From Viana do Castelo to Castro Laboreiro

A drive by car through the heart of Minho province, starting in Viana do Castelo and going along the Atlantic coast and then the Minho river, through green, magnificent landscapes.

Forte Santiago da Barra marks the start of this route. Follow by IC1 (direction Valença/Spain) to Carreço, an excellent beach in the region. Continue towards Vila Praia de Ancora passing by the lighthouse of Montedor and the Paço de Carreço fortress, where can still be seen the "shacks" to shelter the boats and fishing gear for harvesting kelp. Many were turned into housing. Vila Praia de Ancora lost part of its fishing traditions subsequently to its urban development. However, the space next to the Forte de São João Baptista deserves a visit. It follows Moledo, the vogue beach in the northern coast, with its terraces and nightlife. In Caminha, do not forget to visit the Parish Church and the Clock Tower, which was part of the former defense around the village. The Forte Ínsua, in the small island, was a maritime defense. After the bridge, turn right to Vilar de Mouros, village After the bridge, turn right to Vilar de Mouros, the village that became famous for its music festivals (the most remarkable having been in 1972, during the dictatorship). Resume the main road and head towards Vila Nova de Cerveira, famous for its biennial of arts and for its well-preserved fortress, which houses an inn. And you arrive to Valença, surrounded by the well preserved fortress. Leave your car in the parking lots adjacent to the ancient gates and visit the interior squares, with its cobbled streets and important monuments of civil, military and religious architecture. By the main road take the direction of Monção, and make two small deviations in Friestas and Lapela to see sections of the old road between Valença and Monção, along the river. In Lapela, the tower is what remains of the castle built by King Afonso Henriques. In 1706, D. João V ordered the destruction of the walls in order to repair the Fortress of Monção with these stones. In Monção, the land of renowned lamprey and Alvarinho wine, the emphasis goes to the Capuchos and Misericórdia Chapels. It was at the nearby Palace of Brejoeira (3 km) that in October 1950, Salazar and Franco met. Melgaço preserves its castle and keep, as well as a pleasant and well preserved historic center. The ride, by road, between Melgaço and Castro Laboreiro is of great beauty. The tour ends in the Peneda-Geres National Park, in Castro Laboreiro, where you can do one of many walks beginning there. Start : Forte de Santiago da Barra, Viana do Castelo End: Castro Laboreiro When: Spring or summer Length: 130 km

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