The river Selmo, which gives its name to this valley, is a small mountain river where huge stones are bathing in crystalline waters.
The Selmo, taking its source in Galicia in the Sierra del Caurel, enters into the region of the Bierzo running through solemn mountains populated with oak trees and chestnut trees. Along it in the valley secluded from civilization, some very few villages can be found, hardly affecting the quiet flow of the river with their reduced activities. Their very old houses of slate are resisting, as they can, the passing of time and the deserting of the people.
You can reach this village driving from San Fiz do Seo or Vega de Valcarce. In Barjas it is recommended to visit the Forge of Serviz, a keystone construction, houses the Banzao and the Banzadillo, possibly the best preserved piece of the entire Bierzo region.
It lies in the old land of Aguiar and Friera, watered by the river Selmo. It is mostly a chestnut trees area, the biggest within whole Europe and a centenarian and natural pantry for its inhabitants.
It is standing out of the Peña del Seo, which harbor Oencia and the Encina de la Sierra de la Lastra.
In the XI and XII centuries, this was an entrance into the Bierzo area, well protected from the Castle of Aguiar. In Oencia you shall not miss to visit the church, the most interesting of the whole region for its construction but also its graceful bell tower. It also has an extended garden and groves of chestnut trees, but the quarries are like open wounds in its mounts of oak trees and heath.
The place is situated at a strategic point for the visit of the Sierra de la Lastra and the Peña de Seo, and a departing point for diverse hiking routes.