Hikers resume their routes through the Sierra de O Courel in autumn

Galicia is one of the most exciting places in the Iberian Peninsula for Nature lovers. Its geographical diversity, from the coast to the interior, allows us to discover unique landscapes where the vegetation, the orography of the terrain and the historical heritage come together in spaces of singular beauty.

If the summer invites us to discover the maritime landscapes of Galicia, in autumn, the forest and the mountains take on a special charm.

One of the favorite places for hikers and mountain lovers is the Sierra de O Courel in the province of Lugo.

With its steep slopes, beautiful valleys and ancient forests, the Sierra de O Courel is a great place to enjoy nature and contemplation.

Although its peaks (Pía Paxaro, Capeloso, Faro and Formigueiros) are not among the highest in Galicia, they are highly valued among mountaineers for their scenic and ethnographic richness.

In the autumn months, the vegetation gives way to an impressive chromatic variety. Yellows, ochres and oranges intermingle with the deep green of the evergreen trees and shrubs.

Chestnut forests are very abundant in the mountains of O Courel, known here as “soutos”.

Lovers of hiking enjoy countless routes in O Courel, which lead from village to village along the centuries-old paths that its inhabitants have walked since ancient times, leaving many traces of their daily chores. Mills, blacksmiths or chestnut dryers… are some of the elements that testify their traditional ways of life.

Places of interest for hikers on the O Courel route:

  • Seceda and Cortes: two rehabilitated villages where we can appreciate a good part of the popular architecture of the mountains of O Courel. We call our attention to its narrow streets to better protect themselves from the snow and its typical houses with slate roofs.The village of Seceda (declared a Typical Village and Ethnographic Site of Tourist Interest by the Xunta de Galicia) is especially picturesque. Strolling through its cobbled streets, meeting a shepherd and his flock of sheep crossing the village or buying honey in some of its traditional houses, are some of the images that are part of the daily life of the locals and visitors to this beautiful village of Lugo.
  • Cortes: located in a valley of chestnut trees, the village of Cortes is practically uninhabited. But its streets and buildings still preserve the charm of the architecture and traditional ways of life of the region. It is worth a visit.
  • Lóuzara waterfall and Locai mill: in Santalla de Abaixo (Samos), the river Lóuzara forms a small waterfall and next to it rises what remains of the Locai mill. A beautiful natural landscape for the rest and admiration of any hiker who is encouraged to do this route.
  • Devesa da Rogueira: it is one of the largest nature reserves in the mountains of Galicia and one of the forests with the greatest diversity of fauna and flora in the Iberian Peninsula.It is accessed by a path that starts from the Aula de la Naturaleza de Moreda and leads to the Fonte do Cervo, peculiar because two different springs spring from the same rock and both with healing properties, one with ferruginous waters and the other with calcareous waters.
  • The village of Vilar: located in the middle of a chestnut forest, this typical mountain village is known for its castro dating from the second century AD. It is located on the left bank of the Lor river and its function was to defend the village, taking advantage of the natural protection of the rocks and the enclave of the river.
  • Albarizas: these unique stone constructions on the slopes of the mountain were created to protect the bee hives from bear attacks. Most of them are abandoned today but there are still some with beehives inside.

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