A pleasant and refreshing way to discover the River and its banks and also to admire the city from the River is to rent a pedal boat. These boats are available near the Tourism Office and the Roman Bridge and may be rented for a period of time. Afterwards, all you need to do is to pedal along the River and enjoy it.
If you don’t turn right on the mentioned crossroad (previous tip) a little bit ahead there is another sign to another preserved village, but this time you must turn left.
This next village is situated on a green valley by a water stream. There is a little stone bridge over the water stream which you must cross to reach the village’s stone houses. I enjoyed visiting this village but my favourite was the one I described on the previous tip.
Near this village is a good restaurant (see my restaurant tips).
If you leave Amarante following the signs to Mesão Frio you will soon reach a crossroad with a sign to the right side saying “Aldeias Preservadas”. That means something like preserved villages. We decided to follow that sign and we don’t regret it at all.
You will be going up a hill with wonderful landscape around you and breathtaking views over the surrounding hills and valleys.
Soon you will reach the so-called preserved village, that is a lovely small village, lost in the hill and which seems to have stopped in time. Houses are built in granite; people are elderly and very friendly and live mainly from agriculture and raising kettle. While browsing through the village at the end of day, we could feel in the air the scent of fireplaces, as the nights there were already chilly (October 2004).
During one of my visits to Amarante I saw an exhibition on the green lawn by the Tourism Office and the Museum. This exhibition consisted of several constructions made by local children from the kindergarten; they used recyclable materials to build the constructions. The constructions referred to some professions as well as some other figures such as a witch and a bride. My 3 y.o. son found this quiet amusing and I guess it was one of his favourite “discoveries” in Amarante.
For those who enjoy green areas, Amarante has plenty to offer. There is a nice green park by the end of the road that runs along the River Tamega.
Apart from the park, it is also possible to enjoy a quiet and relaxing stroll through a wooden path that runs by the River, shaded by trees. I’m sure both options will please nature lovers as both are very pleasant and relaxing, apart from providing beautiful views.
Serra do Marão is a beautiful mountain on the outskirts of Amarante. I’d recommend a visit to this imposing mountain as it provides breathtaking landscapes, both when driving (or hiking) through it and when stopping at one of its view points.
This area is off the beaten path even for Portuguese people, so you will surely enjoy the quietness of this mountain. Weather may be a bit of an “uncertainty factor” – you may get sun on one side and then while going up or down weather would change drastically and get cloudy.
River Douro and its margins, covered in vineyards are one of the most beautiful landscapes in Portugal, and Amarante is near this gorgeous area. There is part of the Douro landscape that is classified by Unesco as World Heritage site.
Vinho do Porto (Porto sweet wine) is renowned all over the world and it is produced on these breathtaking slopes that border the River. The grapes and harvest are a tradition for decades.
Mesão Frio is about 22km from Amarante and it is a renowned village of this Douro region – don’t miss!