The Riches of Northern Portugal
Beyond the touristy flavour of mainstream Portugal
Set sail to Portugal to experience a life lined by breath-taking architecture, roaring waves, ancient villages and narrow cobblestone alleyways
Tourists flock to this enchanting town for its beautiful baroque stairway that twirls to Santo Estevao hill and Nossa Senhora dos Remedios Church wondrously tucked amidst Moorish castles and ancient ruins. From the 605m peak of the church, the sprawling view is spectacular. Nearby, the Museu de Lamego is revered for its exhibition of 18th-century pious objects, artefacts mostly collected by bishops. Lamego is the finest destination to saunter around for gothic architecture with vaulted ceilings covered in fresco. A day trip assures a sensuous plunge into the scenic medieval beauty of the town. The epitome of this beauty is found in the quaint Ucanha Bridge, Visigothic Church of Sao Pedro de Balsemao and monastery of Salzedas. At Lamego, you will stumble upon the best dining options and culinary delights.
A walkway that stretches about 8kms, its effect on the mind is most mesmerising and soothing when visited between sunrise and sunset. The linear route through rugged steps and steep uphill leads to a magnificent rural countryside whose scenic beauty knows no bounds. Here, you can traverse the world longest suspension footbridge—Arouca, which spans over 516 meters right above the valley and Paiva River giving you the giddy feeling of hanging suspended in the mid-air. The deck has a transparent grid metal mesh, and experiencing the view beneath is a thrill.
The zenith of Portugal’s beauty is perhaps manifested through the dreamscape of Amarante. With Serra do Marao and Tamega’s high hills in the vicinity, Amarante’s post-card beauty is accentuated manifold with a pinch of Renaissance. The town had once nurtured many artists whose works are now stored in the municipal museum. Neighbourhoods are teeming with Romanesque churches ad mountain villages whose charm is often explored by hiking and wheezing on a cycle. Amarante is also a safe abode for art lovers. Its Museu Municipal Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso, Parque Florestal and Solar dos Magalhaes—a ruin that survived the onslaught by Napoleon’s army, are a few highlights.
Viana do Castelo
The old town is dotted by beautiful, old-world public squares to leisure and witness Portugal’s humdrum life merging into the scenic. Viana do Casteo has many Renaissance, Romanesque, Byzantine, Baroque and Neo-Gothic buildings simultaneously existing amidst the 20th-century buildings.