Where is it?
Melgaço is the northern municipality (“concelho”) of Portugal. It’s located on the portuguese bank of the Minho River which acts as a natural border separating Portugal from Galicia – Spain. Check it on Google Maps
How to get there?
By Car – renting a car is probably the best option. It’s the fastest way to travel (should take less than 2 hours) and it will also provide you with your own transportation to explore Melgaço. There are 2 motorways towards the north, taking the A3 from Oporto to Valença is the shortest and more comfortable way but requires a payment of 7.85€ (cheaper for motorcycles, more expensive for vans, trucks, etc…). Helpful links: Oporto-Melgaço Google Maps; Avis Rent-a-Car
By Bus – Buses to Melgaço leave from near the Trindade Metro Station – Oporto but the trip takes usually more than 3hours, honestly it’s boring! Helpful Links: AV Minho Bus (timetable in portuguese – first one Melgaço->Porto; second one Porto->Melgaço)
By train – Train is a bit faster than the bus but it will only take you to Valença, from there you’ll have to get some other transportation to travel the remaining 40Km/25miles to Melgaço. Helpful link: CP
Reasons to visit:
I hope I’ll show you myself countless reasons but here are some interesting ones:
- The landscape – The wide area of Melgaço has a large number of different environments: the mountain cutting Minho River with rapids and small islands; the Alvarinho Wine fields; the wind electric generators on the top of the mountains; the boulder covered peaks near Castro Laboreiro; part of the Peneda-Gerês National Park …
- The gastronomy – the traditional dishes you should try include the various kinds of “Chouriço”, the “Presunto”, the “Caldo Verde”, the Minho River Trout, Roasted lamb (usually requires booking because the recipe involves hours of preparation) or if you’re interested on something uncommon you could try one of the many Lamprey recipes (“Arroz de Lampreia” or “Lampreia Seca” for example).
- The wine – Melgaço is included in the Alvarinho (also known as Albariño) production zone and has a museum-like building dedicated to all the brands in the municipality, a wine tasting tourist route and an annual party dedicated to its tasting.
- A calm and relaxing place with much to offer but usually unknown to tourists.
- Adventure and nature – explore trails either walking (example) or in a mountain bike; Rafting; Paintball and others activities (contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info)
- The sports center – especially for football teams (soccer). It was one of the official Euro 2004 training centers. LINK
Interesting links: Visit Portugal.com