Exploring Ourense in 72 hours: A Hidden Gem in Spain

Ourense and Allariz, the must-see places to discover both cities. In this post I will share with you everything you need to know to ensure that your 3-day stay in these spots is memorable.

I can’t deny that one of the things I loved about Ourense was its thermal baths, followed by its culture and food. It’s easy to spend 72 hours exploring the city’s attractions. Here you will find detailed information on everything you can see and do in the city and give you some useful tips on how to make the most of your time there.

I suggest visiting Allariz, a medieval jewel with cobblestoned streets and marble facades, to round out your adventure.

Ourense, originally Roman, received its name Aqua Auriensis from the hot springs that surround it. Because of its historical-cultural heritage and exuberant nature, these hot springs gave rise to an important settlement that evolved over the centuries to become the renowned place it is today.

Having said this, Ourense is unique because it lies on the road of the Way of St James, during its last 100 kilometers on the Via de la Plata.

Ourense and Allariz must-see places: Itinerary

All points of interest in Ourense are within walking distance of each other, making it easy to explore on foot. However, I recommend this itinerary so that you can enjoy the city at leisure while visiting the must-see places.


I suggest you start the tour in the center, the Plaza Mayor, where you can see the City Hall, the Episcopal Palace and several buildings with arcades. If you look closely, you will notice the slope of the ground.

Then stroll towards the Cathedral, reach the Plaza del Trigo, visit the church of Santa Maria Nai, the church of Santa Euphemia, and the Municipal Museum. From the cathedral some stairs go up to the viewpoint of San Francisco, and in front the Cloister of San Francisco, next to the cemetery.

In the opposite direction, but just a short walk away, you can visit the Mercado de Abastos and the Alameda square.

Walk through the botanical park of Montealegre if you want to breathe fresh air. Located just over 2 km from the center, this is a wonderful vantage point for viewing the city.

Visit the Roman and Millennium Bridges at sunset. 


On the second day, I recommend visiting Santomé, an archaeological site 3 km from the city, where you can learn about the castreña culture. Walking through the forest will give you a nice experience.

Afterwards, you can visit the thermal baths of A Burgas (which aren’t currently open for bathing) however, if you feel like, you can enjoy in the afternoon a hot bath in Outariz.


Taking a half-day excursion to Allariz, the ancient capital of Galicia, will provide you with a glimpse into its heritage.

Below I outline how to get there by public transportation.

The following places may interest you if you are still looking for more:

  • Marcos Valcárcel Cultural Center
  • Pazo Oca-Valladares
  • Seixalbo ethnographic complex
    Located 6 km from the city, it is a group of traditional peasant houses on the Way of St James.

You might still be interested in learning more about Ourense’s history and legends before you start touring, so you can take this free tour.

Accommodation in Ourense

For your reference, I recommend Altiana Hotel. I liked it because it’s in the center and good value for money.

Where to eat in Ourense


  • Casa Toñita
  • Tizar Gourment restaurante
  • A Taberna
  • Taberna Pulpería Atarazana

Coffee Shops:

  • La Zapatería del Abuelo
  • Café Latino
  • Bakery & Coffee Tito

What to see and do in Ourense. The must-see places

San Martiño Cathedral

The Ourense Cathedral, a few steps from the Plaza Mayor, is one of the most important religious sites in the city. This impressive church dates back to the XII – XIII century, although its last reform dates from the XVIII century. Dedicated to San Martín, it was declared a Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931 and is currently considered a Site of Cultural Interest.

Ourense and Allariz must-see places-cathedral-San-Martiño

The interior is reminiscent of medieval times, with its vaults, chapels and religious paintings. Highlights include its Gothic dome, the polychrome wooden altarpiece dedicated to the Virgin Mary behind the altar and the chapel of the Holy Christ that according to legend grows hair and beard.

As for the exterior, the magnificent Portico of Paradise, which still retains its paintings and represents the arrival of the Last Judgment, stands out.  On the other hand, its crenellated towers give it the appearance of a medieval fortress.

  • Address: Plaza de Trigo, s/n. Access by South Gate.
  • Hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. Tuesdays: from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. Sunday: 1pm to 5 pm
  • Entrance fee: 6 € (general)

Santa Euphemia Church

Another must-see places in Ourense is the church of Santa Euphemia. It’s located near the Plaza Mayor, between the streets Rúa Lamas Carvajal and Plaza de Santa Eufemia. This striking baroque church was built in several phases.
Construction began in the 17th century as part of a Jesuit school, however, its facade was completed in the 18th century and both the vaults and the dome were finished in the 19th century.

The interior of the church is decorated with magnificent murals and has a variety of masterpieces, among which the High Altar stands out. 

As a curiosity: it suffered numerous damages during the French invasion. Moreover, Portuguese soldiers used it as a refuge during the First Carlist War.

