Visiting Northern Portugal

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.

Segment 1: From Vieira do Minho to Valença do Minho.
Valença do Minho is a scenic walled village on the very north of Portugal. The Minho river is the natural border between Portugal and Spain.
I have fond memories of Valença do Minho, as I went there with my father during the summer of 1970.
Minho Fortress-1

Minho’s Fortress

Minho Fortress-3

Walled town

Minho Fortress-2

Cobblestone Streets

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.

Minho Fortress-4.jpg

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.

Minho Fortress-5

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.

Minho Fortress-7

Valença do Minho

Minho Fortress-6

Minho river separates Portugal from Spain

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.

The picture above shows Spain viewed from the Portuguese border.
From Valença do Minho we crossed the bridge by car and went to visit Tui.
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About CeciliArchitect

World Traveler ~ Photographer ~ Social Media Specialist ~ Tourism Vancouver Certified Specialist ~ Independent Tour Manager and Events Coordinator ~ Blogger ~ Architect & Interior Designer (in my previous life)
This entry was posted in Europe, Portugal, Spain, Travel, Tui, Uncategorized, Valença do Minho, Vieira do Minho and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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