Ourense is a cosmopolitan city located in Southeast Galicia with the Miño river running through it. Quiet and welcoming, it is known for its bridges, its cathedral and its thermal springs.
In its old town you can find large squares, small streets and charming buildings. Monuments and shops mix together in the city centre’s pedestrian streets, a symbol of the coexistence between tradition and modernity.
San Martín Cathedral
Without doubt, it is one of the city’s most impressive and significant buildings. On its Western side you can find, at the feet of the building, the gate known as Pórtico del Paraíso, which dates back to the 12th century, inspired by the gate from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela known as Pórtico de la Gloria. Dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours, it is a Romanesque temple built between the 12th and 13th centuries, declared a National Monument in 1931. Next to the cathedral is Plaza do Trigo, a square that hosted a market of grain and cereal in past times.
To the north of the province is the area of Ribeira Sacra, a region that comprises the banks of the rivers Sil and Miño. This land is not only a land of incredible scenic beauty but also gives its name to D.O. wines of the highest quality. If you so wish, you can go to the town of Ribas do Sil and discover one of the best examples of rural Galician Romanesque, the Monastery of Santa Cristina. The steep hills of the area offer a scenic show of great beauty and tourist attraction. The best way to appreciate this show of canyons, hillsides and vineyards is to go on a catamaran ride along the Sil river.
Thermal leisure on the rise
The thermal springs are the main tourist attraction in Ourense. In the city and its surrounding areas there are many thermal springs where you can enjoy a healthy bath, such as Burgas, Outariz or Chavasqueira. The Romans used to use the thermal springs and water fountains that emerge around the city for their health benefits. As well as Las Burgas, a symbol of the city, other famous springs are A Chavasqueira, Muíño das Veigas and Outariz, very close to the city.
Culture and traditions
The town possesses a unique medieval charm and stands out for the beauty of its old town, declared a Historical-Artistic Complex, with traditional narrow cobbled streets and granite buildings, which result in a stunning historical and artistic heritage. Large part of the folklore of the Ourense province comes from its carnivals. The most popular ones are the ones that take place in Laza (47 miles), Verín, (45 miles) and Xinzo (27 miles), the latter being awarded the title of National Tourist Event. Visiting Ourense also allow us to come closer to places of great gastronomic tradition, like Cea, where they make their famous bread and one of Galicia’s most famous ones, with a unique texture and flavour.