Set slightly back from the Miño atop a low hill, the historic core of OURENSE (Orense), one of Galicia’s four provincial capitals, is more attractive and personable than you might expect from the dispiriting urban sprawl that surrounds it. While not a place to spend more than one night – or to break a train or bus journey, as both stations are a considerable way out, across the river – the old quarter does at least offer a handsome and lovingly restored tangle of stepped streets, patrician mansions with escutcheoned doorways, and grand little churches squeezed into miniature arcaded squares. Its centrepiece is a squat, dark Catedral, an imitation of the one in Santiago, which contains a museum of religious odds and ends that’s not really worth bothering with.
A bewildering number of bridges cross the River Miño as it curves extravagantly through Ourense. The oldest is the thirteenth-century Ponte Romana, but the most visually impressive is the new Ponte Milenio, a futuristic road bridge with an undulating pedestrian loop that provides great views.