In the Minho region, in the north of Portugal, you can't miss exploring the valley of the river that gives its name to the region. The Minho River is born in Spain, in the Meira mountain range, and travels about 340 kilometers until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean. In its last 75 kilometers, the River forms the border between Portugal and Spain.
Along the Minho Valley you can find several Portuguese villages that are worth exploring and where you will be able to spend a few days of relaxation.
The region of Alvarinho
This region is also known for producing the most appreciated Portuguese green wine: Alvarinho. It is in Melgaço and Monção that this kind of wine is produced, unique in the world and ideal to drink with fish and seafood or in a simple refreshing pause on a hot day.
In your visit to Melgaço, visit the "Solar do Alvarinho" and try the different varieties of Green Wine. Set out to explore the rest of the region, extremely fresh and green. Nearby, it is worth visiting the Fiães Monastery and the Churches of Our Lady of Orada and Paderne - all Romanesque monuments - as well as the traditional village of Castro Laboreiro, whose foundation dates back to the Iron Age and gives its name to a canine breed that is native to this region.
The fortified city of Monção offers pleasant terraces and viewpoints. Relax on the terrace of the Neris and stroll along the seventeenth century walls that guard the historic center, where it is worth visiting the monuments of the Mother Church, of the Church of Mercy and of the Church of Santo António dos Capuchos. In the surrounding, highlight goes also to the Church of Longos Vales, a precious example of Romanesque architecture, and the noble Palace of Brejoeira, where Alvarinho is produced.
Vila Nova de Cerveira and Caminha
Founded in the 14th century by D. Dinis, Vila Nova de Cerveira preserves many monuments that bear witness to a rich past. You will also find the Minho River Aquamuseum in the area of the Castelinho, which promotes and disseminates the natural and cultural heritage associated with this stream, showing the diversity of existing natural environments in the region - area of fresh, brackish and marine water, interdital zone, dunes, marshes and Mountain streams, among others. In Castelinho you can also enjoy the pools, children's playground and climbing park and a refreshing picnic area, ideal for shading families from the stuffiest summer days.
In Caminha, near the border with Spain, there is a ferry that links the two sides of the river every day. In the middle of the estuary, on a small island, you can visit the ruins of the Fort of Ínsua, built in the 15th century to defend the entrance to the area. At the river beach of Foz do Minho, there are private boats that take the visitors over there. In addition to tourists, there are those who go to Ínsua for the mussels, limpets and for the crabs and make the trip throughout the year, just as the conditions of the sea allow it.
Rest on the river banks or venture into extreme sports
Have sunbaths in the river near Caminha, the National Camarido Forest - whose pine trees were planted by D. Dinis King. If you prefer salt water, just walk along the water's edge to find the Atlantic. At a distance of 3 km kilometers, there is Moledo beach. While the former is more frequented by locals, by campers and by those who look for peace, the latest is the holiday destination of illustrious figures in Portugal and a favorite spot for kite surfing.
If you like to practice sports in the wild, you really have to step on the Rio Minho Green way, an 17Km long ecological route, the first one in Portugal to make use of deactivated railways, connecting the international bridge between Monção and Salvaterra to Valença.
In sections where you can, move closer to the river and observe the art of fishing. Allowed on vessels between Caminha and Monção, in the section until Melgaço, it is in these stone walls erected in the river bed by experienced hands that lamprey is captured.
Coupled with the tasty Alvarinho, you also have the magnificent cuisine of the region. When visiting the valley of the Minho River, it is almost mandatory to taste corn bread, sausages, cod, catfish, trout and shad, cooked in several ways. For those who enjoy good meat, it is almost a sin not to try the famous "sarrabulho" and "rojões".
Schedule your visit to the Valley of Minho now. Get to know the best places to stay in and contact us to help you to draw up an unforgettable visiting plan that, in the end, will make you want to explore more of Porto and the North of Portugal.