Galicia and Asturias: Places to Explore

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Ourense

Despite the uninspiring backdrop of Ourense’s new town, Galicia’s third-largest city has bubbling thermal springs and an attractive medieval quarter whose animated streets, tapas bars, and plazas come alive particularly on weekends. A scattering of notable historical monuments includes the colossal arches of the Ponte Vella spanning the River Miño and the 13th-century Cathedral of San Martino. Ourense is a good starting point for exploring the surrounding dramatic landscapes of the Ribeira Sacra (Sacred Riverbank) and Cañon do Sil (Sil River Canyon). This lesser-explored yet picturesque region of interior Galicia is dotted with vineyards, Romanesque churches, and monasteries. Well worth a visit or a short stay is the Parador Estevo, converted from the Benedictine 10th-century Monasterio de Santo Estevo, perched high above the spectacular scenery of the Cañon do Sil.

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