  • Address: Rúa Lamas Carvajal, 7
  • Mass schedule: Monday to Friday: 8:30 am, 9:30 am, 12 pm and 7:30 pm.
    Sunday: 9:00 am, 10 am, 11 am, 12:30 pm and 7 pm.

Santa María Nai Church

Situated at the top of an imposing staircase, this medieval church stands on the site of what is believed to have been the site of the ancient cathedral of Ourense.  


Over the centuries, due to the devastation it suffered after numerous Mozarabic attacks, it has had to be rebuilt. Thus, for example, the first remodeling took place in 1084 and later in 1772. As a result, only the eight marble columns and several capitals remain from the original basilica.

The interior features a natural-colored wooden altarpiece with the image of the Virgin, patron saint of the tailors’ guild.

  • Address: Rúa de Santa María, 3
  • Mass schedule: Saturday 6:30 pm.

Viewpoint and San Francisco Cloister

Taking the stairs behind the Cathedral leads you to the San Francisco viewpoint, which offers an amazing panoramic view over the city and the mountains.

Ourense and Allariz-must-see-places-San-Francisco-Cloister

Then, crossing the road, you will see the Cloister of San Francisco, one of the icons of the city and a must-see. Formerly a Franciscan convent, it stands out for its detailed capitals, pilasters and moldings in Gothic and Romanesque style.
In the 13th century, it was built under the patronage of Alfonso X.

In addition to being free, the tour is very interesting, as the guide explains its history, legends and curiosities with great detail and passion.

Next door is the Cemetery of San Francisco, which is free to visit.

  • Address: C/ Emilia Pardo Bazán, 37
  • Mass schedule: Tuesday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm and 6 pm to 9 pm.
    Monday: Closed.

Montealegre Botanical Park

One of the must-see sights in the city to get in touch with nature is the Montealegre Botanical Garden, located 2.4 km from the center.
If you feel like walking, the path is easily accessible and once on it, you will enjoy the pleasure of breathing fresh air as well as enjoying a perfect panoramic view of the valley and the mountains on the other side.

It is made up of a wide variety of botanical species, and the garden, which dates back to the 19th century, is designed to be enjoyed while promoting greater ecological awareness. There are over 240 species of plants and flowers and some 132 species of fauna.

Among the various areas that are open to the public, there are the rose gardens, the insectaries, the medicinal herb gardens, the flower gardens, and the sculpture gardens, to  name just a few.

Moreover, the place hosts some activities for all audiences, such as lectures on botany, gardening workshops and guided tours.

  • Address: Camino de Montealegre
  • Hours: Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm
  • Entrance feed: free

Roman and Millennium Bridges

A living testimony to the Roman history of Spain, the Roman Bridge of Ourense is one of the most iconic monuments of the city.


Located over the Miño River, originally built in stone in the second century, the structure was rebuilt in the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In case you were wondering, the bridge is 330 meters long and is made up of 20 different shapes and sizes of arches.

It is from this bridge that you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the city, the river, and the hills that surround it.

Besides the old city bridges, the new Millennium Bridge, measuring 275 meters in length and 22 meters in height, is also one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Designed by Alvaro Varela de Ugarte, it comprises a pedestrian and cyclist footbridge, which connects the banks of the Miño River.

The view from this bridge provides stunning view of the city and the Roman Bridge, as well as the river and its surroundings.

Mercado de Abastos and Alameda Square

The traditional market of the city, located in Plaza de Abastos, is the perfect place to learn even more about the gastronomy of Ourense.

Some facts: Manuel Conde designed this monumental building in 1929 in order to reflect the architecture and aesthetics of the time, and it has become home to the market since 1945.

This market is filled with gourmet stalls, fresh produce stalls, a traditional bakery, and tasting stalls where you can have a taste of the local cuisine.

Near the Market is the Alameda, a modernist-designed garden rooted in the Middle Ages.
In the Obispo Cesáreo Gardens, Progreso street, stands a fountain from Oseira Monastery and a sculpture by Eduardo Blanco Amor.

Santomé archeological site

 Visiting the archeological complex of Santomé will help you understand the city’s past. It is located 3 kilometers from the historic center and if you’re up for it you can walk there. The views of the city and the mountains are spectacular from there, so take your time and enjoy them.


In addition to the uniqueness of this complex, it must be emphasized that it is one of the few places on the Iberian Peninsula where two cultures from very different regions live side-by-side.
So, on the plain of the site, there are traces of a typical Galician-Roman villa, while on the top of the site, there are traces of a Castrian fortification.

My opinion is that it is worth visiting this area if you have the time. It is not only worth taking a walk through the pine trees and native flora, but also to gain an understanding of the archaeological complex that surrounds the area.

