The Minho is the main province in Portugal the Camino route traverses from Barcelos until we enter Spain. This region delivers world-class natural beauty. Here are lush river valleys, sparkling beaches and granite peaks. This is, after all, the birthplace of the Portuguese kingdom, and it would be hard to find better-preserved landmarks than those on display in the Minho’s gorgeous old cities.

Then there’s the bold, sharp and fruity Vinho Verde to consider. This young wine is fashioned from the fruit of miles of vineyards that wind along rivers, over foothills and into Minho mountain villages. The crops are eventually crushed and bottled in community adegas (wineries), giving each destination its own flavor. Of course, if you sip enough along the way, they may all blend into one delicious memory.

When we reach Valença we are really in the Minho, where all is green, fertile and rustling in shared Spanish–Portuguese waters. No place has a better view of it all than this atmospheric fort village occupying strategic heights above the picturesque Rio Minho. Valença do Minho (Valença) sits just a cannonball shot from Spain. Valença’s impressive pair of citadels long served as the Minho’s first line of defense against Spanish aggression.

Here in Valença you will discover these two interconnected forts contain a fully functioning village where locals shop, eat, drink and gossip among pretty squares and narrow, medieval lanes. In the evening, the empty watchtowers return to their silent contemplation of their ancient enemy – the glowering Spanish fortress of Tui just across the river.


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