure of almost vertical walls in soft ground. The canyons (also called gorges or gorges) are linear incisions with a rectilinear tendency and that have a structural character, directed by tectonic upheavals, by decreases in the base level or remontant erosion of the main river. The Cañones of the Rio Sil are located in the South area of the province of Lugo, between its border with Orense. They are quite famous and very popular in summertime among visitors. It Is a bit of challenge to go there and possibly the easier way it is by car from Lugo city or Orense city. There are some companies that organize tours to the Cañones del Sil in summertime. One of these companies is based in Orense and it can be contacted through the web. Between the provinces of Lugo and Ourense, just over two hundred meters high, is the final stretch of the river Sil. On its sides, and along more than thirty-five kilometers there are two walls that in some areas rise up to almost five hundred meters vertically above its waters. These slopes guide the river through wide curves and meanders, which form some of the most magical corners in all of Galicia.
Although after these lines the place may seem inhospitable and unexploited, the reality is very different. This area has been worked since before the arrival of the Romans, although it is true that they were the ones who began to carry out the arduous work of working the vines on the slopes of the Canyon. Hundreds of years later it was hermit monks who, looking for quiet and secluded places that invited prayer, settled on these slopes. This later led to the founding of great monasteries and also to the cultivation of the vine, producing wines of excellent qualities. Wine has always been the main economic engine in the area. You can find all the information about trips and one day trips via several public websites.
which they also offer a boat ride around the canyons on a touristic boat. This ride is quite impressive since the views of the canyons are beautiful and charming. You can also see a remarkably interesting landscape and vineyards are planted on the slopes of the mountains to produce wine. This region is known for producing wine called “Ribeira Sacra”.
Regarding the nature and vegetation, you can find here many and chestnut trees in the cooler and more rugged areas of these valleys since it is an ideal place to thrive among large granite rocks, while species such as cork oaks or strawberry trees grow in quieter and more sheltered areas. This mixture between Atlantic and Mediterranean species in the same territory is a sample of the characteristic microclimate that forms in this valley. On the other hand, there are also appointments of animals such as large birds of prey, exquisite in the choice of their habitats.
This place is known for its rural tourism and beautiful rural hotels.
This casa rural, or rural hotel is ideal to expend a few days looking on the Canyon, enjoying the nature and going for walks. You should as well enjoy the gastronomy of the area with Ribeira Sacra white wine!
From here you can go follow your journey to see the mountains of O Courel and O Cebreiro.
3. MOUNTAINS OF O COUREL AND OS ANCARES
The territory that includes the Os Ancares and O Courel Mountains encompasses natural spaces with different degrees of environmental protection and that must efficiently combine tourist activity with the protection of their natural and cultural values. These mountainous chains are located to the East of the Province and bordering with the provinces of Castilla y Léon.
Sierra dos Ancares
The Sierra de los Ancares, or simply Ancares, is an arc-shaped mountain range located between Galicia, Castilla-León and Asturias. Although it belongs to the Galaico-Leonés Massif, acting as a natural border between Galicia and the Leonese region of El Bierzo, it can also be considered the western end of the Cantabrian mountain chain. It is known that these lands were inhabited a long time ago by Celtic tribes, who took refuge in the mountains fleeing from the push of the Roman legions. Its peaks have altitudes between 1500 and 2000 m and onee of the great signs of identity of Ancares are its impressive valleys, characterized by the exuberant vegetation that colonizes its slopes. Around all these valleys there are many small little villages that are usually located at the top of small hills. We can find here beautiful, hidden and forgotten towns where time and life seem to have stopped many years ago and where they have a traditional and simple way of living life.
You can see here some of the highest points of the Sierra de Os Ancares.
There are many hiking trails in this are that you can check and join. Some of the most popular are:
-Ruta de Piornedo al Mustallar
-Ruta do Milagre
-Ruta de las pallozas.
If you visit this area, we recommend visiting the village of O Cebreiro. It is one of the most popular towns in this area. Although it is only a small village in the municipality of Pedrafita do Cebreiro (just over 1,000 inhabitants), in the Los Ancares region, O Cebreiro is an incalculable heritage of the Camino de Santiago, both medieval and recent. It is the first town on the French Way in Galicia, very attractive for its typical pallozas and its pre-Romanesque church from the 9th century. The foundation of this enclave dates from approximately the year 863, around its inn to accommodate the pilgrims after the tomb of the Apostle was discovered. So this village is located at 1.300 metres hight of altitude. This place an undeniable historical legacy, with traditional pre-Roman dwellings and a church featuring the Miracle of the Eucharist. It is a known stop for the pilgrims that are doing the Camino de Santiago, or San Jacks pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.
Serra de O Courel
With an orography that rises and falls on asymmetrical slopes and extends over more than 20,000 hectares, and vegetation so lively and lush that it seems easy to get lost, the Sierra de O Courel is the prototype of what the visitor imagines they will find in the interior of Galicia. Visiting its small towns and hiking along its multiple routes, it is easy to understand why this area of the Peninsula, in the south of the province of Lugo, is a land of stories, legends and magic. It is known as a land with wild nature and many legends about it are written on the popular Galician literature. Regarding nature, in this area you can find chestnut trees, holly, beech, yew, oak, birch, bears, orchids and regarding animals some of the most common are wild animals such as wolves, eagles, foxes and deers. The Sierra de O Courel is one of the Galician areas where the flora and fauna is more diverse, that’s why its inhabitants assure that in this area we can find all the native Galician species of trees that exist in this region.
You can breathe here the pure air of this land and the fact that it has countless hiking trails among moss-covered bushes will make the visitor travel back in time. In addition, in it there are vestiges of the oldest history of Galicia and of all the cultures that walked through its hills and forests. All this protected by the location of this magical place.
You can visit here The Castro de Vilar, located on top of a spur that flies over the valley with the river Lor at its feet, is one of the largest in all of O Courel, and an example of how far the Celts went to prevent being invaded. This province of Lugo has many places where you can find traces and old settlements from Celtics tribes that were settled in the area in the VI century in pre-roman times.
RURAL HOTEL HOUSES
But maybe many of you will be wondering what the meaning of rural houses is exactly. A rural hotel is an establishment with the same characteristics as a hotel but located in a rural environment, generally in small towns and surrounded by natural spaces. Rural hotels are common in Spain and they are known for preserving the local architecture of their villages or areas where they are located. In this case, in Lugo you will find that rural hotel houses are usually built on stone, since traditional rural houses in villages were built on stones. If you want to stay in a rural house during your say or visiting Lugo, we recommend checking online sites for hotels.
These are some of the places that you can enjoy in rural Lugo and some of the activities that you can enjoy here. If you love nature, you definitely should visit this part of Spain. It is calm, has pure air and nice building and houses.