When to go
You decide the date of this self-guided trip.
Recommended period: April to October
Number of participants:
min. 1 person
Price: for an 8-days trip
Option A: Accommodation in hotels
price for double room per person: 395,- €
supplement for single room: 150,- €
Option B: Accommodation in hotels and summer cottages
2 people: per person 475,- €
3 people: per person 385,- €
4 people: per person 315,- €
5 people: per person 295,- €
6 people: per person 255,- €
Easy to middle. For each base, we will provide you with different, optional hiking suggestions with different levels. It is possible to cut short or lengthen many hikes. The walks mostly follow marked hiking trails or footpaths. All altitudes given are for one hike's total altitude gain.
• Option A: 7 x nights with double room and breakfast at beautiful country houses or good hotels. / Option B: 2 x nights with double room and breakfast and 5 x nights without breakfast in a tradional Galician palloza and in a summer cottage, both with bathroom and kitchen. (see: accommodation) We have visted all accommodations in person.
• Comprehensive Knulps Reisen info package with an individual, versatile travel plan for the desired date
• Detailed maps and route descriptions with translated information panels about the walks
• Insider tips on sights, good restaurants and bars, picnic areas, etc.
• Maps of accommodations and maps of the regions
• phone number at which we can be reached every day round the clock
• On request, you will receive detailed GPS routes to hiking trails and scenic roads.
• flight to/from Galicia
• rental car
• lunch, dinner
Your daily itinerary is very flexible. Feel free to modify it from day to day as much as you like: leave out hikes or exchange them for others, reorganize day's itineraries, etc. All that has been prearranged are the four standard hotels.
Would you like to have this trip longer or shorter? With more, or maybe less standard hotels? Please don't hesitate to contact us.
You stay at a good three-star hotel in Lugo, in a charming mountain hotel, and in an idyllically situated coutry house.
If you would like to be alone:
In the Ancares mountains, you stay at a traditional, thatched round house, a so-called "palloza" with modern facilities (3 double rooms, bath room and kitchen). In the Courel mountains,you stay at a typical charming summer cottage built with slate and wood.
For this trip you need a rental car, which you can hire, e.g. from Santiago de Compostela airport with AVIS, ATESA, EUROPCAR or HERTZ. We'll be happy to help you choosing the right car for you. www.skyscanner.com gives a good overview of cheap offers.
Good to know
This trip is one of our specially crafted, unique journeys off the beaten track. The regions are only minimally adjusted to tourism, there are only a few refreshment and shopping locations and not every trail is signposted.
In the Ancares mountains, there are no supermarkets or shops. Only once a week, a mini-van with food chugs from village to village. In the Courel mountains, there are two villages with small grocery stores. In the Ancares mountains, there are no gas stations, in the Courel mountains there are just a few.
Ideally, you speak and understand a few words of Spanish and are not afraid to use them. The Galicians are extremely hospitable and helpful, but rarely speak foreign languages.
Enjoy the deep remoteness of the green Galician mountains, a starry sky and the serenity of nature. Wander through impressive forests with ancient chestnut trees full of character, and traditional mountain villages with historic round houses. Stay in cozy country houses, in which stone and wood harmonize.
At the gates of the mountain regions, lies the historic town of Lugo with its countless wine bars and taverns. Here, you stay the first day of your travel. The next six days you spend in the Ancares and Courel mountains. Finally, you visit the Ribeira Sacra wine region with its lovely terraced vineyards.
Individual arrival to Galicia and drive to Lugo. The former Roman city is famous for its preserved Roman city walls, which are completely walkable (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Lugo is especially known for its superb wine bars in the quaint alleys of the old town, where the wine is served cheerfully in the evenings. You stay at a three star hotel in the historic center of Lugo. (travel time to Lugo 100km, 1h15min)
Winding country roads lead into the secluded Ancares mountains. In a mountainous region, where a distance of 25km air line is equal to 50km by car, life slows down automatically. Peace and serenity surround the villages, and in the forests live rare animals such as mountain cats, wood grouses, brown bears, and wolves. Your walks will take you from the bottom of the Ancares valleys up to 2000m high summits. The architecture in the Ancares is unique and dates back to the Celts: Traditional round houses with thatched roofs were used until the late 1970s as a shared home for humans and animals, the so-called "pallozas".
