Monforte de Lemos is the capital of the well-known Ribeira Sacra, a town with an important historical legacy and great natural wealth. Thanks to its location as the only town in the centre of the Ribeira Sacra, it is the best place to get to know the whole area in all its splendour. It also offers interesting monuments and museums for a good dose of cultural tourism during your stay. It is a place to enjoy the tradition and let yourself be carried away by the natural and gastronomic richness, one of the most interesting villages in this area of Galicia.
What to see and do in Monforte de Lemos
The canyon and the banks of the Sil River
The canyon of the Sil is one of the outstanding elements of the Ribeira del Sil. It presents a striking shape, with a set of great beauty formed by rocks and clear waters. With impressive slopes that were worked since the most ancient civilizations and that continue being sustenance for many of the inhabitants of the zone at the present time. It provides an exquisite postcard that no traveler should miss, an excellent example of the majesty of nature.
The Monastery of San Vicente del Pino
In the heart of Monforte de Lemos and located on the top of a hill is the Monastery of San Vicente del Pino. It is one of the emblems of this city and represents a historical legacy of great notoriety. It was initially built by the Benedictines in the tenth century, although today you can see the final construction dating from the sixteenth century. It is of an elegant neoclassical style and shows the image of the patron saint of Monforte de Lemos inside, Our Lady of Montserrat. The monastic complex is used today as a Parador de turismo.
The Ribeiras del Miño
The slopes of the river Miño are dedicated to the cultivation of vines, a task that is characteristic of this area and the hallmark of Monforte de Lemos. In the Ribeiras del Miño you can see a landscape of spectacular beauty with surprising shapes, forests and vineyards. At water level you can see ancient villages that were built stone by stone carrying the materials for its construction, a historical curiosity that coexists with the purest nature in this corner of unparalleled lushness.
The Condal Palace
Next to the Monastery of San Vicente del Pino and the Torre del Homenaje you can find the Palacio Condal, an incredible construction from the 16th century. The building suffered a major fire and had to be rebuilt a century later, but retains an element of the original palace: the front. Above it is the coat of arms of the Counts of Lemos with a coat of arms of the House of Castro and the House of Osorio. It is part of the facilities of the Parador Nacional de Turismo de Monforte de Lemos, as is the case with the monastery.
The Tower of Homage
It is inevitable to notice the aforementioned Torre del Homenaje (Homage Tower) if you visit any of the previous historical buildings. In fact, its existence cannot be understood without the other elements, as it is the only original construction that remains of the Castle of San Vicente, the home of the Counts of Lemos. This part of the building had the noble mission of sheltering the family from the attack of the enemies and, in times of peace, it was used to celebrate the Ceremonies of Homage from which it takes its name. It was erected between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries with an impressive 30 meters high.
In Monte Faro you can find a hermitage and a recreational area to enjoy an authentic day of connection with nature. The views allow panoramic views of the four provinces of Galicia, an undoubtedly privileged situation. On the slopes there are wooded formations of local character and along the Monte Faro there are also beautiful oak groves.
The Convent of Santa Clara
This convent is in an enviable situation, located next to the Clave river and next to the Old Bridge. Inside you can contemplate one of the most outstanding museums of sacred art in the whole country. The building was founded by the Countess of Lemos in the 17th century and was inhabited from the beginning by the Poor Clare nuns. The Sacred Museum is located in the part that originally corresponded to the hospital and can be accessed by guided tours.
The wines of the Ribeira Sacra
It would be unthinkable to pass through this area without tasting the traditional and famous wines of Ribeira Sacra, with Denomination of Origin since 1996. Most of the vineyards that produce this exceptional drink are located on the slopes of the Ribeira Sacra and form a beautiful landscape. You can easily visit them and even go to the family wineries in the area to learn a little more about this tradition. Thanks to the viewpoints located in the most strategic places you can contemplate the views of the vineyards in its fullness.