Recently I went on a road trip to visit some other beautiful places in Northern Portugal: the wonderful village of Gimonde and the beautiful city of Bragança. This city is the main city in this Portuguese region and is only a few kilometres away from Montesinho Natural Park and Spain.
Discover the village of Gimonde
My itinerary in the northern Portuguese region, Bragança, began in the beautiful small village of Gimonde. This village, with little more than 300 inhabitants, is located in the most amazing place, where two rivers come together: Onor river and Sabor river.
There were several reasons that took me and take tourists to this picturesque village throughout the year: the warmth of its inhabitants, breathtaking landscape, monuments and also the amazing gastronomy of this region, of which I must point out the wonderful smoked foods and the delicious jams.
Head to Gimonde, just 7 km away from Bragança, and take the opportunity to relax and explore this magnificent village, like I did.
I strolled through the narrow streets until I got to the church. Here, I found a breathtaking view of the surroundings; on my way down, I found a milestone noting the fact that this village is a waypoint in the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago).
- Location: Rua da Costa, 5300-553, Gimonde, Bragança
I headed down to the river where I found a beautiful Roman bridge fully made of schist and far away I saw another bridge, a modern granitic bridge.
Between the two bridges I could admire a steppingstone, basically a series of raised stones used to step when crossing this river. This steppingstone gave and still gives the possibility to the inhabitants to cross the river from one shore to the other – I had the chance to see an old couple crossing without any problems, but still, I preferred to cross the river through the Roman bridge.
It was in Gimonde that I spent the night and had lunch and dinner in my first day of this road trip. I stayed at one of the rooms of Casa da Mestra (affiliate link) that belongs to the group A. Montesinho Turismo – a rustic house fully refurbished and with all the amenities you’ll need to spend a great night, both on warm and cold days.
Every room has free Wi-Fi, private WC, air-conditioning and access to a communal kitchen and a shared living room with fireplace for the cold days – definitely I had a good night’s sleep!
I had my meals just next to Casa da Mestra, in the famous Restaurante Típico D. Roberto. Here, I had the chance to try the wonderful smoked products like blood sausage and the smoked ham; the desserts were also divine – I ordered chestnut pudding and cheese pudding.
If you want to get to know the beautiful village of Gimonde, then watch this short video:
Getting to know Bragança
After discovering Gimonde, I headed to the beautiful city of Bragança – there were many places to visit and I only had a few hours.
As you can imagine, I decided to begin my visit to the city by going to the amazing castle. Bragança’s castle is located in the historic centre of the city and near the shores of Fervença river and is considered to be one of the most beautiful and better preserved Portuguese castles.
If you want, you can leave your car in the centre and then make your way to the castle on foot; if you can’t or don’t want to, you can instead drive your car to the interior of the citadel – here you’ll find some parking spaces. Much like the castle of Óbidos, Braganças’s castle also has a citadel.
My first thoughts were visiting the donjon, however it was lunch time and so I decided to get to know the citadel and make a stroll on the ramparts. One of the things you must do is definitely stroll through the full extent of the ramparts because you’ll have the opportunity to admire the landscape, Fervença river, the park and part of the city.
Apart from the 2 metre thickness, an interesting detail about the ramparts is that they were made with schist, one of the most abundant rocks in this region. This characteristic is also present in the donjon and other places.
After the long stroll, I decided to climb down the ramparts and walk through the citadel looking for a place to have lunch – I found the restaurant Tasca do Zé Tuga. I recommend that you have lunch here because it is located in the citadel and because it uses quality products typical of Bragança and of this region in Northern Portugal.
After lunch, I finally had the chance to visit the donjon‘s interior. This majestic 17-metre wide and 34-metre high tower is the place where you can find the Military Museum of Bragança, one of the most complete military museums in the country.
When you visit this museum, you’ll find several military pieces from different occasions, of which I can point out some original pieces from the African campaigns and some from the First World War.
- Site: www.cm-braganca.pt
After having visited the beautiful donjon, I went to the church of Santa Maria – a Roman style church, considered to be the oldest church in Bragança. After that, I left the castle and went to the park nearby to relax – this is the perfect place to rest after the long walks on the ramparts or if you want to have a picnic.
My visit to Bragança was almost over, knowing that there was much more to see, however I still had time to drive to the amazing viewpoints in São Bartolomeu shrine.
You have two options if you want to go to this place: you can drive there (it’ll take you around 5 minutes), or, if you’re the adventurous type, you can walk there in a demanding 2.7 km distance.
When you get to São Bartolomeu shrine, you’ll soon get mesmerised by the breathtaking views over the city. I also realised that the ramparts had the shape of a heart. Here you can also rest or have a picnic because there is a park in the surrounding area.
To conclude, go to the other viewpoint, just 600 metres away from the shrine. Apart from the amazing views over the city and the outskirts, this place has a statue of St. Benedict, the patron saint of Bragança.
- Location: Estrada de São Bartolomeu, 5300, Bragança
To sum up, I can say that this itinerary through Northern Portugal was definitely worth it – I had the chance to discover the beautiful village of Gimonde, located in Montesinho Natural Park, and the amazing city of Bragança, with its castle, its citadel, its narrow streets, the viewpoints and much more!
However, I can’t finish this article without pointing out some other places that you should visit if you have the chance.
Inside the castle and after visiting the donjon and Santa Maria church, you should also visit the Iberian Museum of the Mask and Costume. This museum shows to its visitors several traditions from Bragança but also from Northern Portugal.
Outside the castle, you can drive to Abade do Baçal Museum. This museum is another place you should visit since it has a huge collection of religious art, archaeology and jewellery.
Finally, and if you have the chance, visit Graça Morais Contemporary Art Centre, designed by the renowned architect Souto Moura. Here you’ll find several exhibitions from national and international artists, including some artwork from the painter of whom the centre was named after.
My journey to Bragança has ended but the promise to return has stayed!
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