Discovering the Romanesque in the north of Portugal

Throughout the second half of the 11th century and in the early 12th century, a series of transformations enabled the appearance and expansion of the Romanesque style. Discover the Romanesque art and architecture of northern Portugal.    

Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Associação de Municípios do Vale do Sousa CC BY-NC-SA 3.0


Route of the Romanesque of the ARPT Porte & Norte

Come and learn more about a Route grounded on the memories of the Romanesque and unveil the charm of monasteries, churches, chapels, memorials, castles, towers and bridges.  Let yourself be challenged by the thrilling secrets of unique places and monuments, and discover the origins of Portugal. 

Why go

  • Patrimony
  • Architecture
  • History
  • Food and Wine

Through Minho paths

Travel through the rivers and the green mountains and go on an 11-Roman-Church-tour. The medieval temples of the 12th/13th centuries we advise you to visit await you in Viana do Castelo, Caminha, Valença, Monção, Melgaço and Paredes de Coura.

Start with the historical centre of Viana do Castelo where you can find the Cathedral. The church, dedicated to Saint Maria Maior, stands out thanks to its Seafarers and the sculptural group, as well as the gate which is very similar to the one of Saint Martinho de Noya (Galicia).

In the city, sprawling at the mouth of the River Lima and whose development was the result of the income from the Discoveries, climb the hill of Saint Luzia, the ex-libris of Viana do Castelo, and enjoy the panoramic view of the River Lima, the sea, the mountains and the Vianense typical houses down below.

Then head towards Caminha to enter the 13th century Chapel of Saint Pedro de Varais. It is a late Romanesque church with a regional touch. Inside, enjoy the traces of a 15th century fresco.

In Valença, visit the Church of Saint Salvador de Ganfei, a monastery of the Benedictine Order and the Church of Sanfins de Friestas with its 12th century Romanesque construction. In Monção, take a peek at the Parish Church with its gothic construction but Romanesque portal.

Continue to Melgaço, where you can visit the Church of Saint Salvador de Paderne, the Chapel of Our Lady of Orada, the Church of Saint Maria de Fiães and the Parish Church of Castro Laboreiro with its primitive Romanesque construction.

In Paredes de Coura, the Church of Saint Pedro de Rubiães is a 12th century Romanesque church, with a 17th century tower. Inside, enjoy the murals and especially the representations of Saint Antão and the Archangel Saint Miguel triumphing over the devil.

What to do

  • Watch the concerts at the Paredes de Coura Festival, from the 13th to the 17th of August (
  • In Minho, visit a producer of vinho verde 

In the Minho region, stop off for a bite to eat. In the land of Vinho Verde, the freshness of a good glass of wine wets your appetite for delicacies such as dishes based on lamprey and shad, cod Gil Eanes style, Minho trout with ham, sarrabulho in porridge or rice, or pork. Don't forget the traditional Portuguese cozido, the Serra style kid and the young kid stew from Gerês.

You will like

  • Minho gastronomy. The regional cuisine is viewed as one of the best in Portugal.

In Tâmega and Sousa

Route of the Romanesque

A Route founded in the memories of the Romanesque, inviting you on an inspiring journey through places with history, near singular monasteries, churches, chapels, bridges, castles, towers and memorials, matured in a land forged in green, full of wisdom and flavours.

In the land of the valleys of Sousa, Tâmega and Douro, in the heart of the North of Portugal, stands an important architectural heritage of Romanesque origin. This exceptional legacy is seen in 58 monuments that carry legends and stories born with the foundation of the Portuguese Nationality.

Wander along paths that reveal surprises at every turn. Surrender to the harmony between nature and historical legacies. Admire the architecture and sculpture that represent the excellence in the Portuguese Romanesque.

What you need to know

  • In the valleys of Sousa, Douro and Tâmega, the Route of the Romanesque invites you on an inspirational journey to 58 monuments
  • Bookings to visit the monuments of the Route of the Romanesque must be made at least three days in advance (
  • Granite is the dominant material in Portuguese Romanesque architecture because there is an abundance of granite in the country, particularly in this region

Other temples

In addition to these 11 churches, there are cathedrals, such as the Porto and Braga Cathedrals, which look like forts and which are also interesting to visit. Their architecture has its origin during the formation of the kingdom, which the Romanesque period followed, and therefore reflects on the instability of these times.

Also visit Guimarães, former capital, cradle of the kingdom and today, a world heritage site, and Braga, a religious centre since the 16th century.

Stay in one of the many aristocratic houses and old granite manor houses where you will have contact with secular Portuguese hospitality, or in a village house where you can find all the comforts and the most genuine tradition.

How to get there

For Porto, there are low cost flights, for example, from London (Stansted and Gatwick), Paris (Beauvais, Orly, Vatry and Charles de Gaulle), Marseille, Lille, Tours, St. Etienne, Bologna, Bordeaux, Lyon, Toulouse, Madrid, Barcelona El Prat, Tenerife, Valencia and Palma de Majorca.

Summer only, there are low cost airlines flying from Liverpool, Las Palmas, Carcassonne, Rodez and Nantes.

With regular tariffs, there are flights from London Gatwick, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Orly.

From The Francisco Sá Carneiro International Airport, the best way to get to the centre of the city of Porto is by subway. The trip will take approximately 30 minutes.

To Tâmega and Sousa, take the A41/A42 (Matosinhos/Lousada), the A11 (Esposende/Marco de Canaveses) or the A4 (Matosinhos/Bragança).

Be inspired

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

Find out more

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