The Bishop’s town

Also called Enriba do Eo (above the river Eo), Ribadeo is the capital of the beautiful region of Mariña Oriental, bordering the Principality of Asturias. It has one of the greatest natural attractions of Biscay.

Plan your stay in Ribadeo

Nature and gastronomy turned this town into a vacation destination since the nineteenth century. The visit to the town can take half a day, while the path of Castropol and the other bank of the river can be done in the afternoon. The next day, be on the lookout for tickets to visit the natural monument Beach cathedrals. Possible excursions in the area highlight the one-day visit to the historic capital of Lugo, Mondoñedo; Eastbound you can tour the Asturian towns of Tapia de Casariego and Navia.

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Brief history

The village was originally formed around the mouth of the river in Porcillán and Cabanela, in an area with excellent natural conditions for the shelter, but in its early days was sparsely populated. For this reason, in 1182 the bishop of the diocese Mondoñedo moved there. In the thirteenth century King Ferdinand III colonized Ribadeo, allowing the celebration of a weekly market that has been held throughout the history of Ribadeo and today continues to be organized.

It was property of the Crown until it was given by Enrique II of Castile to the French knight Pierre de Villeines, member of the “white companies” that allowed him to reach the throne. After various successions, this county would end up being inherited by the House of Alba. The economic splendor of Ribadeo in the past and the proliferation of Indian buildings in the twentieth century are some of the reasons for the richness of its cultural heritage and the declaration of its old town as Cultural Interest in 2004.

Archaeological heritage

Starting with the archaeological heritage, there is much to see in Ribadeo. Up to eight locations (VI BC – IV AD) have been identified, both on the coast and inland, among which the Castro das Grobas near Insua, in the parish of Vilaselan, or in the same parish, the oldest Louselas, the Palaeolithic site of about 300,000 years is possibly the oldest of the Cantabrian. One of the most important remains found in this region, in the castro das Grobas is the diadem Ribadeo (currently scattered in the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid and other museums), considered one of the pieces of greater importance of peninsular military goldsmith , that according to neighbors, was found by a local farmer and sold in Madrid for an ounce of gold.

Religious heritage

As for the religious heritage, the oldest preserved in Ribadeo building is the Chapel of Atalaya or the Holy Trinity, despite reforms early twentieth centuries, dating from about 1182, in times of repopulation undertaken by the king Ferdinand II. It has a single nave with triumphal arch, the chancel and fourteenth century Gothic doorway with zigzag decoration. Inside stands a baroque altarpiece with the image of the Holy Trinity and a curious baptismal font in a spiral on a Gothic column. The chapel also features prominently in local history, first as a defensive bulwark, as indicated by the guns settled there, and also because it held open council meeting and gathered ancient guilds place. From its picturesque location you can enjoy panoramic views over the estuary of Ribadeo and the Asturian bank stocks.

Other two emblematic religious buildings are the Santuario das Virtudes, belonging to the fourteenth century and retains many medieval elements and a great set of wall paintings with scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary and the Convent of Santa Clara, whose oldest parts are its single nave church of XV and XVIII a beautiful cloister.

Pazos and towers

Civil assets include the pazos (manors) concentrated in the villa. One of the oldest is the Pazo de Cedofeita, founded by Lope García de Cedofeita between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth, built around him on board, with esquinazos and granite lintels and surrounded by a walled enclosure. In the eighteenth century stood in the center Neoclassical Pazo de Ibáñez, residence of the Marquis of Sargadelos (driver of the city in the twentieth century) and current headquarters of the ribadense Town Hall, which is composed of a portico with three arches with balcony Elizabethan and four balconies triangular pediments. In the twentieth century, he rose which is the most representative of Ribadeo building, the Tower Moreno (1905), named in honor of their owners, Pedro and Juan Moreno Ulloa, two brothers emigrants to America who managed to make a fortune . Indiana eclectic style architecture and modern decoration, the tower was built with a mixed structure of concrete and iron. particularly calls attention crowning the tower with a dome supported by four caryatids and glazed ceramic roof, symbol of the nobility of the property and its promoters, clearly related to the Casa de les Punxes (1903-1905) by Josep Puig i Cadafalch.


Tower of Moreno

Military heritage

In the field of military heritage, we recommend visiting the Castle or Fort of San Damiano (early XVII). Located at the mouth of the estuary and intended to defend the port, it build by the Marquis of Cerralbo. It is now a town museum with archaeological content and meeting cultural uses, preserving its old factory only its outer wall with the bastion, the windows, the moat and buttresses. Around the building is a public park from which you access the reformed coal loading dock.

Natural spectacles

At the edge of the cliffs of Ribadeo, where the sea carved a stone arch known as Pena Furada (holed), the road continues to Pancha Island, where a lighthouse stands, with incomparable natural views.

And being in the ribadense coast, you can not miss the Beach of the Cathedrals, located between this town and the town of Foz. It is known by this name because its cliffs have much resemblance to the buttresses of Gothic cathedrals. The most characteristic feature of this beach are the stone arches and caves that form in the rocks of the cliffs. The monumentality of the place seems to emerge petrified of nowhere in the middle of the sand, the arches can measure up to 30 meters high and have a quite impressive thickness. The visit to this beach must be during low tide to access the sand.


Pancha Island
Cathedral Beach

Practical data


43° 32′ 14″ N, 7° 2′ 35″ W


Lugo 87 km, Gijón 130 km, Santiago de Compostela 170 km, Madrid 583 km


0-100 m


5230 (2013)

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