In the 10th century, the Counts of Présaras founded a double family monastery in these lands. This small community became part of the Cistercian Order in the 12th century by the decision of Alfonso VII, a great defender of this order. It later became part of the Fortieth Congregation of Castile, which became a very active community. In the 19th century, the confiscation of ecclesiastical properties led to the abandonment and deterioration of the building, but thanks to the purchase of the building by Cardinal Payá, its destruction was avoided. In the 1950s, it received a new religious community, this time from the Benedictine Order, and who would partially restore it. At present, the Xunta de Galicia (Galician regional government) has favoured another important restoration work, aimed at the church and other monastic buildings.
After its medieval flourishing, Sobrado experienced a period of splendour between the 15th and 18th centuries, which also entailed the loss of a large part of the Romanesque masonry in order to adapt to the prevailing aesthetics of the time. The refectory, the kitchen and the chapel of San Juan, attached to the north arm of the transept, are some of the few spaces preserved from the medieval period. The complex also has three cloisters: the so-called Great Cloister, whose construction began in the 16th century and which was completed in the 18th century; the Cloister of the Hospice, also known as the Pilgrims' Cloister, built in the 16th century; and the Cloister of the Processions or the Cloister of the Faces, due to its decoration with medallions with busts of different characters. The latter is the work of the 16th and 18th centuries, it's built over the original Cistercian cloister and is connected to the surviving parts of the aforementioned medieval monastery.
The monastery church was transformed from the 17th century onwards to become a Baroque construction. It has a Latin cross floor plan and three naves in the main body, the central one being of greater proportion. The design of the façade is the work of Pedro de Monteagudo. Inside, the chapels of the Magdalena and the Rosary stand out, as well as the Renaissance sacristy.
It was declared a National Historic-Artistic Monument in 1931 and 2015; as it forms part of the Northern Way, it has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.