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

The Sil Canyon

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 speak of the Canyons of Sil (Canón do Sil).

This is a deep gorge carved by the Sil River near its meeting with another important Galician river, the Miño. A unique landscape that is thrilling to the visitor: canyons more than 500 meters deep adorned with small vineyards on steep slopes that require a heroic effort from the winegrowers.

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

1. Route of the Monasteries

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

Monastery of Santa Cristina of Ribas de Sil

Located in the town of Parada de Sil, it is striking for its inaccessible location. Although we all know that the monks chose the most remote places for their spiritual retreat. The way to get there is still dizzying, but it is undoubtedly an experience for lovers of hiking, who will enjoy lush forests of chestnut trees just a step away from the river Sil.

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

Monastery of Santo Estevo of Ribas de Sil

It is one of the most spectacular Romanesque monasteries in Spain. In its construction different styles were used, ranging from Romanesque to Gothic and Renaissance. Today it has been converted into a Parador and can be visited free of charge. Undoubtedly an obligatory stop 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 ancient enclosure, almost primitive, witness of the first settlements in these lands with a great anthropological value.

2. Viewpoints of the Sil Canyon

Another of the great attractions of the area are its dizzying viewpoints, from which you will get breathtaking panoramic views. We recommend several days if you want to visit them all on the winding secondary roads.

Balcony of Madrid

  • Balcony of Madrid
  • Miradoiro da Columna
  • Viewpoint of Vilouxe
  • As Xariñas de Castro
  • Peña de Matacás Viewpoint
  • Viewpoint of Souto Chao
  • Miradoiro da Cividade


All the journeys of the Camino de Santiago by bike

Wine Tourism: Visit the wineries in the Sil Canyon

Due to its formation, in the canyons we can enjoy a microclimate of Mediterranean type. MediterraneanThanks to it we can find forests of orange trees, holm 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 Designation of Origin Ribeira Sacra which is known as heroic viticulture because of the difficult conditions in which the vineyards are found, ranging from the canyon walls to the river bank. In fact this is the particularity of this wine. And it is that the protection that the river gives to the vineyards favours in a unique way in the world the perfect ripening of the grapes for the elaboration of the wines that already in Roman times were called “Liquid gold of the Sil”.

For the visitor of the canyons it is a luxury to be able to attend the almost hundred wineries that are in the bank of the Sil and the tastings and guided visits and guided tours offered by many of them.

Ribeira Sacra vineyards

Regina Viarum Winery

It is located in the heart of the RibeiraThe wine cellar, in Amandi, offers tours and tastings for children and adults ranging from 6€ per person for a guided tour and a tasting of two wines (11€ with a bottle of Mencía Joven), 10€ where we can enjoy a tasting commented by a local expert in a colloquial and fun way of three of their wines as well as a guided tour of the winery itself, and for 30€ a tasting workshop taught by a professional winemaker to discover the quality of Regina wines in depth.

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 and prices range from 6€ for a visit to the winery and a tasting of two wines, a day of wine tourism walking through the vineyards, as well as an explanation of winemaking for around 15€, and a tasting workshop for 30€ with an expert oenologist.

Vía Romana Winery

Located in a manor house of the sixteenth century and owes its name to a Roman road that linked Astorga, one of the capitals of the French Way with Braga designed to transport the wines of the area. The prices of the visit are 5€ per person for the visit and tasting or 12€ with a free bottle of their young wine.

Ronsel do Sil

It is a small winery rehabilitated of an old wine press, whose philosophy is based on extolling the autochthonous varieties by means of a careful handmade elaboration, in her high quality wines are elaborated inside the D.O Ribeira Sacra. Young wines are made, some of them with very short ageing in French and American oak barrels. The prices of the visits and tastings range from 5€ which would include a guided tour of the winery and the barrel room and a tasting of two wines, for 10€ would include a tasting commented by an expert of three wines.

We also offer visits through the vineyards to enjoy the views of the river and its surroundings as well as the tasting of two wines and the tasting of typical pinchos of the area 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, listed as a Site of Community Importance (SCI) can be seen and toured in two main ways for maximum enjoyment. You can practice hiking visiting the aforementioned viewpoints and buildings or across the river by boat, catamaran and even canoeYou will enjoy the play of light and shadows of the walls with the sun and the water.

The visit by catamaran is an option to get to know the landscape from the river and observe the vineyards, wineries and forests of the gorge and routes are offered for around 15€ per person.

Route of the Catamaran on the Sil river

A great alternative to enjoy the river without giving up physical exercise is to enjoy it by canoe We offer kayak and canoe rentals for single, double and quadruple kayaks and canoes. Prices range from 10 ¤ for one person for 1,5 hours to 60 ¤ for an 8 hour rental for two people

Where to take the Sil River catamaran?

You can take it from these piers:

  • Santo Estevo
  • Doade
  • Abeleda
  • Belesar

To enjoy this area to the fullest there are designed 6 stages 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

Consulta todos nuestros viajes