“The Sil Cayon, If there is a place to see, to feel the passage of time, to hear the silence, to smell the purest nature or to taste the delicacy of the vine, that is Ribeira Sacra: Where the senses are born”.

Naturaleza en Cañon del Sil

What to see and do in the Sil Canyon

In this article you are about to discover one of the most impressive landscapes not only of Galicia, but we would dare to say of all Spain, we are talking about the Sil Canyons (Canón do Sil)

This is a deep gorge dug by the River Sil near its meeting with another important Galician river, the Miño. A unique landscape that is astonishing to the visitor: canyons more than 500 metres deep adorned with small vineyards on steep slopes that require heroic efforts from the wine growers.

It is also a land of monasteries, which gave it the name of Ribeira Sacra. It was the birthplace of the legendary Amandi wine, so appreciated by the Romans that they considered it the true “Gold of the Sil” and which the Benedictine monks would later produce exclusively for the cellars of the refined ecclesiastical officials.

1. ROUTE OF THE MONASTERIES IN THE SIL CANYON

More than 30 monasteries were built in this area during the Middle Ages, of which a total of eight remain standing. All of them are mostly located in the vicinity of the Sil Canyon.

Monastery of Santa Cristina de Ribas de Sil

It is located in the town of Parada de Sil, and it is very attractive due to its inaccessible location. Although we all know that the monks chose the most remote places for their spiritual retreat. The path to get there is still dizzying, but it is certainly an experience for hikers, who will enjoy the lush chestnut forests a stone’s throw from the river Sil.

The route to the Monastery of Santa Cristina from Parada de Sil is perfectly signposted. We leave you the link here.

Monastery of Santo Estevo de Ribas de Sil

It is one of the most spectacular Romanesque monasteries in Spain. Different styles were used in its construction, ranging from Romanesque to Gothic and Renaissance. Today it has been converted into a Parador and can be visited free of charge. Without a doubt a must in the Ribeira Sacra.

Monastery of San Pedro de Rocas.

If you start your visit to the Sil Canyon from Ourense, we recommend an express visit to this small but peculiar monastery carved into the rock. It is a very old, almost primitive enclosure, witness to the first settlements in these lands with great anthropological value.

2. VIEWPOINTS IN THE SIL CANYON

Mejores miradores en el Cañon del Sil

Another of the great attractions of the area are its vertiginous viewpoints, from which you will obtain impressive panoramic views. We recommend you to have several days if you want to visit all of them by the winding secondary roads.

  • Balcony of Madrid

    Miradoiro da Columna

    Miradoiro de Vilouxe

    As Xariñas de Castro

    Peña de Matacás Viewpoint

    Viewpoint of Souto Chao

    View of the City

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Wine tourism: Visit the wineries in the Sil Canyon

Due to its formation, in the canyons we can enjoy a microclimate of Mediterranean type, very different from the climate that surrounds it, and that thanks to it we find forests of orange trees, oaks and olive trees that are more typical of the south of the peninsula.

If you decide to go deep into the Ribeira Sacra, you will find vineyards such as those of the Ribeira Sacra Designation of Origin, which is known as heroic viticulture due to the difficult conditions in which the vineyards are found, which range from the canyon walls to the river bank. In fact this is the particularity of this wine. The protection that the river gives to the vineyards favours in a unique way the perfect ripening of the grapes for the production of the wines that were already called “Oro líquido del Sil” in Roman times.

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For the visitor to the canyons, it is a luxury to be able to attend the almost one hundred wineries that are located on the banks of the river Sil and the tastings and guided tours that many of them offer.

Bodegas en el Cañon del Sil

Regina Viarum Winery

It is located in the heart of the Ribeira, in Amandi, and offers visits and tastings for children and adults that range from 6 euros per person for the guided tour and a tasting of two wines (11 euros with a bottle of Young Mencia), 10 euros in which we can enjoy a tasting commented by a local expert in a colloquial and fun way of three of its wines as well as the guided tour of the winery itself, and for 30 euros we offer a tasting workshop given by a professional oenologist to discover in depth the quality of Regina wines.

Abadía Da Cova Winery

It was founded in 1958 and is located on the slopes of the Miño River in a spectacular meander known as “O Cabo do Mundo”, specialising in the Mencía and Albariño varieties. Prices start at 6 euros for a visit to the winery and the tasting of two wines, a day of wine tourism walking through the vineyards, as well as an explanation of the winemaking process, which costs around 15 euros, and a tasting workshop for 30 euros by an expert oenologist.

Vía Romana Winery

It is located in a 16th century manor house and owes its name to a Roman road that linked Astorga with Braga, designed to transport the wines of the area. The prices of the visit are 5 euros per person for the visit and tasting or 12 euros as a gift of a bottle of their young wine.

Ronsel do Sil

It is a small winery rehabilitated from an old winepress, whose philosophy is based on praising the native varieties through a careful handcrafted production. It produces high quality wines within the D.O. Ribeira Sacra. Young wines are produced, some of them with very brief ageing in French and American oak barrels. The prices of the visits and tastings range from 5 euros which would include a guided tour of the winery and the barrel room and a tasting of two wines, for 10 euros would include a tasting commented by an expert of three wines.

Visits to the vineyards are also offered in order to enjoy the views of the river and its surroundings to the full, as well as the tasting of two wines and the tasting of typical local pinchos and a tasting workshop that would allow the participants to know everything they need to feel the wines in a unique and special way.

Visit the Sil Canyon in Catamaran

The canyon, classified as a place of community importance (SCI), can be seen and traversed in two main ways for maximum enjoyment. You can go hiking visiting the mentioned viewpoints and buildings or across the river by boat, catamaran and even canoe, which will make you enjoy the play of light and shadow on the walls with the sun and the water.

The visit in catamaran is an option to know the landscape from the river and to observe the vineyards and cellars and forests of the gorge and routes are offered that are around 15 ? per person.

A great alternative to enjoy the river without stopping the physical exercise is to enjoy it in a canoe for which they offer kayaks and canoes rentals both single, double and quadruple. Prices range from 10 ? for one person for 1.5 hours to 60 ? for a rental of 8 hours for two people

Visita Cañon del Sil en catamarán

Where to take the catamaran on the River Sil?

You can take it from these piers:

  • Santo Estevo

    Doade

    Abeleda

    Belesar

In order to enjoy this area to the full, there are 6 stages designed to visit and get to know all the most remarkable corners and landscapes.

The stages are divided into: Belesar – A Maiorga – Os Peares – Alberguería – Para de Sil – A Fábrica da Luz – Castro Caldelas

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