HomeLIFESTYLEa journey to discover the North

a journey to discover the North

Bragança and Neiva, in Viana do Castelo, are linked by the National 103a crossing that allows you to get to know the North of Portugal in depth.

This road connects the interior of Trás-os-Montes to the coast of Minho and has great tourist potential, as it is a route marked by impressive landscapes, cultural and historical monuments, dams and typical villages. All this transports us to a kind of alternate reality. A time when the pandemic seems to have paused and allows us to travel more peacefully, safely, at our own pace.

The Nacional 103 is, therefore, a line with twists and turns that runs for 260 kilometers and is full of points of interest:

  • It crosses the counties of Miranda do DouroVimioso, BragançaVinhais, Valpaços, KeysBoticas, Montalegre, Vieira do Minho, Póvoa de Lanhoso, Vila Verde, Braga, Barcelos, Esposende and Viana do Castelo;
  • Allows you to discover several protected areas: UNESCO Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve Planalto Iberico, Douro Internacional Natural Park, Montesinho Natural Park, Peneda Gerês National ParkNorth Coast Natural Park;
  • It is a road flanked by different rivers: Douro, Angueira, Sabor, Baceiro, Tuela, Rabaçal, Tâmega, Beça, Rabagão, Cávado, Neiva;
  • Crosses different mountains: Montesinho, Padrela, Larouco, Gerês

Day 1

Rio de Onor, Bragança, Vinhais

So, we begin this journey at the end of the National 103, more precisely in Bragança, where kilometer 260 is located: river of Onorwinner, in 2017, of the 7 Wonders of Portugal in the category of Villages in Protected Areas.

It is a small town typically from Trás-os-Montes, with shale houses darkened, wooden balconies and two floors (the upper one for the family, the lower one for the cattle). It is one of the areas of the country with the greatest biodiversity, where most of Europe’s wild mammals reside.

In Bragança, take the opportunity to visit the Castle and the keep, where legend has it that a princess in love with a Moor was taken prisoner. You can also visit the Museu do Abade de Baçal and the Igreja da Misericórdia, walking peacefully along the walls, covering its entire length and taking the opportunity to absorb all the energy that that historic place has to transmit.

The Biological Park of vineyards it is another winning bet in this very Portuguese route, where you can enjoy beautiful moments with your family. Vinhais is known for its activities related to agriculture, nature, gastronomy, highlighting products such as brunette and Bísaro pork, which result in dishes full of flavor. And, of course, the famous smokehouseor was it not for Vinhais known as the “Capital of Fumeiro”.

Day 2

Póvoa de Lanhoso, Vieira do Minho, Montalegre and Boticas

montalegre
One of the gateways to the fantastic Gerês

The second day of travel along the Nacional 103 begins with Póvoa de Lanhosomore precisely in the castle, where the ruins resist and show that there is still a lot of life to live in those lands.

This place served as a shelter for D. Teresa, mother of D. Afonso Henriques, when, after the battle of S. Mamede, he went into exile in Galicia. One of the cultural, artistic and social hallmarks of this region is filigree, a fine and laborious way of working gold and the best way to discover it is by visiting the Gold Museum, in Aldeia de Baixo, parish of Travassos.

The main highlight in Vieira do Minho it’s really its incredible landscape, which looks more like artistic clippings or paintings on a magnanimous canvas. This makes the county suitable for the practice of outdoor sports, such as mountain bikingclimbing, hiking, trekking… But it is also an area very rich in cultural heritage, marked by a rustic beauty, and by the friendliness and hospitality of its people.

In the heart of Gerês

In full Peneda Gerês National Park, the village of Montalegre still retains all its historic grandeur, especially when we refer to the castle built in the 17th century. XIII, which place it as a strategic point of defense of the territory. Another point of interest not to be missed is the gastronomy, as Montalegre it is famous for the production of sausages and ham, which your appetite will not resist.

the village of apothecaries it contains many activities and places of interest, from gastronomy to culture, passing through heritage and nature. The Nadir Afonso Arts Center stands out, a building of contemporary architecture that is a true tribute to the artist from Trás-os-Montes with maternal roots in Boticas. Also visit the Rural Museum of Boticas, to better understand the history of the place.

Day 3

Braga, Barcelos, Neiva

barcelos

The last day of this road trip along Nacional 103 passes first through Braga, where you can enjoy the beauty of the city, its rich heritage, which combines tradition with innovation, memory with youth, creativity with conservatism. Of course, you should visit the point considered as the standard bearer of the Minho region, the Good Jesus – the oldest Cathedral in Portugal.

In this sense, visiting Braga is almost like taking a trip back in time, where the old city and traditional religiosity coexist with modernity, entrepreneurship and youthful spirit, which are reflected in moments of culture, commerce, gastronomy, industry and services.

We head towards barcelosa place internationally distinguished with the 2019 European Award for Sustainable Cultural Tourism Destination, promoted by the European Cultural Tourism Network, in the category of Contributions from Cultural and Creative Industries (ICCs), with the theme “Contributions of crafts and popular art as ways to more sustainable tourism”.

Therefore, take advantage of part of this last day to discover the natural charms of the territory of Barcelona, ​​which enchants and challenges, both for the diversity of the landscape and for the uniqueness of some places and spaces such as rivers, streams and streams.

Connection to Santiago

We have reached the end of this journey – and the beginning of National 103: the S. Romão de Neivaa small village from Minho whose history is closely linked to the presence of Benedictine monks, not least because the most important monument here is the Monastery, a temple of solid granite structure with walls three meters thick.

Neiva is also crossed by the Camino de Santiago, namely by pilgrims coming from the south. The Monastery also served as accommodation and a place of treatment for those on this spiritual journey.

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