  • Address: C/ Santomé, 8
  • Access: Free
  • How to get there: 
    • By bus: line 9
    • On foot. There is a hiking trail
  • Good to know:
    • There’s a visitor reception booth with explanations of the enclosure at the entrance.
    • Since the archaeological site is in the forest, the access road is an easy path, but it’s gravel and mud, so wear comfortable shoes.

A Burgas Thermas

As I have already mentioned, the city of Ourense was born with the Roman settlement around its mineral-medicinal waters, and that is why they named it: Aqua Auriensis (city of gold).

The city is bathed by the rivers Miño, Barbaña and Barbañica and benefits from thermal springs with hot waters up to 64ºC.


Among the remains of the Roman bathhouse in As Burgas thermal baths are the vestiges of the bathhouse used by the Romans for relaxation and socializing.

To give you some context, they have always been in use. So for example, in the Middle Ages they were used for curative purposes. The cleansing helped to cure plague and other diseases. In addition, it helped to mitigate the exhaustion of pilgrims who passed through here doing the route of the Way of St James.

On the outside, you can see some monumental fountains with water flowing at a temperature of more than 60ºC and some archaeological remains, some of which I have told you some of its history.

I couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to bathe in a hot spring, so I visited Outariz’s baths. In the next section, I explain how to get there and how to enjoy them.

Outariz Thermas

As I mentioned above, the Miño river crosses the city of Ourense, and in its westernmost stretch full of springs, there is a thermal itinerary, Ruta Termal del Miño (Miño Thermal Route). In some of its pools, the water temperature reaches a temperature of 65ºC.

As a result, there are 7 thermal facilities (some of them are paid, others are free), each within a distance of walking distance from each other, which can be reached by walking through a scenic pedestrian path that has a length of 4 km.

That being said, I will show you how to make this thermal route:

Listed below are the 7 thermal baths in order of proximity to the city:

  • A Chavasqueira (63,7ºC)
  • Termas de A Chavasqueira (63,6ºC)
  • Fonte do Tinteiro (37,3ºC)
  • Muiño da Veiga (64,5ºC)
  • Outariz (60,2ºC)
  • Outariz y Burga de Canedo (60,2ºC)
  • Fonte de Reza (31,5ºC)

In order to get there, you have several options:

How to get to the thermas:

* On foot:
A Chavasqueira hot springs are 2 km away, and Outariz and Burga de Canedo are 7 km away.

* By tourist train:
On the L19 Thermal Baths train departing from Plaza Mayor. It covers the entire route of the thermal baths.
The total duration of the journey (to Outariz) is 40 minutes and its price is 0.85 euros.

* By bus: 
You can take the lines L5 and L26.

To get to the thermal baths of Outariz and Burga de Canedo, line 5 (Reza-Cebollino) leaves you in the parking lot of Pozas de Maimón, and you just need to cross a pedestrian walkway.

On the other hand, if you want to get to the nearest hot springs to the city, the line 26 (Chavasqueira-Residencia) leaves you at the beginning of the Route.

  • Info on city buses:
    • Web: urbanosdeourense.com
    • Teléfono: 988 51 06 72 

Outariz thermas, how to visit them

There are two thermal facilities next to each other in the thermal space.

The Outariz thermal pools are paid. They cost 5.70 euros and you can stay up to two hours in them. Among the facilities are a cafeteria, a sushi bar, and relaxation and beauty treatments.

Just a few steps away are the thermal baths of Outariz Burga de Canedo. These baths offer some basic facilities, including showers, lockers, and swimming for up to 1 hour.

I was in the second one, and it featured 3 pools of water ranging in temperature from 60ºC to 63ºC, and a cold water shower. In my experience 1 hour was long enough to enjoy them.

As a side note, regardless of whether you pay, you can only access one Outariz facility.

  • Tips:
    • I highly recommend you check with the Tourist Office to find out which hot springs are working, because due to the COVID, several of them were closed.
      Make sure you confirm their opening hours, as some are closed on Mondays and others on Tuesdays.
    • On the other hand, you should also confirm if the tourist train to the hot springs is in service.
      Turismo Office address: Rúa Isabel La Católica, 2. 

A day trip to Allariz


Allariz is a charming medieval village about 24 kilometers from Ourense. Its cobblestone streets and granite buildings have been listed as Cultural and Artistic Heritage.

Aside from that, it was in the past the residence of renowned kings, including King Alfonso X the Wise.

If you plan to visit this city, you will find fascinating spots steeped in history and delicious food. I’ve rounded up the must-see places below to help you out.

Getting there by public transport

Taking the bus with Monbus. It leaves from the Intermodal Station (Avda. Marín, s/n) and takes about 40 minutes. Round-trip tickets cost 4.10 euros.

