Casita del Río is a two hundred-year-old rustic stone cottage situated in the heart of Ribeira Sacra in the municipality of Caballedo in Galicia. Formally a popular local bar, the cottage has been fully refurbished and can now accommodate up to six guests. With breathtaking views of the Miño River valley from the spacious terrace, and surrounded by pine forests, grapevines, chestnut and walnut trees, Casita del Río is an ideal base to explore the beauty of the Ribeira Sacra wine region.
The kitchen is fully equipped, with cooker, microwave oven, toaster, kettle and stove-top coffee makers and an open fire place with a BBQ grill. There is also a washing machine and a Paella pan! Cookware, serving ware, dinnerware and cutlery are provided. There is a spiral staircase from the front door at street level where the bedrooms are located, down to the kitchen, bathroom and living area. Stepping down from the kitchen, leads to the sala area where you can enjoy the view from the double opening windows. The downstairs kitchen area can also be accessed through the large barn-style back doors, with wheelchair access. Off street car parking is located here too.
Within a 10-minute drive you will be able to enjoy Amancio’s tapas of the day and local wine at Bar O Ribeiro or the Menú del Dia at Café Elma in the small village of Castro. Depending on the day you may encounter a wedding party, a local market, or the chance to try some local meat. A little further along from Castro is the slightly larger village of A Barrela, where you can enjoy Menu Del Dia for €11 at Hotel Rio Bubal, named for the local river. A Barrela is also serviced by a small but well-stocked supermercado, with lots of fresh produce and local wine. You will find a couple of small stores stocking hardware, cookware, gifts and more, as well as some small local tapas bars.
Further afield, a 25-minute drive from A Barrela, and the capital of the Ribera Sacra D.O., is the historic town of Monforte de Lemos, situated around the grand “Galician Escorial”. Close to this historic building are some fabulous tapas bars, serving many and varied generous sized tapas, which, with a glass of wine will set you back €1.70. Heading into the old part of the town you can organise your telecommunications at Orange or Movistar, then move on to some of the local cafes in this area. The Tourist information centre, housing the region’s major wine shop, is located in this area too. For cooking supplies and other provisions take Rua Chantada for Lidl and Gadis.
For a bigger and more lively tapas experience, Ourense, 40 minutes south of the Casita, is a vibrant city, with the historic part of the town situated around Plaza Major (Praza Maior). All the major shopping chains are here, some of which are located in a large shopping mall, so, after a morning of retail therapy you can refuel with local wine and tapas. A must-try is the local Gallega specialty dish, Pulpo a feira- octopus pieces generously covered in olive oil, salt and of course, pimenton. Ourense is also home to many thermal baths, which are a mandatory stop when visiting this beautiful city.
Closer to the Casita you will be able to explore natural and historic sites. If you head north from the Casita you will stumble upon the abandoned village of Paradela, and further along, the waterfall Fervenza do Fondos. As you sit on the deck at the cottage you can see the quaint little village of Chouzan, close to the river to the right. The historic 12th Century Romanesque Church located here is not to be missed. Continuing south you will find the river crossing at Os Peares, with some appealing little local bars, one of which is on the train station.
For a closer view of the Miño and the imposing slopes you can take a 2-hour catamaran ride from Belezar, for a cost of €9. The beach you can see on this cruise is Playa fluvial de A Cova, where you can enjoy great food, a swim, and for the more active, stand-up paddleboarding.
If you are staying at the Casita on a Sunday, a trip to Escaíron for the Fería do Pulpo is not to be missed. Stall after stall of pulpo, carne, salchichas, bread and wine will satisfy you. The market stalls provide an array of fresh produce, cheese, jamon and local crafts to complete the experience. Near here, at O Saviñao, is the renowned Casa Pepe, a restaurant highly recommended by the locals.
Carballedo, Galicia, Ισπανία