So many people go to explore the Douro River Valley, but sadly stop at Pinhão. They are so close to a great region that has everything to offer, except tourist crowds.
TheTrás-os-Montes, which translates to "Beyond the Mountains," is a picturesque and historically rich area set in northern Portugal, due east of Porto. Known for its rugged wild landscapes, traditional villages, and Celt cultural heritage, this region offers a truly authentic and off-the-beaten-path travel experience.
Here's a tip sheetto help you explore Portugal's Trás-os-Montes:
Getting There: The major gateway to Trás-os-Montes is through Porto, which has an international airport. From Porto, you can rent a car or take a train or bus to various towns within the region. The A4 highway makes for easy driving - but the Douro River Valley is a great entry point too.
Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Trás-os-Montes might be during the spring (April to June) and the early autumn (September to October). The weather is pleasant, and the landscapes are lush during these months.
Places to Visit:
Bragança: The region's capital, Bragança, is known for its medieval castle and walls and charming old town. Visit the Domus Municipalis, a unique circular building, and enjoy traditional cuisine in local restaurants.
Chaves: Famous for its thermal baths, Chaves offers relaxation and history. Explore the Roman Bridge, Chaves Castle, and the historical center.
Miranda do Douro: This town is known for its stunning views of the Douro River and its historical connection to the Mirandese language. Don't miss the Cathedral of Miranda do Douro and boat tours on the river.
Mogadouro: A tranquil village with white houses, castle and narrow streets, Mogadouro is a great place to experience the rural atmosphere of Trás-os-Montes.
Vila Real: This town is home to the impressive Mateus Palace, known for its Baroque architecture and beautiful gardens. The surrounding countryside also offers great opportunities for hiking.
Montesinho Natural Park: A paradise for nature lovers, this park features diverse landscapes, from mountains to valleys. It's perfect for hiking, birdwatching, and experiencing traditional rural life.
Cuisine: Trás-os-Montes is renowned for its hearty and flavorful cuisine. Don't miss the chance to try:
- Bísaro pork: A local breed, the Bísaro pig, produces delicious cured meats and sausages.
- Mirandese beef: This is a protected designation of origin and is known for its tender and succulent taste.
- Folar de Trás-os-Montes: A traditional bread made during Easter, often filled with meat, ham, or sausage.
- Olive oil: The region produces high-quality olive oil that's an essential part of its culinary culture.
Festivals: Experience local festivals, such as the Festa dos Caretos in Podence, known for its lively traditional masks and dances.
Handicrafts: Trás-os-Montes is known for its pottery, wool products, and intricate embroidery. Look for unique souvenirs in local markets.
Language: While Portuguese is the official language, in some parts of Trás-os-Montes, you might encounter Mirandese, a local language with a unique cultural significance.
Accommodation: You'll find a variety of accommodation options, including charming guesthouses, rural cottages, and small hotels.
Transportation: While having a car is convenient for exploring the region, public transportation options like buses and trains connect most major towns.
Trás-os-Montes is a region where you can immerse yourself in Portugal's rural and cultural heritage. It offers a peaceful and authentic travel experience away from the crowds, making it a great choice for travelers seeking a unique journey.