We propose you an extended visit to the Romanesque heritage that enriches the North of Portugal. Enjoy each place, leaving every detail in memory, from the doorways to the altars. You will stand before an architecture not only religious, that embellishes castles, towers, palaces, roads and bridges, in addition to the churches, cathedrals and monasteries where it is usually seen.
With much to surprise you, it was considered the first European architectural style and arrived in Portugal when the kingdom was forming in the 11th century. From the Sousa river basin, these artistic influences, soon extended from Porto to the valleys of Douro and Tâmega rivers. In total, there are 58 monuments along 12 municipalities: Amarante, Baião, Castelo de Paiva, Celorico de Basto, Cinfães, Felgueiras, Lousada, Paços de Ferreira, Paredes, Penafiel, Marco de Canaveses and Resende.
Tips before the journey starts
Start this discovery in the beautiful city of Porto. “Invicta is the closest "door" to the airport that brings you to this art that the region has to share. You’re in a charming town, elected for the third consecutive time as Best European Tourist Destination and, in addition to the extraordinary wines, culture is one of its many strengths.
Before leaving, rent a car and book your visits at least two days in advance to have the monuments open waiting for you, and possibly a technician to guide you, raise your map and passport of the Romanesque Route at the Tourist Office of Felgueiras or Amarante, to keep the memory of each place visited.
On the road, we suggest you to leave towards Felgueiras. It is a 45-minute drive. In the destination, between monuments, you will find signs that will lead you to other spots of equal architectural interest, but it is easier to manage the number and length of visits with the help of your map and our suggestions.
1st Day: Benedictine Monasteries
In the morning, visit two national monuments, located in Felgueiras. The solid walls and well-ornamented entrances mark its style. The Church of São Vincente de Sousa, located in Lugar da Igreja, opens (for Masses) Sunday and holy days - 9.30 am, Thursday - 8.00 pm, during which time you can enjoy the interior with wood carving and baroque style painting. Yet, the eighteenth century Monastery of Santa Maria de Pombeiro is open for visits from Wednesday to Sunday – 10.00 am – 6.00 pm and masses take place Sunday, public holy days and festivity days – 8.00 am and 10.45 am, and invites to be appreciated in its capitals.
When the appetite arises, have lunch in one of the local restaurants, accompanied by the famous local wine Vinho Verde, and taste the oven roasted kid with rice, cornbread and, for dessert, a slice of the much appreciated Pão de Ló (sponge cake) de Felgueiras. In the afternoon, head towards Amarante, traveling 18 km by road. You will get to know the Monastery of the Saviour of Travanca, open by appointment and Saturday – 7.00 pm (winter) or 8.00 pm (summer); Sunday - 8.15 am, in Vila Meã. Its high medieval tower stands out from the others, which facilitates the arrival to its encounter.
Another 25 km and you are in Penafiel, to know the Memorial of Ermida, a memorial tombstone in the open air, in honor of D. Mafalda, granddaughter of Afonso Henriques. And do not leave this city without first meeting the Monastery of the Salvador de Paço de Sousa, where you will find the tomb of Egas Moniz, upon appointment or during worship time, it can be seen on Saturday - 9.00 pm; Sunday - 7.30 am and 11.00 am.
In the meantime, how about trying a “Torta de São Martinho” pie to boost the energies?
2nd day: Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso - visit to the house and atelier of the first Portuguese modernist painter
From Penafiel, return to Amarante, the birthplace of this painter whose home Municipal Museum Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso holds a vast collection of writers and artists such as Agustina Bessa-Luís, Teixeira De Pascoaes, António Carneiro, among others. Through the historic center of the city, cross the bridge over the Tâmega river, visit the Convent of São Gonçalo and taste, among other conventual sweets, the curious São Gonçalo cake, trying not to laugh. Will you be able?
By lunch time, fill in your break with "verde" or "bazulaque", a typical dish prepared with lamb or hogget’s guts, lungs, heart and liver, being marinated in wine and garlic, giving strength to continue these days of discovery and adventure, with energy at 100%.The wine, you can ask at the restaurant to suggest the most appropriate, depending on the main course you choose. In the afternoon, scroll to the local tourist office to inquire about visits (limited) to the Casa Manhufe and Casa do Ribeiro (atelier) where Amadeo Souza-Cardoso lived and worked his works of art, respectively. Worth knowing!
Finally, the visit to the Monastery of Saint Martin of Mancelos is done by appointment or on Sunday - 6.45 am and 9.45 am. The sacristy, the bell tower, the portals and other elements classified its Church as Public Interest Building in the year 1934. Mancelos was benefit of the Canon of Braga and, inside, among others, a painting is exhibited in the main chapel who may represent the venerable Friar Bartholomew of the Martyrs. In the local cemetery, it is also possible to see the family tomb of Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso.
3rd or 4th day: discover the Vale de Sousa by mountain bike (ATB)
For a few minutes, for an entire day or even for a one night stay, the mild climate, the vineyards secular landscape, the deliciously prepared dishes accompanied by the best nectar, the rural tourism houses where you can rest at night in a reinvigorating silence, are ideal for unparalleled recreational moments.
Lovers of outdoor sports, such as horse races, rafting, climbing, hiking and mountain biking, find here a natural paradise to make them overcome limits while enjoying some more national monuments. The Kunalama/ADPortela group challenge you on rails of 20 to 75 km on an off-road bike.
And, along the way, Paredes, Castelo de Paiva and Penafiel will be on your route, presenting you towers, monasteries, chapels and churches. You will find 10 Romanesque monuments that transport you to the 11th and 12th centuries, where you can unveil the symbols of a Romanesque religious architecture as well as the legends and curiosities that have been inhabiting these buildings for centuries.
Map your route and at Paredes discover the secrets of the Monastery of Saint Peter of Cête, the Chapel of Our Lady of Vale whose walls testify to the miraculous virtues of the Lady of Vale and the Tower of the Castle of Aguiar de Sousa.
Already in Penafiel visit the tomb of Egas Moniz (the responsible Aio (tutor) for the education of the first Portuguese King, D. Afonso Henriques) in the Monastery of the Saviour of Paço de Sousa, pass by the Memorial of Ermida one of the rare memorial tombstones in Portugal and in the world. You can also visit the Church of Saint Peter of Abragão, the Church of the Savior of Cabeça Santa, the Church of Saint Michael of Entre-os-Rios and the Church of Saint Genesius of Boelhe all founded by D. Mafalda, granddaughter Of D. Afonso Henriques.
And in Castelo de Paiva you can visit another Romanesque funeral-commemorative monument, the Memorial of Sobrado, whose foundation is also linked to D. Mafalda.
In addition to the architectural style, this region has craft reflected in their embroidery, folklore parties and friendly faces to receive you. Welcome to the sites and monuments where the soul of the land and the Portuguese nationality were marked by authenticity and charm.
Wanting to come to Porto and North, be aware that this and other Routes can be prepared in greater detail and tailored to your goals.
Please contact us so we can answer to your requests with all the attention it deserves.