As Fragas do Eume
At over 9,000 hectares, these woods are pristine–barely anyone lives here.
The Betanzos and Ares upper rías are the ones that run near these invaluable woods and provide it with a year-round temperate climate. The Eume River and some of its tributaries bathe this valley, where waterfalls and cascades abound. Their incessant flow breaks up the silence of the forest, and you will have the opportunity to check them out on some of the marked trails.
If you study the ground, you will be able to make out wolf tracks, though their flighty behaviour in human presence will make it hard for you to actually come into contact with them.
At one of the most spectacular places is the Caaveiro Monastery, which was built in the 12th century to give shelter to the hermits living in the area. There, you will gain a better understanding of the spiritual retreat and absolute tranquillity that these first inhabitants enjoyed. The panoramic views over the river and oak forests are unbeatable.
Nearby, although outside the oak forest, is another architectural gem: the Santa María de Monfero Monastery, which is situated in a small valley through which the Lambre River runs.
Its façade, designed like a chessboard made of granite and slate, will take your breath away, as will the well-preserved sarcophaguses inside the building that were delicately constructed for the Andrade family, which ruled the region for several centuries, eventually becoming one of the most powerful.
Nearby, in the municipality of Aranga, is another one of the area's natural treasures, the Fraga das Barbudas, which is filled with cascades, some of which rise as high as 20 meters, and an impressive array of vegetation.
Foxes, wild boar, goats and roe deer all call this place, through which the Cambás and Mandeo rivers run on their way to the nearby sea, home.
Some of the things you will encounter along your journey include the Barreiros mini electrical plant and the town of O Couce, which is surrounded by meadows and farmland, the classic image of rural Galicia.