On the banks of the river Vez just north of Ponte de Lima is a picturesque little market town called Arcos de Valdevez. Rather than being a place where time forgot, it is a town that has been shaped by time, most dramatically demonstrated by the 5000-year-old megalithic monuments known as 'Antas da Serra do Soajo' (Dolmens of Soajo Mountain) found close by. MADABOUTPORTO.COM is your accompanying guide to where to sleep, where to eat, what to see and how to get there.
Riverside view of Arcos de Valdevez
Nestled within the foothills of the Peneda-Geres mountains and national park, this town oozes charm. Blessed with vistas, narrow winding streets, medieval towers, old castles and an array of churches. The town, whose name literally means "Arches of the Vez", was an important crossing point for the Romans who built bridges here, some of which you can still cross. The towns strategic location has led it to be a focal point to many a battle. None more important than the battle of 1141 during Portugal's campaign for independence from the Kingdom of Leon. The victory is commemorated by a curious statue found in front of the Espírito Santo church in the upper town.
A devastating fire in the 1700s saw many of Arcos de Valdevez's most treasured buildings destroyed or restored, including the towns 14th-century parish church. In the old town, there can be found examples of baroque facades. A fine example is found on the church of Nossa Senhora da Lapa.
The current bridge that straddles the river Vez was built in the 19th Century, replacing the medieval bridge. Construction started in 1876 and took four years to complete. It was built from stone blocks with four arches. The style is sympathetic to other older bridges close by and complementary to the surrounding area, a true feast for the eyes and a gift for your camera.
The Arcos de Valdevez pillory
Attributed to the mason João Lopes the elder in the Manueline style, this relic of public corporal punishment dates from the early sixteenth century. It was a symbol of the towns authoritative importance and key geological location. The pillory was raised in the centre of the Municipal Square in front of the old Town Hall. It was taken to the place of Valletta, along the river Vez in around 1700. There it remained until 1895 when it was relocated once more to the square opposite the Church of Arcos de Valdevez where it remains today. Displaying heraldic and other symbols of regal authority, the Pelourinho de Arcos de Valdevez became a national monument in 1964.
Also known as the Square Chapel, the Capela da Nossa Senhora da Conceição was constructed in the late fifteenth century by João Domingues, the Abbot of Sabadim. It's located in the village centre to house his tomb. Stark Gothic in style with walls of granite. The purpose of the building as a resting place for the late abbot has been extended to include other local dignitaries.
In the seventeenth century, it gained its current name. Its status has declined somewhat. Over the years, it has been a cowshed, a fire station, a warehouse. During the 1960's it was nothing more than a wreck when it was classified as a cultural heritage building by the Portuguese State. It finally re-opened in 1980 after a period of loving restoration and returned to being a place of worship and public enjoyment.
About a mile north of town on the left bank sits O Paço de Giela (The Palace of Giela). It is considered an excellent example of a "tower-house" with commanding views overlooking the Vez valley. The tower was probably built in the mid-fourteenth century, replacing a smaller and much older one. It was classified as a National Monument in 1910 and is surrounded by almost 18 hectares of urban parkland. Blending Manueline elements, as found in the windows and the original door, with other later styles. It has experienced many renovations during its lifetime. It remains one of the few remaining examples of Portuguese noble residences from the late Middle Ages.
Tuesday - Sunday: 10h00 - 13h00/14h00 - 18h00, Mondays: CLOSED
Adult: €1.00, Consessionary: FREE
Giela, 4970-765 Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal
41º 51' 00.1" N | 8º 24' 28.1" W | +351 258 520 529
email@example.com | Website
Paço de Giela
Eighteen miles (29km) east of Arcos de Valdevez in the Penda Gerês national park, the hamlet of Lindoso comprises 1300 souls, mainly of farming backgrounds. It is most famous for its castle and espigueiros, the infamous Minho granite structures to house grain. Perched on a small rocky outcrop overlooking the village Lindoso's castle has played a key role in defending Portugal since the 13th century. It's done battle and changed hands with its old adversary Castile and later Spain during the restoration wars.
It is built on an irregular quadrilateral foundation. It has rounded corners to avoid blind angles and offers resistance to assailants. The gate facing the village is flanked by quadrangular towers.
