A few days from ending our road trip to Northern Portugal, we visited the wonderful town of Lamego and some of the most amazing villages close to Douro river. Don’t miss our 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
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 we could admire the lovely Douro Valley and the vineyard terraces – this is where it all begins for the production of Port wine.
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 the 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 in here – my advice is that you visit São Leonardo de Galafura viewpoint and only then visit the other parts of Douro Valley.
We 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 the monastery’s church. During our visit, a man approached us and was kind enough to show us the church. Visiting this church would take us about 15 minutes but it lasted for 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 us about the church’s history made us travel back in time. We could tell that he was enjoying that moment with us, telling us what he knew about this place.
To conclude our 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!
Our next stop on our 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 our next destination – a wonderful town where we took the opportunity to have a picnic just next to the majestic Santuário de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Remedies Sanctuary).
We then headed towards the historic centre where we contemplated the beautiful Cathedral of Lamego, founded in 1129. Take your time to discover this place because it’s very beautiful.
Our visit to Lamego ended in the medieval part of the town, located uphill, where we could admire the beautiful castle and the narrows streets nearby.
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 realize 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…
Are you going to visit Lamego and Douro Valley? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room and your car by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
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