10 Essential Experiences

There are so many things you should not miss on your visit to Ourense. Here we give you ten ... but you will be wanting more.

Ourense is one of those cities that is not enough to see, you have to live it. With its thermal waters, its history, its gastronomy and its rivers, Ourense is a different kind of destination which will win your heart if you know how to enjoy it. In the city of bridges we use the bathing suit all year round, we taste the octopus on Sundays, we take tapas watching the Cathedral towers, we take every opportunity to disguise ourselves and we are passionate about speed, either running or car racing. Some experiences can only be lived here in Ourense.


  • 1 Art & Heritage
Discover the Colours of Paradise
  • 2 Art & Heritage
  • 2 Thermal Baths
Meet the Nymphs of As Burgas
  • 3 Art & Heritage
Count the Bridges over River Minho
  • 4 Art & Heritage
Get Lost in a Maze of Stone and History
  • 5 Thermal Baths
Take a Bath Underneath the Stars
  • 6 Local cuisine
Toast with One of the Oldest Wines in the World
  • 7 Local cuisine
Taste the Authentic (and Best) Galician-Style Octopus
  • 8 Leisure
Unleash Your Imagination during Entroido
  • 9 Art & Heritage
See the Sunset from a Pre-Roman Settlement
  • 10 Leisure
  • 10 The City
Release Your Inner Rock'n'Roll

The detail and color of the dozens of figures of this gate illuminate the Ourense Cathedral: it is an image that will stay in your memory. The impressive polychromy has earned this portico the title of Gate of Paradise, as opposed to the Gate of Glory in Santiago, from which it was inspired.

This is only the beginning of a Cathedral full of secrets. Next to it is the Chapel of the Holy Christ, whose hair supposedly grows …

It is said that whoever touches the water from these sources, at more than 60º, will end up marrying in Ourense. There are few other places in the city with more legends than As Burgas. Some mysteries even go back to Roman Ourense, when it was a social and religious centre …

Nowadays, if you immerse yourself in the thermal pool and close your eyes, you may hear the whisper of the nymphs living in these waters; since more than two thousand years ago they are caught in the dreams of the visitors of Aquis Auriensis ….

The father of the Galician rivers has shaped the city of Ourense since its origins, and crossing it has always been a challenge for its inhabitants.

From the arches of the Old Bridge, with Roman foundation and Medieval style, to the almost impossible lines of the Millennium Bridge, these constructions are the essential skyline of the city and the silent witnesses of the passage of time. No matter how hard you try to cross them all, there will always be one or two missing.

On the map, the Historic Centre looks like a great north-south corridor, just a straight line. Nothing is further from reality. Entering the heart of Auria is a challenge for your sense of direction, a coming and going of narrow streets where the stone changes its colour according to the different lights of the day … The trick to journey through this tunnel of time is to jump from square to square: Blacksmiths’ Square, Wheat Square, St Euphemia’s Square, Magdalene Square, St Martial’s Square, the Main Square …

Imagine it’s late night. It’s cold, maybe it rains, maybe even snows. And you are in sandals, bathing suit and a towel … wetting the tips of your feet in a water warmer than any bathtub. Behind you the sound of the river and the leaves of the trees swaying with the wind. And shining over your head, among the steam, the stars. You are in A Chavasqueira, Muíño da Veiga or Outariz, and you have never taken a bath like this. Welcome to the thermal banks of river Minho.

Roman historian Strabo left written as early as the 3rd century BC that the “Ribeiro” wine was produced in these lands. This valley continues to cultivate top-quality wines, and is only one of the four denominations of origin that are concentrated in the province of Ourense …

Maybe that’s why the tapas area of the city is called Os Viños (The Wineries)…

That Ourense does not have a beach is not an impediment to one of its gastronomic pillars being a sea product, the octopus. From ancient times come the tradition and the secret that has made of its preparation an art and of eating it, an authentic social rite shared with friends and family.

If you are in Orense during Entroido (our particular Carnival), pay attention: disguise yourself. You will have the opportunity to participate in an very ancient old celebration, a tribute to brashness and good humour that floods the streets with colour. Not only will you enjoy the atmosphere of the capital, but you will be just a step away from the Entroido magical triangle of Xinzo, Verín and Laza (where they throw ants at you …).

We insist on the costume thing: otherwise, you are likely to end up paying rounds in any bar …

There are many places from where to see a sunset, but few with the magic of Santomé. Two thousand years of history in stones that evoke the ancestors of the city: the Celts, Pre-Romans and Romans. All framed by a forest of centuries-old oaks and cork oaks and the murmur of river Lonia.

And a view that will leave you speechless.

The music and lyrics of a band like Los Suaves have made Ourense one of the sanctuaries of Spanish rock & roll. With a creative and rebellious spirit, the city has always been an excellent pool of young music players, a tradition still alive nowadays. If you like music, here you will find your place.