* Departures times: 9 am, 10:15 am, 1 pm
* Return times: 4:10 pm, 7:15 pm

Contact info Monbus:
* Web: monbus.es
* Telephone: 988 21 60 27

A short background

Here’s some info you might find useful:

  • Allariz was founded by the Suevi (Germanics) in the V century, when they set up the kingdom of Gallaecia. And made it the capital of the Kingdom of Galicia.
  • It got its name from the “Vila Aliaricii” that was established here.
  • In the thirteenth century the Jewish quarter of Allariz settled in the neighborhood of Socastelo and became one of the most significant Jewish quarters in Galicia.
  • Up until the 15th century, Allariz was not only about castles and walls, but legends, like the one of Santa Marta or Romasanta, known as the Werewolf, who was tried here in the 15th century.
  • UNESCO declared the town a historic-artistic site in 1971.

Without further ado, let’s start with the must-see places:

Allariz, must-see places:

Historic Center

Allariz’s charm lies in its fact that it seems to have frozen in the Middle Ages, so you can wander along its cobbled streets, get lost among its large granite houses and find striking corners like the set of sculptures representing the Feast of the Ox (the Festa do Boi).


Make sure you check out the Plaza Mayor, the church of Santiago, the church of Santo Estevo, Jewish archaeological remains, and even a granary (near Vilanova Bridge).

Special mention goes to the carefully decorated stores, outlets, clothing stores, handicraft stores, and pharmacies.


Free Tour

You can take this free tour in Allariz if you want to find out more about the history and legends of this city.

Monte do Castelo Viewpoint

One of the must-see places in Allariz, is the Monte do Castelo, located north of the village and only 10 minutes walking. There you will find the Castelo Mountain viewpoint from where you can enjoy panoramic views of the historic center. Take some pics while you’re there!

Vilanova Bridge

Vilanova bridge over the Arnoia river is another must-see in Allariz.
Built in the 12th century in Romanesque style, you simply cannot help but admire its water reflections under its arches.
This bridge used to be the city’s main entrance.


A few steps from the bridge is the Church of Santa Maria de Vilanova, a 12th century Romanesque building.

Despite several renovations, the church still retains some twelfth century wood carvings. So, the bell tower dates back to the late nineteenth century.


Close to the bridge, there is a pleasant path and a large recreational area with gardens and recreational spots, known as Playa Fluvial. This area is great for rest and recreation. It is therefore not surprising that this is one of the favorite places for local residents.


To begin with, there are 3 museums in Allariz that you can visit for a fee of 3 euros if you wish to get the voucher for all three: the Galician Toy Museum, Leather Museum, and Fashion Museum.

Leather Museum

Located near the Tourist Office, the Leather Museum shows the whole tanning process on video and features a craftsman working on leather with traditional techniques.

  • Entrance fee: 2 euros. 3 euros if you buy the museum voucher.

Museum of Sacred Art

More than one hundred pieces of religious art of different themes are displayed at the Museum of Sacred Art in the Convent of Santa Clara. The most significant piece is the ‘Virgen abridera’, an ivory carving from the 12th century. It also highlights a rock crystal cross that exhibits impressive artistic techniques of Gothic goldsmithing, with a varied selection of materials.

  • Address: Real Mosteiro de San Clara. Rúa do Campo da Feira, 14
  • Entrance fee: free

Galician Toy Museum

Focusing on toys, the City Council of Allariz founded this museum in 1995 with the collection of 600 pieces from a neighbor. This resulted in the donation of 1,500 toys between 1910 and 1978.

  • Address: Rúa O Portelo, 4
  • Entrance fee: 2 euros. 3 euros if you buy the museum voucher.

Fashion Museum

If you love history behind fashion, you can’t miss this museum. Considered the first of its kind in Galicia, it is located in a 14th century manor house.

The museum exhibits historical textile pieces from the region of Allariz that recreate the daily life of the village.

  • Address: Rúa de Portelo, 1.  Edificio Castro Oxea
  • Entrance fee: 2 euros. 3 euros with the museum voucher.
  • It’s possible to take a guided tour. Call or e-mail.
    Telephone: 988 44 20 06
    Mail: reatur@allariz.com

Where to eat

I highly recommend the following restaurants for delicious gastronomy, and for dishes like octopus à Feira, empanadas, and seafood, not to mention the Santiago cake for dessert:

  • Pallabarro
  • Argoma
  • Boigorri

Ourense and Allariz, must-see places: my thoughts

In this article I have shared with you the must-see places you should visit in Ourense and Allariz during a three-day getaway.
In my opinion, these towns offer multiple attractions worth exploring, including their rich culture, artistic heritage, and delicious food.

Last but not least, take a look at these other getaways if you’re looking for more inspiration.

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