Magnificent fortresses stand on beautiful hills in the province of Pontevedra as a testimony of the former splendour of ancient times. Due to its privileged location, they were used to protect and defend the province against enemy attacks. A symbol of power in the Middle Ages, today the castles of As Rías Baixas become the perfect starting point to travel back in time and discover first-hand the history of this destination.
The Sobroso Castle was once the setting of many great battles and is surrounded by a unique landscape. Moreover, it is one of the most important examples of the fortified heritage in the province of Pontevedra. It is perched on a hill in the village of Vilasobroso, in the town of Mondariz, at more than 300 metres above sea level. This majestic fortress stands out both for its beauty and its perfect state of conservation.
The fortress is surrounded by a large forest park, which includes both native and exotic plant species. If you want to enjoy the natural landscape and the stunning views, you can walk along its botanical trail.
Built in the 12th century, the fortified complex consists of a 140-metre long outer wall, a tower with a rectangular floor plan and the residential area, consisting of two levels. The top floor for the nobility and the lower floor for the guardroom. Today, the castle houses the Centre for recovery of Popular Culture, which has a permanent exhibition of clothing and tools that used to belong to the traditional trades.
Some of the figures that played an important role in the history of the province of Pontevedra have been linked to this castle, which was the setting for power struggles. In 1117, Queen Urraca was sieged inside the castle by her sister Dona Teresa and the supporters of her son Alfonso, who would later be the first King of Portugal. According to the legend, Queen Urraca managed to flee from the dungeon through an underground passage. Then, Pelayo Muñiz was empowered to take possession of the castle in the name of the King. After the Catholic Monarchs’ accession to the throne, it would become the residence of several noble families such as the Sobroso, the Sarmiento and the Sotomayor, being the last two families confronted for the property of the fortress.
Due to its privileged location by the Miño River, it was used as a strategic point by the Archbishopric of Tui to control the communications between inland and the sea, in a setting where nature and heritage are perfectly combined.
The Soutomaior Castle
The Soutomaior Castle is the gem of the fortified heritage in As Rías Baixas. It has witnessed battles, conspiracies, power struggles among noble families, and it was visited by prominent personalities. Over history, the castle has lived periods of splendour and decadence. Today, this majestic building, located in the town of Soutomaior, on a hill at the bottom of the Ría de Vigo, is living its golden age, and it is on the way to become an international hallmark for tourism.
Surrounding this magnificent and outstanding building, you can find a beautiful garden, recognised as an International Camellia Garden of Excellence. It boasts hundred-year-old trees and a valuable collection of camellia trees, whose flowers can be seen during... [READ MORE]