On the top of a hill you can not miss the 3 miles of walls that embrace the city of Valença and its past.
Walls from 13th century surrounding the city protected Portugal's borders from attack from the other side of the river. The early castle and later fortress walls resisted bothvisitsv from Spain and France and still stand today, from the main gates to the cannons poking out above.
A strategic point of access to Spain, the city's defenses goes back to early forts built to guard the Roman Empire's main routes.
It was in the years of 1200 that by the order of king D. Sancho I the wall and the fortress was built. After the failed attempt to marrying his daughter with Afonso IX of Leon and Galicia, the King made plans to conquer Tui and Pontevedra, on the Galicia Territory.
This tension marked Valença as a place of political and security interest to both watch Spanish movements and plan attacks. In 1262, people living in the outskirts of the walls, mainly working in agriculture, were actually ordered to keep inside the protected city.
Its importance grew also from the religious perspective, as many pilgrims would pass through heading Santiago de Compostela in this period. Inside walls you can find shelters for pilgrims and also chapels and monuments revealing the christian heritage of the city.
Here you can go through 2000 years of History exploring the fortress, going through its labyrinths and watchtowers.
In the main roads of the town, you can find the Minho region traditions on colored textile shops, selling sheets, towels and the women's traditional scarfs. Throughout the year, a number of artifacts fairs take place around here.
With a view over rio Minho marking a natural border with Spain it takes a short walk to get to Spain. Around 3 km apart from Tui, in the other side of the river, a rail bridge built in the late 19th century connects the countries.
Foodies cannot leave without trying Valencianos, a small puff pastry filled with chila and powder with sugar.