The 18th-century espigueiros run alongside the castle and are intricately carved from granite and topped with a cross. Along with Soajo, Lindoso has the best collection of espigueiros in Portugal, in terms of number and finery. For added divine protection of the grain, a granite cross with a tall shaft mounted on a square plinth standing guard among the stone granaries. The whole site combined is a national monument.
Located in the Arcos de Valdevez area, close to the Nossa Senhora da Peneda Sanctuary, Penedino Mountain Cottage provides accommodation in a traditional stone cottage. All units come with a patio with lake views, a kitchen with a fridge, a stovetop, and a private bathroom with a shower. For added convenience, the property can provide towels and bed linen for an extra charge. The lodge offers a barbecue. After a day of hiking or fishing, guests can relax in the garden or in the shared lounge area.
Lugar da Peneda, Gavieira, 4970-150 Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal.
41º 58" 29.6' N | 08º 13" 18.3' W
Founded in 1916 the hotel is completely refurbished, saving its old and beautiful facade. Situated on the left bank of the River Vez, in the middle of the historic village of Arcos de Valdevez, offering moments of comfort and relaxation with a nice view over the river.
Among the various facilities are water sports facilities and a spa & wellness centre. The hotel offers a terrace. At the hotel, every room is equipped with a wardrobe. Every room comes with a private bathroom with a shower. Guest rooms are fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.
A buffet breakfast is served each morning at the property. At Ribeira, Collection Hotel guests are welcome to take advantage of a hot tub and a sauna. Cycling is among the activities that guests can enjoy near the accommodation.
Largo dos Milagres, 4970-592 Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal.
41º 50' 36.6" N | 08º 24' 58.3" W
Set within a rural location, this beautifully restored watermill offers visitors a tranquil getaway, peace and quiet with only the sound of trickling a stream to break the silence. Fully equipped with modern amenities with friendly, attentive owners dedicated to offering you the best stay ever.
There is a shared lounge and free WiFi available. Complete with a patio, the units feature a TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. There is seating and a dining area in all rooms. Guests at the former olive oil mill can enjoy a continental breakfast.
The is a garden at the property with a barbecue. Guests can go hiking and fishing nearby. To guarantee your stay in paradise it's best to book early.
Caminho dos Fornos Aldeia - Couto, 4970-130 Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal.
N 41º 52' 06.4" | W 08º 23' 59.5"
As well as being a small hotel this charming renovated farm makes a wonderful country inn serving Minhotan specialities. Situated on the right bank of the river Vez in Salvador. Av. Pricing €25 per head.
Daily: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00
Quinta de Silvares, 4970-483, Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal.
41º 45' 58.1" N | 08º 34' 43.3" W
+351 258 742 754
firstname.lastname@example.org | Website
A varied menu including Porto style dishes, Alentejano Pork, and grilled meat and fish cooked on coals.
Tuesday - Saturday: 08h00 – 00h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua Valeta 92, 4970-449, Arcos de Valdevez, Portugal.
41° 50' 49.7" N | 08° 25' 06.7"W
+351 918 682 130
This popular cosy and unpretentious eatery is the master of the grill. Renown for their great Cachena steaks, don't feel abashed to ask to share one between two people, as their portions are as generous as the smiles. The prices are very modest, which is always an added bonus.
09h00 - 21h30
Rua Soares Pereira 229, Arcos de Valdevez 4970-465 Portugal.
41º 50" 52.2' N | 08º 25" 13.7' W
+351 258 521 506
Arcos de Valdevez is 104km (64.8 miles) North of Lisbon Portela Airport. Website
GET A GREAT DEAL ON FLIGHTS:
From Porto take the motorway A3 (Porto - Valencia) or the National Road to Braga and then to Arcos de Valdevez. If you come from Spain can take the motorway A3 (Valencia - Porto) or opt for National Roads, entering Portugal by Valencia, Monção, or Melgaço to Ponte da Barca.
GET A GREAT DEAL ON CAR HIRE:
There are no trains for Arcos de Valdevez. There are regular trains to Braga (22miles/36km away) from Porto, choose the Linha de Braga line.
Companies operating to Arcos de Valdevez are: