You could spend a lovely day here, wandering along by the river and through the old village but for most (including tour buses because its on the day tour circuit) its all about the bridge, the church and then coffee or lunch before moving on.
Ponte de Sao Goncalo
The bridge IS impressive. Its not the oldest nor the longest nor the most stunning to be seen in the region but the setting is quite lovely and worth a bit of a detour.
This particular structure was completed in 1790 after heavy flooding washed away the original which had been in place since the 13th century.
If you have enough time, you can enjoy a riverside walk or even rent a pedalo and take to the water.
The bridge is still in use so you have to jump out of the way of traffic when taking photos. There are seating areas midway on both sides and great views of the church..
The river sign is a bit of an eyesore in an otherwise beautiful setting!
There are plenty of places offering nice views of the town.
Igreja de Sao Goncalo
Sao Goncalo was of noble birth and several miracles are accredited to him. Once local workers building the bridge ran out of wine. Goncalo struck a rock with his stick and wine poured out from the split! He is also associated with fertility, his feast day being celebrated in June with phallic shaped cakes!
The church is ideally situated beside the bridge with its terraces offering views of the river. The door is 16th century Renaissance, surrounded by statues of local kings. Inside, you’ll find a baroque altar and Goncalo’s tomb (where, if you are looking for a mate, your wish will be granted within a year if you touch the statue above the tomb!).
I like the paving on the terrace which reflects the facade of the church.
Its a nice town for a stroll and has an excellent art museum which we will have to visit the next time.
3 thoughts on “10 Glimpses of Northern Portugal: 1.Amarante”
Lovely pictures and you’ve made me want to visit that area. I never got further than Porto when I was there but that was many, many years ago and we were touring by car. It’s so nice to read something that isn’t crammed into a day trip. I hope you continue to enjoy the journey.
It was an easy trip and so much to see and do. Apart from a few days in Lisbon a couple of years ago, we’d never been to Portugal. Very impressive.