Gargantas de Sil
Below the monastery of San Esteban, the Río Miño flows through a wild and narrow gorge, the Gargantas de Sil.
San Esteban de Ribas de Sil
Leave Orense on C 546, which ascends the beautiful valley of the Río Miño, and in 17km/11mi turn right into a narrow road leading to the abandoned monastery of San Esteban de Ribas de Sil, finely situated on a hill, with a 10th century cemetery chapel, a Gothic church and two beautiful cloisters.
Monasterio de Osera (Oseira)
Leave Orense on N 525, going northwest, and in 20km/12.5mi turn right into a narrow secondary road which runs through the villages of Cea and Coletas and comes to the monastery of Santa María la Real de Osera. This imposing monastery was founded by the Cistercians in the 12th century. From that period dates the plain interior of the church, which has 17th century wall paintings; the rest of the church and the conventual buildings were rebuilt in Baroque style after a fire. The facades of the church and the monastery are particularly ornate examples of Baroque architecture. The finest part of the church is the sacristy, with groin vaulting and fan-like columns (16th C.). There are two cloisters, one of the 18th century and the other of the 16th, with some remains of Romanesque work.
To the Portillo de la Canda
From Orense N 525 runs southeast, heading for Zamora. After crossing the railroad just outside Orense it winds its way up the valley of the Río Barbaña and through an upland region, with large tracts of forest, towards the mountains. 24km/15mi from Orense is Allariz (alt. 470m/1,542ft), capital of Galicia during the Reconquista, which still preserves a 1km/0.75mi long circuit of walls.
Casa de Armoeiro
There are many handsome old mansions in the town, particularly notable being the Casa de Armoeiro, the two parts of which are linked by an arch over the street.
Castillo de Monterrey
4km/2.5mi west of Verín rises the mighty Castillo de Monterrey, a fortress guarding the frontier with Portugal which was later used as a prison and is now a parador. Over the centuries the castle developed into a little fortified town surrounded by three circuits of walls. Within the walls are a 13th century church with a very fine doorway and a beautiful retablo, a Jesuit college, a 13th century pilgrim hospice and the 14th century Torre de las Damas.
Portillo de la Canda
From Verín N 525 follows an up-and-down easterly course through the hills, and finally climbs to the Portillo de la Canda (1262m/4141ft), on the boundary between Galicia (Orense province) and Castile (Zamora province).