1: Ribadeo - Lourenzá

Ria de Ribadeo que une Asturias y Galicia

30 km stage.

Ría de Ribadeo

The estuary that separates Asturias from Galicia, Ribadeo Estuary, was crossed by boat or one went up the watercourse up to Santiago de Abres Bridge.

Already in the 12th century, there is a mention to the existence of the Bela family, owners of a charitable boat fleet to transport pilgrims free. A long time ago there were similar boat fleets along Ribadeo Estuary.

Pilgrims arrived in the estuary mainly through Castropol, which was founded on a great ‘castro’ in 1299 and belonged to Oviedo Bishopric until the 16th century. Pilgrims also came from Figueras, where there is a church dedicated to Santiago since the 18th century, built by Mareantes Association.

Puente de los Santos en Ribadeo, Lugo

Nowadays, one can comfortably cross the estuary over the giant Puente de los Santos and find the modern pilgrim’s lodging at the end



Ribadeo (Ripam Euve, in ancient times) is the capital of a wide scene that included Vegadeo (‘A Veiga de Ribadeo’) a long ago, marking its economical and social influence in a long section of our way.

St Clara Convent will draw our attention in the centre of the city. It dates from the late 15th century and was founded by nuns from the capital of Asturias.








The neoclassic building that was residence of Raimundo Ibáñez, Marquis of Sargadelos, is now the Town Hall, whose entrance shows a statue of the old owner of the building.

In the surrounding area we find the Torre de los Moreno, modernist from the early 20th century, the most known image of Ribadeo.

We should also mention two interesting monuments in Ribadeo: St María del Campo Collegiate Church, where there was a Franciscan convent erected in the 13th century, and Trinidad Chapel (14th century), in the watchtower dominating the estuary, as a memory of those times in which the defence of the city was necessary.

We will see many houses remembering those people who had to emigrate and came back to their native land to enjoy their well-deserved fortune.



The route starts at St Lazarus Chapel towards Obe but first we will go up to St Cruz, where there is a magnificent view over the estuary and a shrine that revives once a year at the beginning of August in a traditional ‘romería’. We also find here the memorial to the Galician piper and pipe.

Old Way to Lourenzá

This route is known as the old way to Lourenzá (“Camiño vello de Lourenzá”) and is thought to correspond to an ancient communication route.

We pass along Obe, that preserves a section of the old route, Vilela, which is known to exist already about the year 1000 and Cedofeita, mentioned as ‘Cito Facta’ in many medieval documents.

In Cedofeita, we see Santiago Chapel with altarpieces from the 18th century and images of pilgrim Santiago on horse.

In Cubelas, there is a three-nave church dating from the 17th century and restored in the 18th.

In Arante, on the way coming from Leon and Asturias, we find Virtudes or Santa María da Ponte Sanctuary, which has been a pilgrimage centre for five centuries. The church dates from the 16th century. The altar piece of the high altar (18th century) shows an image of Santiago on horse.

Its pictorial whole (16th century) is excellent as well. In this temple there is an image of the Virgin “miraculosa y muy debota que cada día face milagros infinitíssimos”.
St Andrés Hospital was next to this sanctuary. The hospital was founded in 1543 by Juan Marqués, canon of the Collegiate Church of Ribadeo, and his sister, Mencía, and functioned until the beginning of the 19th century.
We pass along Barreiros, Villamartín pequeno, Vilamartín Grande and Gondán to get to Vilanova de Lourenzá.

Asturian route

There was another route on this same way from Castropol passing along Vegadeo and Santiago de Abres which crossed over the bridge avoiding the Eo estuary.

The route entered Galicia through Trabada passing along Sante. Melchor Díaz de la Rocha was born in Sante where he led the revolt against the French in 1809.

We visit St Marcos da Cadeira Chapel and get to Lourenzá.

Vilanova de Lourenzá

Vilanova, called Vila da Ponte long ago, was the point that linked both ways going parallel from Santiago de Abres.

Vilanova de Lourenzá was arranged around the monastery founded in the first half of the 10th century by Osorio Gutiérrez, known as the Count-Saint, bishop of San Martiño de Mondoñedo and cousin to St Rosendo. This foundation coincides in time with the foundation of the monasteries in Sobrado dos Monxes (also in this North Way) and Celanova..

The rests of the founder, whose will was known on 17th June 969, rest at the church of the monastery in a marble Aquitaine sarcophagus (5th-6th century), chosen by the count himself following the custom of using old sarcophagus to bury noblemen.

According to the legend, Osorio Gutiérrez found this sarcophagus in his journey to the Holy Land and threw it into the sea, entrusting himself to Providence. The sarcophagus arrived in the coast of Foz and it was taken by the count’s servants in a miraculous operation similar to the arrival of the Apostle Santiago’s stone boat.


Monasterio de Vilanova de Lourenzá

The present building of the monastery is Baroque (18th century) with a church designed by Casas y Novoa. The splendid façade is considered to be an antecedent of the Obradoiro façade in Compostela at the end of the route.

Valdeflores Chapel, inside, dates from the 18th century and houses the sarcophagus with the rests of the Count-Saint.

Retablo Relicario de Lourenzá


Although the most outstanding thing in this church is the very original altarpiece-reliquary, there is also an interesting Sacred Art Museum, founded in 1960, which shows a collection of unique images and paintings.

The polychrome images by José Ferreiro and the paintings by Ferro Requeijo are notable as well.

The Count-Saint was the first one who took pilgrims in, giving thirty-three beds to the monks, twelve of which ought to be dedicated to attend travellers. Both wills in the first half of the 12th century provided for pilgrim’s protection.