Baixa Limia-Serra do Xurés

Virgin Territory

To enter the Baixa Limia-Serra do Xurés National Park is to enter paradise.  At over 29 000 hectares, it is the biggest national park in Galicia.  

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Baixa Limia-Serra do Xurés

Here, history and tradition round out the many offerings of this virgin territory in south-western Ourense where it seems as if time has stopped.

The national park spreads out from the edges of the Baixa Limia, made up of the municipalities of Entrimo, Lobios and Muiños, which border the National Area of Peneda Gerês in Portugal.  The area widens out northward encompassing the municipalities of Lobeira, Bande, and Calvos de Randín, giving us a wide variety of Galician landscapes,  named a Biosphere Reserve in 2009. Here we will find the lowest glacial cirques on the Peninsula, a granite rock formation which creates large bolos.  There are several different routes to choose from in the area, making it one of the most attractive tourist spots in Galicia.  The great variety of habitats in the surrounding area are home to 76 per cent of known bird species in Galicia.  The park also boasts some beautiful megaliths and interesting examples of traditional architecture.

Leaving Celanova, the main town in the region, we arrive at Bande whose three large waterfalls nestled amongst the greenery are a must-see.  Heading north, we cross Pantano das Conchas, the upper corner of which is home to the Roman ruins of Aguis Querguennis, which remain partially submerged in water.  Guided tours of the site are available.  In the nearby village of Baños, we find the termas Romanas de Bande (Bande Roman Baths), an easily accessible natural space with free parking.  Continuing along the banks of the reservoir, we come to the Santa Comba de Bande church. An example of Visigothic architecture and a National Monument, this church is one of the most interesting attractions of the region. The Xurés park has several lookout points such as Queguas, Rio Agro, barranco de Olelas and Terrachán.  Heading east, we come upon the Lindoso reservoir, which runs from Entrimo to Lobios and into Portugal.  A Escusalla, a group of medieval constructions that was once home to the Holy Office (Santo Oficio), is located a few kilometres north of the reservoir. If you like hiking, the municipality of Lobios and its riverbanks are perfect for you.  Following the river, we arrive at the Salas resevoir, whose waters form a natural border with Portugal. Along the River Vilameá you will find several pools and restored water mills covered by wood, stone, or straw.  Nearby we find the Nuestra Señora del Xurés chapel (Our Lady of Xurés chapel).  The Baroque structure contains several giant granite stones upon which legends have been engraved. 

Lobios contains has one of the highest concentrations of archaeological findings in the province.  If we continue along the road towards the south, we arrive at Baños de Río Caldo (River Caldo Baths) and the Villa Termal.  From here we can set off on foot along the Vía Nova.  Continue along the old Portuguese border Portela do Home, a mountain pass that is a must for experienced hikers. A Corga da Fecha hides one of the tallest and most spectacular waterfalls in Galicia.  The village of Aquis Originis is also nearby, where we can see the remains of the hot water canals, ovens, and rooms of a Roman mansion set along the riverbank.  Towards the north, we find Calvos de Randín and its interesting natural spaces, as well as several beautiful villages. This part of Galicia boasts some excellent culinary offerings. Visitors can enjoy a traditional Galician feast of meat, empanada, chickpeas with tripe, honey, organic cheeses, and extraordinary charcuterie.  Buen viaje!

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