Amares is a land of rolling hills and ancient ruins, orange trees and trailing vineyards. Moments from your boutique hotel could see you in the mineral waters of Caldelas Thermal Spa, surrounded by mountains. Or amongst the lofty trees and deep valleys of Peneda-Gerês National Park. Escape to monasteries dotted around the hills, or seek out a Minho vineyard for a taste of Vinho Verde. Full of natural wonders and historical gems, Amares promises a one-of-a-kind escape to the country.
Epic landscapes and serene sanctuaries in this charming corner of North Portugal.
Things to do
Rise early for a trip to Peneda-Gerês National Park. From lush landscapes to prehistoric sites, waterfalls to walking trails, there’s much to see. Follow old shepherd paths through ancient woodland, or the Roman road that runs through the park. Stop off at centuries-old villages, or picnic beside a lagoon. As you travel, look around for ibex, deer and the famous Garrano ponies, or up to the sky to spot eagles.
In Amares eateries you’ll come across hearty plates of boar sausages, spicy pork and cod fritters. If you’re feeling bold, seek out the Amares regional staple sarrabulho porridge, traditionally made with pig’s blood. And be sure to accompany what you eat with a glass of Vinho Verde – fresh, young wine made from grapes grown in Minho.
Near Braga is Bom Jesus do Monte – a point of pilgrimage for hundreds of years. Climb over 100 metres of carved, stone stairs to the top. Or take the funicular railway for a gentler trip. At the summit is a magnificent neo-classical sanctuary with fountains said to represent the five senses – not to mention spectacular views. Or find time to visit Santo André de Rendufe, a monastery with roots in the 12th century. Inside, marvel at the intricate gold work. Then step outside to admire the Baroque gardens and fountain.
Amares is celebrated for its oranges. Be sure to sample zingy citrus desserts and pastries as you travel through the region.
Top Tip from SLH