Valenca do Minho takes its name from the Rio Minho that runs through this natural and lush region of Northern Portugal. A border town, Valenca lies on the banks of the Rio Minho opposite Tui in Spain.
Valenca is one of the major starting points of the last 100km of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago which gives a little taste of Portugal, before heading onwards to Santiago in Spain.
So, what is there is to see and do in 24 hours in Valenca?
The Valenca Fortaleza
Valenca played a large role in the defence of Northern Portugal from Spain, it’s dominating neighbour. The town underwent a massive fortification, the Valenca Fortaleza, to deter invasion which is still standing to this day. The fortifications are the most impressive in Northern Portugal, providing layers of battlements and bastions, which surround the entire city. Enjoy a pleasant walk around the Valenca Fortaleza and the spectacular views of the Rio Minho and Spain beyond.
The Historial Centre
Inside the fort, the small medieval town is a pleasure to wander around and explore. Valenca has a history of trading in brightly coloured linen and cloth items. Wander around the small shops and market staffs and you’ll be surprised by the beautiful woven-cloth items on offer.
The historical centre has many restaurants to sample and enjoy Portuguese cuisine. Being so close to the Atlantic Ocean, fresh fish and seafood are options, not forgetting a pastell de nata, the legendary Portuguese custard tart. Finish off with a cheese board and a tipple or two of Port, the vinho that gave Portugal its name.
Crossing The Ponte Internacional Bridge
If you are walking the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, then you will need to cross the International Bridge over the Rio Minho that marks the open-border with Spain.
Don´t forget to take a snap of the famous Camino sign as a memory of your journey.
Igreja de Santo Estevao
The Igreja de Santo Estevao is a beautiful church which has a common Portuguese baroque exterior yet it is the interior that will take your breathe away. Make sure to look out for the image of Mary breastfeeding the baby Jesus – an extremely rare image for Portuguese religious art.
If you are walking the Portuguese Camino de Santiago, I hope you enjoy the peaceful and sleepy Valenca before heading into the wilds of Spain.
If you plan to walk the Camino de Santiago, check out my book, A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino de Santiago. I share everything you need to know before you begin your Camino. Read at A Wild Woman’s Guide To The Camino De Santiago or click the link below.
(c) Samantha Wilson 2019. All Rights Reserved.