Visiting Valença do Minho
While we were staying at “Casa da Cuqueira” (Vieira do Minho, Portugal) we went on a day trip all the way to Spain.
It is not far (less than two hours driving) and we loved our day trip in a wonderfully sunny day.
Valença do Minho top attractions:
The fortress: This is the most important attraction of the town as it is one of the most important military fortifications in Europe. The walls are approximately 5km long and it’s possible to walk along it.
The fortress dates from the 13rd century, and it was built to defend the village from Spanish invaders. The fortress has been attacked several times, specially in 1643 by Spain and again during the 19th century by the Napoleonic troupes and lastly during the Portuguese Civil War.
By the end of the 19th century peace returned to the region and the Fortress had major restoration done along the last century.
We walked along the walls and the small streets with many shops selling cotton products.
Historical Town Center: The town center is located inside the walls’ perimeter with beautiful constructions, pebbled streets and tiled facades. Several churches can be visited, and the Church of Saint Estevan (Igreja de Santo Estevão) is one of the prettiest.
Capela de Bom Jesus has a barroco and neoclassical style and should not be missed as well.
The first Portuguese to be canonized by the Vatican, São Teotônio, is the main saint of the town. São Teotônio was born in Valença do Minho in 1082. He can be seen in a beautiful sculpture in one of the squares located in the historical town center.
Shopping: Several stores selling intricate embroideries, table cloths, wood sandals (tamancos portugueses) and other arts and crafts. The town gets a lot of visitors, specially from Spain, looking for good quality and affordable prices.
Wine, Wine, Wine…
Portugal is well known by having “green wine”. Not the “green” variety of an Eco Wine as some could think… 🙂 but green meaning “young”. So, the popular Portuguese green wine in reality means Portuguese Young Wines.
The “vinho verde” (green wine) can be red (tinto), rosé or white (branco). I recommend you try all of them, specially the two best varieties that are “Alvarinho” and “Loureiro”.
While visiting Minho, do as the locals and ask to drink from a “Malga”. This is a special wine cup used by local people instead of the traditional wine glasses.