Welcome to Ourense
This is a land located in the northwest in the map of Spain, and of notable orography but not of impossibly high mountains, which means that you will find much life in them. It is one of Galicia's richest provinces in terms of its nature, conserving in its area many natural reserves such as Allariz, a Protected Biosphere, which make of it an ideal place for rural tourism in Orense.
Thanks to its oceanic climate, the temperatures here are mild during most of the year, and so are the levels of rain, and Galician the regional language spoken here.
You will find here lots of natural reserves in each corner of it territory, embraced by the banks of the river Miño and its many neighbouring, smaller rivers. You will be able to walk through several mountain paths crossing the area of Cañones del Sil, and with it the vineyards that provide this region with wines of international reputation and excellent quality. Hiking in the natural reserve of Sierra de Enciña das Lastra, or in the area of Soto de Rozabales is a must if you come here, as it also is finishing your expedition with some wine and delicious Pote.
Apart from the cultural heritage latent in each town and village of this province such as the case of Ribadavia, one of the most popular ones, or the capital where you can visit its ancient Roman bridge, or its monumental cathedral, built in a medley of architectural styles such as Gothic, Renaissance and Neoclassical.
Explore the region
Orense is a province that you must visit at once in your life, and stay here long enough so that you will be able can enjoy of your stay and of all the things it has to offer, to the fullest.
It is located in the south of Galicia, and the geography of its territory will allow you to enjoy of the vast amounts of nature you will find here. Its people, its beautiful landscapes and the unquestionable exquisiteness of the local gastronomy make Orense one of the best options for your next holidays.
It also has a very rich historical and artistic heritage, that will help you find the traces of Spain's history and of the different cultures and civilizations that lived here centuries ago, and are very much present in the capital, as well as in many of the villages, full of magic, around the region.
You will see that time here seems to stop, to make sure you have the best time and the best holidays.
About the region
There are many reasons to stay in Orense since the green of the landscapes will accompany some of the most emblematic natural sights of the province.
You will see here the territory is very rough, as it is one of Galicia's most variable regions, geographically speaking. Faro de Avión, and the mountains of Sierra de Suído are two of the highest mountains here, reaching up to 1,000 m height. Amongst the most important rivers here are the Miño, and the river Sil, whose mouths are very close to Lugo.
It is also neighbours with Portugal, a country from which it has borrowed some of its customs, and adapted them.
You need to take into account that you will find here continental climate, just like in the rest of Galicia, which means mild temperatures, but with constant raining during the whole year.
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Where to sleep
If you are coming to Orense and would like to enjoy of the touristic opportunities that this region can offer, you have plenty of places to choose from. There is the more urban option, for those visitors who would prefer to stay near the city centre, but which needs to be booked in advance since the capital runs out of accommodation very quickly.
Nevertheless, there is also much to see away from the city, which is the reason why we suggest enjoying of the rural tourism in this province, which will offer you some of the most incredible landscapes like Allariz and its historic and artistic heritage, and a medieval character that makes it a unique place.
Another must that will also help you find some peace and quiet, with some of the greatest views, is Ribadavia, Galicia's capital of the province a long time ago and where many different cultures were met, as the old jewish quartier shows.
In Parada del Sil you will find also some of the best views in the province with the vast, green oasis of the woods that surround the area and will help you free your spirit.
What to do
Orense's beauty will leave you speechless, because it is one of the provinces with the greatest and largest historical heritage of Spain that will take you to the country's past.
You mustn't forget to visit Casco Vello at the very center of the capital and where you will find some of the most representative sights of the city, such as the Plaza Mayor, or the cathedral.
Since this is a region with many water springs, you can't forget either to check them out. The termal baths of Termas de A Chavasqueira are the perfect place to relax and enjoy of the magic properties of its waters.
Fo those who would like to combine culture and nature, we recommend visiting Bosque Merilán, as it hides a true natural treasure: the monastery of Santa Cristina, one of the most beautiful and magical spots in the Ribera Sacra.
The Pasarelas del Mao and Cañón del Sil are not for the light-hearted, but we strongly recommend visiting them if you can, especially if you feel like embarking on a true adventure.
What to eat
Eating in Orense means being able to enjoy of a unique gastronomical experience, filled with contrasts and flavours that will allow you to try the true essence of this land.
You will find here many local products that are treated with great care to be later served to you as part of the most exquisite dishes.
One of the most popular and world-renown ones is 'pulpo' (octopus), which has been collected from the sea to stay as one of the most typical dishes of this province. Together with 'pulpo', lamprey and eels caught in the river Miño are, together with the local meat, the main chapter of Orense's recipe book.
As for the traditional desserts from this region, 'bica' and 'almendrados' are the main examples of it.
You can conclude this gastronomic journey with any of the PDO Ribeiro wines.
Celebrating special occasions is an important part of Orense's character that you should get to know too, where culture, tradition and folklore come hand in hand to show visitors its deep-rooted customs and tradition.
One of the important dates that you should write down are the carnivals, one of the best ways of getting to know the local colour of its people, where the streets are filled with music, street bands and music in many places. Gastronomy plays also an important part of it, as the streets are also filled with small food stands where you can grab a bite of the most traditional dishes.
Another important festivity is the Fiesta da Androlla in Viana do Bolo, where gastronomy is also the protagonist.
Finally, the Fiesta do Boi in Allariz, and Fiesta da Istoria, declared of National Tourist Interest, in Ribadavia, are two of the main ones.