The countryside of Lugo is first experience of Galicia for most pilgrims who tread the Camino de Santiago. The province, from the coastal rìas in the north, to the mountainous sierras of the south-east is a land of geographical contrasts and outstanding beauty.
Along the Camino, the first place of interest is wild and windy Cebreiro. The village is characterised by a throng of stone huts, known as pallozas, clustered around a 9th century church in a picturesque albeit somewhat foreboding setting high in the sierra. For the serious pilgrims, further west along the route, the Monasteries of Samos and especially Sobrado dos Monxes are worth exploring.
Lugo, one of the poorest provinces in Spain makes up for its lack of economic growth with a rich array of natural habitats. The mountains of the Sierra de Os Ancares (bordering Leòn) glisten with snow in winter, and expose a lush, verdant carpet in summer. The Sierra is also home to many rare and endangered species.
The north coast exposes a string of capes and estuaries, with a multitude of quiet beaches to be found, such as Praia de Faro near Viveiro. The area makes a fine place to stay en route to and from Santiago. The fishing ports of Porto Do Barqueiro and Porto De Vares further west make superb spots from which to sample the excellent Galician seafood and the local Ribeiro wine, deservedly popular throughout Spain.
Ignored by the Camino, the city of Lugo is however a historically and culturally rich city dating back to the Roman occupation. The Romans walls that completely surround the old city, built in the 2nd century, are the best-preserved examples of their kind in Spain. More than a mile and a half long, containing four ancient gates, the walls were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2000. Entering via the south gate will lead you to the 800 year-old Cathedral, and nearby, among other monuments, the Bishop's Palace. The Museo Provincial is worth a visit and special mention must also be made of the Parque Rosalìa de Castro which provides stunning views across the valley of the River Miño.
Stunning sandy beaches and river-mouths, around which many towns have developed, interrupt the craggy coastline of this fascinating and singular land.