On your journey to the mountain village Piornedo (1,100 m above sea level), you stop at the information center of Degrada, where you learn all sorts of interesting facts about the Ancares. From here, you hike to a three-peaked summit "the three bishops", "Os tres Obispos", one of the most prominent mountain peaks of the Ancares. Then you proceed by car to Piornedo and check in at your mountain hotel or at a "palloza". (hiking distance: 16 km, total altitude gain: 700m, time: 5 hours)
It almost seems as you are going through a museum village, but the mountain village Piornedo is inhabited. While you tour the village you will discover the traditional thatched round houses that characterize the village's architecture. You can visit two of these pallozas for a donation of one euro. Then you walk up to the second highest summit of the Ancares mountains, the Mustallar summit (1860m). The cheerful village dogs, that like to guide hikers to the summit, may accompany you on your hike. With a little luck, you will discover the local mountain goats, wild mouflons, clambering on the rocks. (hiking distance: 12km, total altitude gain: 750m, time: ca.4h)
While you went up high for the last days, today you embark on a journey into the past. You descend to the quaint hamlets of Donís and Xantes. The village church of Donís appears tiny in front of the 1,300 m high mountain slope. Through ancient chestnut forests, you eventually climb up to Vilarello, a remote village that is known for its round huts that are being lovingly restored in the traditional style. On the path by the mills, you get back to Piornedo. Enjoy the sunset in front of the endless panorama of mountains. (distance hike: 10/14km, total altitude gain: 450/960m, ca.3/5h)
Drive from Piornedo to the forested Courel mountains. Behind the bustling pilgrimage village of O Cebreiro you dive into the infinite silence of the Courel mountains. A thousand greens of the autochthonous forests and an incredible diversity of flora and fauna inspire not only botanists, but each nature lover, and solitude-seeking hikers. The charmingly moss draped forests nourish mystical stories and legends. You may even find the sword Excalibur that, according to the legends of the residents, is hidden somewhere in the woods.
On the damp northern slopes of the Courel mountains, indigenous forests have survived the centuries. These Galician "jungles" are called “devesas”. From the sleepy hamlet of Moreda, a footpath leads you deep into the enchanted Rogueira Forest. The Devesa da Rogueira was distinguished by the WWF as one of the best preserved forests of Spain.You stay at a cozy cottage in the midst of the Courel mountains (overnight stay at almost 900m above sealevel). (hiking distance: 11.5/18km, total altitude gain: 500/1050m, time: 4 or 6h)
What sounds like the name of a magician, is the name of a mountain village. Mercurín is surrounded by a centuries-old chestnut grove full of thick trunks with furrowed faces full of character. The Courel chestnuts are widely known in Spain for their sweet taste. Before the arrival of the potato, the chestnut was the main staple food in the Courel mountains. The remnants of this time are several "sequeiros", stone huts, where the chestnuts are still dried over fire. After the chestnut production was basically non-existent for decades, two young companies devote themselves to producing all kinds of delicacies made from chestnuts, that can be bought on site. Absolutely organic and delicious! (distance: 15km, total altitude gain: 700m, time: 4h)
We exchange the green of the forests for the green of vine leaves. The terraced vineyards seem to rise infinitely to the sky. The wind whispers through the leaves. Far below you see the Miño River, which intices you to take a swim at a natural sandy cove. The vines produce excellent white and red wines from Mencía and Godello grapes, that can be tasted in the wine bars of the charming city of Chantada. You will stay at a cozy cottage in the vineyards of the Miño Gorge. (hiking distance: 9.5km, total altitude gain: 460m, time: ca. 3h)
Return to city life or extend your stay, for example, in the four major Galician wine regions on our trip "Hiking and Wine."