The View From The Bridge
When you look down from the bridge, a rural scene appears. The waters of the Tâmega steadily flow, swinging boats that someone attached to trees with rusty chains. You can’t say you’ve seen Amarante if you haven’t had a stroll by the river.
It seems like on the river level, Amarante is another world. A separated place, without the hustle and bustle of the town, without busy cafés and the old ladies loudly encouraging tourists to taste some Caralhinhos.
After steep stairs that lead from the bridge a few meters down to the bank of the river, the top part of Amarante seems to be very far away. An enormous wall keeps the soil and protects it from collapsing. Roots of the trees from the upper part wade through the stones, creating different shapes and reminding that they can find a way through all human creations.
The narrow path that I follow for a while, enjoying the beautiful scenery, opens up to the natural lawn with old elms that proudly surrender to the soft caress of the wind. Brown leaves fall fast or in slow-motion, depending on the gusts, and stop under my feet, preaching the upcoming autumn.
A few minutes by the river is enough to know that on the lower part of the city, water rules. Showing its stillness on the open waterway and roaring with power on the steps near the beach. Here and there, the little island with willows creates a home for wild birds, interrupting the constant run of the water that stubbornly heads towards the ocean.
Admiring the sunset that colours the water in intense shades of pink and red, I know that Amarante is a perfect place for all kind of wanderers. It doesn’t matter if you believe in São Gonçalo, or you just feel connected with nature. The city has it all to give a spiritually fulfilling time to all kind of explorers.
Getting there from Porto
- By car it’s a 60.5km run on the A4
- By bus, the journey is 50 minutes. Buses leave every two hours
- By taxi, allow €40-€55 and 40 minutes
Where to stay
There are many choices here, in every category, but Casa da Calçada Relais & Chateaux stands out as exceptional. What was a grand palace is five-star luxury all the way –lush and plush with amazing views and a Michelin starred restaurant that is in a class of its own.
: +351 255 410 830 / email@example.com
The Romanesque Route: This tour takes in some 58 monuments, including monastries, castles churches and towers found around the rivers Tamega, Sousa and the Douro. The four-day tour will provide you with a never-to-be-forgotten experience, but of course you can settle for a taster visit, too. Find out more at rotadoromanico.com
Words: Anna Zielazny