A few days from ending my road trip to Northern Portugal, I visited the wonderful town of Lamego and some of the most amazing villages close to Douro river. Don’t miss my visit to unique locations and discover the authenticity of Alto Douro Wine Region, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
São Leonardo de Galafura
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As you may already know, I love hiking through walking routes and discover the most amazing viewpoints. Because of that, it’s only natural that my day began with a visit to the viewpoint (Miradouro) of São Leonardo de Galafura where I could admire the lovely Douro Valley and the vineyard terraces – this is where it all begins for the production of Port wine.
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To be honest, I wasn’t amazed with the beauty of this particular location – one of the reasons why this happened is because I had visited Douro region in the previous days, when returning from Douro International Natural Park, and the other reason is because I went on a Douro cruise.
After having visited São Gabriel viewpoint in Vila Nova de Foz Côa (a place that I loved), maybe I was hoping to get the same feeling here – my advice is that you visit São Leonardo de Galafura viewpoint first and only then visit the other parts of Douro Valley.
Information: consider doing this guided tour that will show you this beautiful region through the magnificent viewpoints that offer breathtaking views. You will also have the opportunity to get to know more about the history of Port wine and other Douro wines during your visits to two wine estates.
In addition to savouring the magnificent wine, know that during this tour you will have the opportunity to travel along one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world, located between the locations of Peso da Régua and Pinhão. In the latter, you will make a stop to admire the beautiful Pinhão train station where you can find glazed-tile panels depicting landscapes of the Douro as well as other aspects.
I continued our day with a visit to the small village of Tarouca to admire São João de Tarouca Monastery, the first monastery built in Portugal (1152) by the Cistercian Order.
As you can see, there were some walls left when I visited the site and reconstruction was in place. However, archaeological diggings and refurbishment ended in November 2013 so part of the monastery was open to the public.
One of the best experiences I had during my road trip in Northern Portugal was at this monastery’s church. During my visit, a man approached me and was kind enough to show me the church.
Visiting this church would take me about 15 minutes but it lasted two hours. I like to know the story behind every place I visit and, this way, feel and imagine how it was living there centuries ago.
The way the man told me about the church’s history made me travel back in time. I could tell that he was enjoying that moment, telling me what he knew about this place.
To conclude my visit to this monastery, we still had time to talk about religion, the differences between the past and the present and what the future has in store for us.
If you visit São João de Tarouca Monastery, I hope you have the chance to meet him – it will definitely be worth it and it will be an experience to remember!
My next stop on my road trip was Ucanha, a small village that has as its main attraction a Roman bridge and a tower used for protection and, at the same time, for collecting fees from those crossing the bridge – definitely a place to visit!
Lamego was my next destination – a wonderful town where I took the opportunity to have a picnic just next to the majestic Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Remedies Sanctuary).
The construction of this sanctuary began in 1750 and ended in 1905. If you have the chance, visit this sanctuary between the 6th and the 8th September to admire and be part of the huge pilgrimage in honour of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios.
I then headed towards the historic centre where I contemplated the beautiful Cathedral of Lamego, founded in 1129. Take your time to discover this place because it’s very beautiful.
My visit to Lamego ended in the medieval part of the town, located uphill, where I could admire the beautiful castle and the narrows streets nearby.
If you’re thinking of visiting Lamego and its surroundings, then you should consider a stay at Casa Relógio de Sol , a wonderful place located between Peso da Régua and Lamego.
One of the things I loved the most in Lamego was losing myself in narrow streets, full of history, and imagine the life of those living here in the time of kings and queens.
At the time I left Lamego, I started to realise that my road trip to Northern Portugal was coming to an end – I am used to have this feeling of “saudade” when I am away from my home country, but this time the feeling came before I left Portugal.
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