A trip to Póvoa

A short drive from Porto to Povoa de Varzim, which may have some interesting surprises (including some Romanesque churches) even for those who are from the North of Portugal.

Depart from Oporto towards Póvoa de Varzim. Having just left Oporto, in the so-called Northern Route "Via Norte", shift a little to your right and visit the famous Church-Fortress of Leça do Balio. Here King Fernando got married and here also was he about to stab his brother D. John before the latter's refusal to honor the new queen. After this visit, return to Via do Norte towards Póvoa. Go straight ahead and then to Mindelo, taking the road that leads directly to Póvoa. Here, park your car near the sea and take a stroll. Take your time, as Póvoa well deserves it. Back to the car, now drive by the road of Vila do Conde. When, on the left, you find the road to Famalicão, follow it, past the monumental Aqueduct of Santa Clara, which formerly supplied the convent of the same name, go to the detour to Beiriz (and its famous carpets) and soon after, turn right to the Church of São Cristóvão, in Rio Mau. The scenery is breathtaking. A Romanesque chapel, very well situated, is a small temple with a single nave, simple shapes and decor but vigorous, as the relief of the tympanum of the front door. 10 km to the east, there is another important Romanesque church: São Pedro de Rates. To get there, pull off the road shortly after Rio Mau and follow the signs. Unlike the former, this church is imposing and austere. It dates from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, which explains the Romanesque structure with some Gothic traces. Return by Famalicão, down to Vilarinho to see the Ave dams and mills, and then proceed to Trofa and then to Oporto.

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