Located in the province of Lugo in Galicia, Palas de Rei or Palas de Rey is a small municipality that belongs to the Region of Ulloa, which has approximately 3500 inhabitants and is a few kilometers from the capital city of Lugo.
The origin of its name comes from Pallatium regis, for having been the residence of the Visigoth king Witiza, during the eighth century. This place has a remarkable heritage, as it was one of the preferred places of residence for the Galician nobility.
Today, Palas de Rei has all the facilities necessary for modern life, with a large number of shops, bars and cafes. Here you will be able to observe the local people, enjoy good times and develop the usual tourist activities during your Way to Santiago.
Among the main attractions of the city you will find its main square and the typical Galician Town Hall. Most visitors to this place make a stop for drinks or tapas on the way to or from the city of Lugo, but you must bear in mind that Palas de Rei has an ideal location to explore the beauty and countryside of the province of Lugo, thanks to its forests and rivers.
In this article we will give you some recommendations so that you can make the most of your stop at Palas de Rei on your way to Santiago.
What to see and do in Palas de Rei?
For many the stop in Palas de Rei is a must during the pilgrimage, as this town has shown an important history related to the route, which contributed to its growth. This point is recognized as the beginning of the last stage until the tomb of the apostle Santiago, according to the Codex Calixtino.
Among the attractions you should visit during your stop at Palas de Rei is the Church of Villar de Donas built during the twelfth century, as a monastic temple. The creation of this place is related to the tradition of some women, which are represented in the Gothic paintings of the main chapel. This Catholic temple is closely related to the Order of the Knights of Santiago and the Templars and was considered a Property of Cultural Interest in 1931.
Another important work of the place is the Castle of Pambre, considered one of the best examples of medieval military architecture in Galicia. This spectacular building was one of the few that was not destroyed during the Irmandín revolt, increasing its value.
According to a local legend, the walls of this castle were miraculously built in just one night. However, history tells that the Galician nobleman Gonzalo Ozores de Ulloa built it during the 14th century.
During the 15th century, the castle served as a toll booth in addition to its military purposes, as its location was an unavoidable part of the pass. In 1484, the Castle of Pambre passed into the hands of the Count of Monterrei and later into the hands of the Alba family. After passing through several owners the castle is now open to the public, as it was purchased by the regional government of the Xunta de Galicia in 2011.
An interesting attraction of this land is its excellent cattle which produces the milk with which they make the best cheeses in the country, according to various opinions.
A good time to visit Palas de Rei is at the beginning of summer when A Gran Festa da Xuventude do Camiño is celebrated.
Where to eat?
You will be surprised with the great amount of delicious dishes that you will be able to taste in Palas de Rei. Below we recommend some of the best places to visit.
Restaurant a Paso de Formiga
Decorated with giant ant sculptures, in this place you can get excellent breakfasts, combined dishes and sandwiches. In addition the best wines of the place are offered.
Mesón A Forxa
Here you will be able to taste the typical gastronomy of Galicia in a pleasant atmosphere with stone walls and simple furniture. The visitors of the place affirm that the relation quality/price is excellent.
Mesón de A Brea
In this cozy restaurant you will be able to enjoy a good treatment and services. Try its incredible sandwiches, homemade pizzas, octopus tapas, beers and more.
Where can I sleep?
Palas de Rei is an excellent place to rest and relax. Here you will find plenty of options to stay at a very good price.
This site has 112 places with heating in winter, good bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, bar, restaurant, first aid kit, laundry and public telephone. It will cost you around 6 euros.
Mesón de Benito
For only 10 euros you can enjoy one of its 80 seats with heating in winter and air conditioning in summer. They also offer bathrooms with hot water, dining room, restaurant, computers, supermarket, first-aid kit, laundry room and telephone.
Río Pambre Spa Resort
If you prefer to enjoy even more your stay in Palas de Rei, we recommend you to stay in this spa. It is small, cosy and surrounded by autochthonous forests. Here you can swim in clean water rivers and enjoy a beautiful environment.
How to get to Palas de Rei?
It is important that you consider that Palas de Rei is located 68 km from Santiago de Compostela. To get to Palas de Rei you have to pass by the N-457. If you want to visit Orense you can take the N-540.