The Province of Ourense is located in the most western corner of Europe, in the region of Galicia,the leading destination for thermal tourism in Spain. The area has been an important thermal region since pre- Roman times, thanks to the abundant presence of hot springs, that emerge in a green landscape of rivers and valleys. Since the beggining of the 19th century plenty of new hotels and spas were built in the area, establishments that became places of recreation where new leisure areas were included, improving their facilities and, combining tradition and modernity.
These days, the Province of Ourense is renowned for its healing waters, used both medicinally and for relaxation in strictly-regulated state of the art facilities, some of which are among the most visited in Spain. The surrounding landscape, cuisine, leisure activities, cultural heritage and the waters themselves combine to make the perfect thermal experience.
INORDE Provincial Tourist Board
The Province of Ourense has a very long tradition in thermalism. The origin of the use of its mineral springs could be identified even in the Pre-Roman times, if we consider the local presence of ancient indigenous divinities (e.g. Revve Anabaraego found in the As Burgas baths at Ourense) associated to these waters. But, obviously, it was the Romans who captured and used the thermal waters of the province for health and wellbeing.
Ancient thermal heritage is reflected in many places throughout the Province – for example, Ourense, Verín, and Baños de Molgas were founded because of their thermal waters. Architectural remains are found at As Burgas, Baños de Molgas, Riocaldo; Bande, and there are several Roman roads linking thermal towns,sun as the via XVIII and the Roman Road to connect Bande with Lugo.
Ancient (and modern) place names are associated with the waters – for example Aquae Querquennae became Baños de Bande, while Aquae Originae is now known as Riocaldo.
Even after the Roman Empire fell, the mineral waters of the region were still seen to be valuable. Medieval documentation describes the references to these waters and their use (for example, in Aguas de Melon; Prexigueiro; or Baños de Molgas which is said to have been visited by kings in the Medieval period). Ourense is a good example of where the Roman monuments surrounding the springs were adapted for use in the 16th and 17th centuries.
Historical documents show that the reputation of the quality of the mineral waters of the Province increased greatly after the 16th century, as export of the waters started to increase – to Spain and Portugal as well as many other countries. Cabreiroa’s mineral water is still widely exported today, while other mineral waters also have an international reputation.
The quality and appreciation of the Province’s mineral springs was reinforced by Royal Mandate in 1816, which established the medical control and supervision of the main springs of Spain to improve the hygiene and comfort in their use and exploitation. Consequently, new hotels and spas were spread.
Ourense Province's Historic Spas
Date of creation
- Balneario de Cortegada (1818)
- Balneario de Requeixo, Vilaza, 1900
- Balneario de Partovia, (1840)
- Gran Balneario de Carballiño (1900)
- Balneario de Sousas and Caldeliñas (1859)
- Balneario de Cabreiroá, 1908
- Baños de Molgas, 1876