Ourense is located in the central/southern and interior part of Galicia in a mountain setting in stark contrast to its coastal areas. It’s a great place to drive to or travel to by train as the journey to through the Galician mountains is a memorable experience in itself. Although like many Spanish cities its outskirts comprise of modern, unattractive developments its medieval core surrounded by the River Mino is exceptional.

Pórtico del Pairiso, Ourense Cathedral
by Victor Hermida @ flickr.com

Crossing the thirteenth-century Ponte Romano (Ponte Vella) by foot is a delightful entrance which eventually leads into the restored and pedestrianised old town, and is one of the finest bridges in the whole of Spain. The Cathedral which dates back to 572 is the second oldest in Galicia and is in Romanesque/Gothic style with extraordinarily well preserved multi-coloured figures inside the main entrance and together with the rest of its interior has great historical and artistic value. In addition the Museo Arqueológico in the Palacio Episcopal is full of Bronze Age and roman artifacts.

Roman Bridge
by Victor Hermida @ flickr.com

Ourense is also famous for its hot springs and thermal waters which you can visit free of charge from As Burgas in the centre to Termas de Outariz. For somewhere to eat try our favourite bar and restaurant , Adega do Emilio.

Ourense is a good base in which to explore the surrounding mountains including the Gorges of the Sil, numerous monasteries and Roman remains/causeways and Monforte de Lemos. Manzaneda near Pobre de Trives is Galicia’s only ski resort and there are also Paradors at Verin and the Monastery of Santo Estevo. No excursion to the Ourense area  is complete without enjoying a river boat cruise up the River Sil to enjoy the amazing  views of the gorge and of the sacred, Roman vineyards. The old cellars of the Ribeira Sacra denomination of the region’s wines are also well worth visiting.

Views of the Ribeira Sacra Entrance
by diegoperez74 @ flickr.com