Cova do Rei Cintolo

Useful Information

Location: Argomoso, Supena, Mondoñedo (Lugo) district. 6,5 km south of Mondoñedo.
Open: not yet open [2007]
Fee: not yet open [2007]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Dimension: L=7,500 m, VR=75 m.
Guided tours:
Bibliography: J J Duran Valsero (2006): Guia de las Cuevas Turisticas de España, 104 pp, 172 illus. SB (Español - Spanish)
pp 82-85 Cova do Rei Cintolo
Mercedes Lamela López (2002): A cerca da Cova do Rei Cintolo, Lucus: Boletín informativo de la Excelentísima Diputación Provincial de Lugo, N°. 46, 2002 , pags. 121-126 (Español - Spanish)
José Villa-Amil y Castro (1873): Antigüedades prehistóricas y célticas de Galicia (Español - Spanish)
Address: Cova do Rei Cintolo, Ayuntamiento de Mondoñedo, Pza. de Concello, s/n., Mondoñedo, Tel: +34-982524000.
Oficina de Turismo de Mondoñedo, Rúa do Progreso, Mondoñedo, Tel: +34-982521102.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1873 José Villa-Amil y Castro discovers various bones in the cave entrance, which are donated to the Museo de la Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Santiago.
1918 M. Amor Meilán classifies the bones as Bos primigenius.
1893 exploration by the lawyer César Alvarez Cascos and three companions, published in the newspaper La Voz de Luarca.
1896 exploration report republished in the book Cavernas y Simas de España by Gabriel Puig y Larraz.
1945 dagger discovered J. M. González-Redondo.
1946 dagger dated to be of Celtic origin by J. Trapero y Pardo in the Boletín de la Comisión de Monumentos de Lugo.
1954 explorations by the Club Montañeros Celtas.
1968 survey by the Club Montañeros Celtas.
1970 survey by the G.E. Poceiros de Santiago.
NOV-1970 first visit by the grupo de montaña "Rey Gerión" from La Coruña.
1972 start of explorations by the S.I.E.-G.E. Aliga from Barcelona.
1975 publication of an article and a map containing 3,427 m of about 5,000 m by S.I.E.-G.E. Aliga .
1975 start of explorations by Grupo Espeleológico Universidad Laboral La Coruña (G.E.U.L.C.).
1976 the Concello de Mondoñedo erects an iron gate at the entrance to close and protect the cave.
1979 G.E.U.L.C. stops the exploration with 5,190 m surveyed and 6,500 m explored.
1984 Grupo Espeleológico Villalba discovers bones.
1990 the Departamento de Historia I de la Universidad de Santiago analyzes the bones to be of domestic animals (Bos taurus, Sus domesticus and Ovis arie) and one wild animal (Cervus elaphus).
2002 archaeological excavation by the Universidad de Santiago.
2006 start of guided tours by the Concello de Mondoñedo (council of Mondoñedo).


The Cova do Rei Cintolo (Cave of King Cintolo) is the longest cave of Galicia. It is long known, but the official discoverer is José Villa-Amil y Castro who found some bear bones in the cave entrance. He describes the cave in the same year in his book Antigüedades prehistóricas y célticas de Galicia (Prehistoric and Celtic Remains of Galicia). This is the first written account of the cave.

The cave was named after the legend of King Cintolo. He was the ruler of the Tar valley and had a beautiful daughter named Xila. Xila was in love with a count, but a wizard was jealous, and as she rejected him, he buried the whole kingdom of Cintolo inside the Earth. But the beautiful princess still hopes that a brave knight returns to bring the country back to life.

The cave system, three parallel passages with various connections, was explored and mapped during decades by various different caving clubs. For a long time, until 1976, the cave was open and could be visited by anyone. As a result there were some destructions, and so the Concello de Mondoñedo erected an iron gate at the entrance. Still the exploration by various caving groups continued.

The latest development is the proposed development as a show cave. The Concello de Mondoñedo started to offer guided tours through the cave in its natural state. Now the development as a show cave is planned. A number of 40,000 visitors per year are estimated, which would bring tourist income to the rural town. This would be the first and only show cave in Galicia.