Discovering the Minho River valley

Explore the trails in Minho and the Portuguese villages along this border river to its mouth, and its main highlights.

AquaMuseum all rights reserved

Viana Locals all rights reserved

Valença do Minho City Council all rights reserved

Vila Nova de Cerveira City Council all rights reserved


The Minho River is a good excuse for relaxing in the north of the country. Explore the trails in Minho and the Portuguese villages along this border river to its mouth, and its main highlights.

Why go

  • Natural landscape
  • Gastronomy and Wines
  • Thermal baths
  • Water sports
  • History
  • Heritage
  • Beaches

Cycle along the Caminha Cycle Trail along the Minho River, in Monção and Melgaço, visit the Aquamuseu in Vila Nova de Cerveira, and stroll ion the National Woods of Camarido, in Caminha.

The Minho River flows along 300 km until it reaches Caminha. The natural border between Portugal and Spain lies between Melgaço and the river mouth.

In the land of Alvarinho

The town of Melgaço surrounds the castle built by the first king of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques, in the 12th century. Here, you can visit Solar do Alvarinho and taste the varieties of “Vinho Verde”, unique in the world and perfect to go with fish and seafood, or simply for a refreshing break on a hot day.

Explore the region, extremely fresh and green. Nearby, visit the Monastery of Fiães and the churches of Senhora da Orada and Paderne – Romanesque monuments –, as well as the traditional village of Castro Laboreiro, founded in the Iron Age and which gives its name to a local breed of dogs.

Visit the wine farms in Monção and Melgaço, producers of the much enjoyed Portuguese “vinho verde”, of the Alvarinho grape variety, and their famous and beautiful manor houses.

What to do

  • Relax at the Thermal Baths of Peso, at about 4 Km from Melgaço and much enjoyed for the therapeutic qualities of its water, or at Caldas de Monção
  • Visit a producer of Alvarinho wine in Monção or Melgaço
  • Visit the workshops 0f craftsmen in Alto Minho and check the handicrafts.

The fortified town of Monção overlooks the Minho River, offering very attractive terraces and viewpoints. Relax on the Neris terrace, the scene of fierce battles once fought between the kingdoms of Portugal and Castile, and stroll along the 17th century castle walls, keepers of the historical centre. The Main Church of Monção, the churches of Misericórdia and Santo António dos Capuchos are all worthwhile visiting.

Nearby, note also the church of Longos Vales, an exquisite exemple of the Romanesque architecture, and the noble Palace of Brejoeira, where the Alvarinho wine is produced.

If you enjoy sports in communion with nature, you must take the Cycle Trail of the Minho River, the first one in Portugal to take advantage of the off-duty rail lines along 17 Km, linking the international bridge between Monção and Salvaterra to Valença.

In some of the stretches, you will ride quite close to the river and be able to enjoy the art of fishing. Fishing is done on boats between Caminha and Monção, but the lamprey is captured by experienced hands in the section to Melgaço, on stone walls built on the river bed

These stone walls were already mentioned in the 11th century and, according to the UNESCO, are rare examples of architecture and landscape.

What you need to know

  • In 2009, the Cycle Trail of Minho River ranked as the fourth best trail in Europe
  • You can rent bicycles and two-seater kayaks at the beach club at the mouth of the Minho River

The venue of the biennial

Founded in the 14th century by D. Dinis, Vila Nova de Cerveira has many monuments witnesses of a glorious past and is a picturesque and interesting place to visit any time of the year.

While this is true, the city livens up during the plastic arts biennial, a national Reference whose fame takes it across borders and attracts international artists. The event is held since 1978, every two years, always in the summer.

Another highlight in Cerveira is the Aquamuseu of the Minho River, which promotes and disseminates the natural and cultural heritage associated to this river, showcasing the diversity of natural environments in the region – freshwater, brackish water and sea water areas, intertidal area, dunes, marshland and mountain streams, among others. The museum is in Castelinho, which has swimming pools, playground and climbing wall for children and a pleasant picnic park ideal for families on very hot summer days.

At the river mouth

You can also find a ferry-boat in Caminha, connecting both river margins every day. This fortified border town was once the stage of several fights between Portugal and Spain, but today i tis filled with tourists in the summer, especially during the Medieval Fair.

In the middle of the estuary, on a small island, visit the ruins of the Ínsua Fortress, built in the 15th century to defend the river mouth. To reach the island, take the private boats available for tourists at the river beach at the mouth of the river. But it’s not only tourists who go to Ínsua: others are interested in catching mussels, limpets and crabs, and will make the trip all year round, sea permitting.

Soak up the sun and swim in the river near the National Woods of Camarido, in Caminha – the woods were the work of D. Dinis. If you prefer sea water, just walk along the water’s edge until you reach the Atlantic Ocean. The Modelo beach is just 3 Km away. While the river beach is mostly enjoyed by campers and visitors looking for a quite spot, Modelo beach is a favourite destination of famous people in Portugal and the perfect choice for kite surfing.

You will like

  • Discovering the Minho traditions, such as folklore, festivities and processions in the summer

The pleasures of Minho

We have already talked about the “vinho verde” and the famous Alvarinho. But the Minho cuisine stands comparison with these nectars. Enjoy the delicious corn bread, sausages, codfish, lamprey, trout and shad, cooked in many ways. For those who enjoy good meat, you can’t miss out on the famous sarrabulho porridge and the seasoned pieces of pork.

Gastronomy and wines are the icing on the cake in this region with such a rich landscape and cultural, historical and architecture heritage.

How to get there

Para o Porto, há voos de Bremen, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Munique, Dortmund, Zurich, Liverpool, Londres, Bordéus, Carcassone, Dole, La Rochelle, Lille, Lyon, Marselha, Nantes, Paris, Rodez, St. Etienne Toulouse, Tours, Barcelona, Madrid, Palma de Maiorca, Valência, Bolonha, Milão, Pisa, Roma, Copenhaga, Bruxelas, Amesterdão, Eindhoven, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo e Nova Iorque.

Do Aeroporto Internacional Francisco Sá Carneiro, a melhor forma de chegar ao centro da cidade do Porto é de metro. A viagem dura cerca de 30 minutos.

Take the A28/IC1 or the EN13 to Viana do Castelo, at about 60 Km from the Porto Airport, and then take the A28/IC1 to Caminha.

Be inspired

Choose your journey, find new places, have some fun and create memories for a lifetime.

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