Amarante is a wonderful city in the north of Portugal. To the east, the huge mass of the Serra do Marão protrudes, while the Tâmega Valley is lined with high hills covered with a forest. The postcard picture in Amarante is the bridge of São Gonçalo on the Tâmega next to the Renaissance monastery of the same name. Amarante is a city that brought many important artists and writers to Portugal, especially at the beginning of the 20th century, and whose works are presented in the magnificent city museum. Nearby are Romanesque churches, picturesque mountain villages and cycling and hiking trails to immerse yourself in the picturesque landscape of the Tâmega Valley.
“Amar” is the Portuguese verb for love, which is very apt as the first part of the name of this attractive city. Amarante, a 4th century BC settlement BC, lies in the rich agricultural areas of the Minho region, the northern part of the country that is responsible for the grapes of Vinho Verde, the young, sparkling, “green” wine that is unique in Portugal. The river Tâmega flows through the city, which you cross over the striking arched bridge Ponte São Gonçalo. It is said that this bridge helped local heroes fend off a French attack in the early 19th century. Nowadays, neat cafes and restaurants make the most of their dreamy location on the river.
A famous son of Amarante was the artist Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, who created some of the internationally acclaimed Cubist paintings in his short life at the beginning of the 20th century. His work is on display at the local museum, although in his day he exhibited alongside artists such as Modigliani and much of his work is still in Paris, where he spent his most productive years.
A very cozy, typically Portuguese town, Amarante is the ideal destination for those looking for a relaxing holiday and the opportunity to discover the northern region of Portugal as it is very close to Braga, Porto and Vila Real. Even today, Amarante is known beyond its borders for its handicrafts. Knitwear, pottery and wickerwork are still traditionally operated. Vacationers shouldn’t miss out on trying the city’s sweets in the cafes and patisseries.
impressive fortress city
The small town of Marvão, surrounded by fortress walls, is located deep in the hinterland of Portugal, only a stone’s throw from the Spanish border and is nicknamed the Eagle’s Nest, which is hidden in the hills. The place is located on a large granite rock with a wonderful view over the wide plains of the Alentejo region and is one of the most beautiful areas in all of southern Europe. The 13th century fortress walls are almost completely intact and Marvão is accessed through a narrow medieval archway, near which is a strange-shaped Moorish-looking building known as the Jerusalem Chapel. Steep stone-paved streets meander past whitewashed, flower-decked houses, with the most beautiful wrought-iron balconies that can be seen in this part of Portugal.
Marvão was founded in the 9th century by Ibn-Marúan, a Muladi (Iberian who converted to Islam) who plays an important role in Al Mossassa, the Islamic festival held in Marvão every October. At the center of this lovely postcard village is the old castle, which seems to rise from the living rock on which it was built. Perched on a granite base, the walls are home to countless kestrels and offer breathtaking 360-degree views of one of the most strikingly picturesque parts of Portugal. The 865 meter climb to Marvão, the highest place in Portugal, starts near Portagem, which is itself a place with a long and exciting history. The four-arched Roman bridge marks the place where Jews who fled Spain at the time of the Inquisition,
The Portuguese village of Marvão today has fewer than a thousand inhabitants, but was of great importance in the Middle Ages and a vital defensive bastion during the frequent battles with neighboring Spain. But not only with Spain. During a checkered history, the Portuguese also fought against Moors and French here. The view from the keep is impressive; to the south are the Serra de São Mamede and the beautiful city of Estremoz, while in the north the mountains of the Serra da Estrela with Castelo de Vide in the northwest and finally Spain in the northeast. There is also a lot to discover in the area, after all, Marvao is part of a nature park of the same name.