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  • Writer's pictureFogar Mozárabe

Visiting El Bierzo in three days

El Bierzo is a region that is a world in itself. The more you get to know it, the more difficult it is to summarize the must-sees for a first visit. Even so, today we are going to try, starting from your stay in Peñalba de Santiago. This is how we imagine a trip to make the most of it.

Day 1 - Ancient Ponferrada: stories of Templars and pilgrims

After a good breakfast in the corridor of Casa Elba, we take the car to go to the capital of El Bierzo. In Ponferrada it is mandatory to start the visit to the old town in its monumental Castle of the Templars. Would you like a guided tour? We recommend Guías Bierzo.

After strolling through the historic Clock Tower, the Plaza de la Encina and the Town Hall, it's time to stop and recharge your batteries. Here are some great options for different budgets:

  • Restaurante Muna (€€€): right in front of the castle, is the Michelin star of El Bierzo, a truly luxurious option with the best products of our land.

  • Restaurante La Central (€€): a perfect option to visit La Fábrica de la Luz, a museum where coal is the protagonist of the recent past of the region.

  • La Moncloa de San Lázaro (€): in the town of Cacabelos, La Moncloa is an iconic restaurant and hotel to taste the best flavors of El Bierzo.

  • El Bodegón (€): a true Ponferrada classic, famous for its mussels and patatas bravas, authentic and highly recommended!

To continue the day, nothing better than to go to Villafranca del Bierzo or Molinaseca. They are two medieval villages crossed by the French Way, where you will find hundreds of pilgrims, taverns and bars to enjoy. If you travel in summer, they also have bathing areas perfect to escape the heat.

To end the day, you can stop back to discover the magical Templar nights of Ponferrada. Here are two recommendations:

  • Coherencia Eco-Bar: hidden in the old town, you can't leave without trying their 100% craft beers.

  • La Obrera: one of the most original corners of the old town and a space full of options to enjoy: cocktails, tapas, snack dinners, live music and much more.

Day 2 - The retreat of the hermits: Peñalba, the Valley of Silence and the Berciano Tebaida

We believe that traveling in El Bierzo does not mean traveling in a hurry. That is why we are going to spend the second day exploring the greatest treasure hidden in our region: its living nature, its mountains, its forests and its secret stories.

We are in Peñalba de Santiago, and to wander around calmly means getting up early, going up to the village's threshing floors and enjoying the wonderful views: the Aquilian Mountains and the Valley of Silence, a place used for centuries by hermit monks.

Visit the Mozarabic church, founded in the 10th century. Contemplate at the entrance its horseshoe arches so particular and inside, pay attention to the colorful wall paintings that cover the entire temple. It is a true miracle that they have been preserved like this for more than a thousand years.

To continue the day, we go on a route. The short option to get to know the Valle del Silencio is the hike to the Cueva de San Genadio. In this hidden corner of the mountain, the story goes that this monk lived in isolation for years. Legend has it that he commanded the waters of the river to be silent so that he could meditate in peace. This is the origin of the poetic name Valle del Silencio (Valley of Silence).

The long option takes us to the monastery of San Pedro de Montes, a full day route to the neighboring village. It is the well-known route of the Tebaida Berciana. For an authentic rest and lunch, you can stop for lunch at La Cantina de Sara.

On the way back from your route, and for dinner, do not forget to try the most typical dishes of El Bierzo in the restaurants of Peñalba: La Cantina and Aromas del Oza. Roasted peppers and botillo must be on the menu, accompanied by mencía wine or chestnut beer? an unbeatable experience!

Day 3 - Las Médulas: mountains of gold, Romans and winemaking tradition in El Bierzo

We have left for the end the main course. Las Médulas is the great historical and natural treasure of our region. A gold mine of the Roman Empire that you can explore on foot starting from the viewpoint of Orellán and its main gallery.

On the way to Las Médulas, you can stop to rest at El Sitio de Mi Recreo, in the village of Priaranza del Bierzo. It is a corner of pure tranquility with delicious milkshakes.

If you are in the mood for a walk, Las Médulas can be visited from the inside. The hiking route starts in the village of the same name. You will visit galleries and emblematic caves (La Encantada, La Cuevona), in a spectacular landscape, Martian red and surrounded by centenary chestnut trees.

Do you want to discover Las Médulas in a unique way? We propose you to do the route of the Roman gold by e-bike with our friends of Eberent.

A very worthwhile visit near Las Médulas is the beautiful Carucedo Lake, especially in summer, with musical evenings and the option to rent kayaks. And to continue the route, you can stop to visit the Castle of Cornatel, the Templar fortress sister of the castle of Ponferrada.

We finish our little big trip in a very special place: the Palacio de Canedo. This farmhouse, headquarters of the company Prada A tope, is an emblem of the region and perfectly summarizes the philosophy and essence of this land. It has its own products and preserves, a restaurant with views of its vineyards, and a craft store to take home a good souvenir of these days of pure Bierzo.

What do you think about our proposal? Have we forgotten any place you love in El Bierzo? Let us know with a comment.

See you soon travelers!


Lucas Docampo


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