The quaint town of Caminha has for centuries been the frontier of Portugal's northern border. It is now emerging onto the tourist map as its many attractions close by are gaining appreciation. Let MADABOUTPORTO.com guide you through the best places to visit, what to see and do, where to eat, top accommodation options and how to get there and get around.
Sitting on a headland with the sea to the West, the mighty Minho river to the north and the Coura river to the East, Caminha is strategically placed to defend Portugal from its traditional enemies. Its original defensive walls are mostly gone now and Caminha opening its doors to invaders - in the guise of tourists. The areas magnificent scenery, the beaches, river, Arga mountains, along with the silks, ancient narrow streets, especially the Rua Direita and the cuisine of the town make a great attraction to any visitor. A ferry boat links Caminha to A Guarda on the Spanish side of the river, offering access to picturesque coastal paths found there.
Rua Direita - Caminha
The 16th century Terreiro Fountain is the centrepiece to the Praça do Conselheiro Silva Torres, where you'll find a good selection of cafés and restaurants. The fountain is one of three from the same designer, one is to be found in Pontevedra, Galicia and the other in Viana do Castelo. The square and fountain are located in front of the clock tower and is an ideal spot for lunch or to spend a relaxing hour.
The only one remaining gate tower/keep of three which once gave access to the original fortified town. South facing it was first known as Porta Viana as it commanded the route to Viana do Castelo. It was only known as the Torre do Relógio when it received its clock in the 17th century, the bell which chimes the hour was installed in 1610. Inside and atop a new staircase is a small museum exhibiting local historical objects.
To the right of the square and the Edifício de Dois Pisos can be found the Igreja da Misericórdia, the 16th-century church, which during its time has many reconstructions and restyling.
The Atlantic coastline lies a mile and a half west of Caminha and the most northern beach is the Praia de Moledo close to the small town of Moledo do Minho. A long pleasant stretch of sand that looks out at the Forte Da Ínsua, a 17th-century island fortress in the mouth of the Minho River, the natural border between Spain and Portugal. On the Spanish side of the river, the Santa Tecla hill creates an impressive backdrop. The beach backs onto a pine forest which offers respite from the midday sun.
Those who need even more peace and quiet can ask at the Restaurante Barracuda about the boat which will ferry you to the island where a secluded beach awaits. Praia do Pirata lies of the southern end linked by wooden walkways and forest paths that line the edge of the dunes. | N 41º 50' 58.74" | W 08º 51' 59.63"
Located at the mouth of the River Âncora the lovely sandy beaches here are sheltered from the winds by the Serra d'Arga hills. A popular spot for surfers on the Northern side whilst bathers and sun-seekers tend to occupy the southern end where the swell is calmer. It's here on the southern beaches where you'll find the protected sand dunes, which are accessible to walkers only over wooden walkways and are almost always deserted. The town of Âncora dates back to the Palaeolithic era, found dotted around these parts are mounds known as "Ancorense", ancient dumping grounds of discarded seafood shells consumed by the stone age inhabitant of the area.
Although much of the traditional fishing way of life has given way to tourism, Âncora remains unspoiled and retains much of its cultural heritage and is a centre for handicrafts, aquatic sports, and specific sea-based gastronomy. In 1924 the village was elevated to city status and received its current name of Vila Praia de Âncora which means into "Beach Town of the Anchor". | N 41º 48' 48.09" | W 08º 51' 55.44"
This remote strip of a seemingly endless stretch of sand seven miles North of Viana do Castelo encompasses other adjoining beaches, Praia Insua to the North and Praia da Arda to the south. Its great expanse offers peace and tranquillity. The beach itself lacks amenities however the village of Afife lies close on the other side of the A28 highway. Exposed to Atlantic breezes at times and the sun, sunscreen is a must! Popular for water sports and there's a resident surf school for people of all abilities. | N 41º 48' 48.09" | W 08º 51' 55.44"
Praia de Moledo
Vila Praia de Âncora
Anta da Barrosa
Just off the main road a few miles East heading out of Vila Praia de Âncora, lies the largest and most well preserved single-chamber megalithic tomb in the area. The Anta da Barrosa dolmen dates back to the late Neolithic period. It is considered by the scientific community to be one of the most emblematic megalithic monuments found within the whole Iberian Peninsula. Known locally as Lapa do Mouro, the monument consists of the megalithic burial chamber held up by nine intertwined pillars, resting on each other, four on each side, supporting a large granite rectangular headstone. It was classified as a national monument in 1910.
41° 48′ 36″ N | 08° 51′ 02″ W
The ferry at Caminha takes you across the estuary to A Paxase in Spain. There is a pleasant four-mile (7 km) walk from here, around the headland to A Guarda. The route goes through an ecologically protected area and offers great views across the estuary and the Insua fort. Dominating the headland is the Monte Tecla on top of which an ancient Castro settlement (Castro de Santa Tegra) is situated. The attractive harbour and seafront at A Guarda has a great choice of restaurants and tapas bars to refresh the weary walker. The ferry runs each hour with a two-hour break during the middle of the day.
High Season; Portugal → Spain - Everyday: 08h00 – 20h00, Spain → Portugal - Everyday: 08h30 – 21h15
Praça Conselheiro Silva Torres, 4910-122, Caminha, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
41° 52' 32.4" N | 08° 50' 18.2" W | +351 258 921 952
firstname.lastname@example.org | Website & Prices
Caminha - Guarda Ferry Boat
23 rooms with 23 themes, this highly contemporary hotel successfully inspires the senses with art and fine local wine. Each room is equipped with Playstations, TV's, DVD players, HI-FI and iPads along with a minibar. wifi and a safe. The is a gallery, the "White Box" exhibiting works of local artists. The restaurant takes advantage of great local produce and as you would expect, a great wine list.
Praça Conselheiro Silva Torres Nº8, 4910-122, Caminha, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
41° 52' 31.6" N | 08° 50' 29.5" W
This four-star hotel is situated on the mouth of the Minho estuary. With sea views to the front and mountain views to the rear, located in an area popular with walkers and there are many footpaths along the coast. This modern hotel also features two outdoor pools (one with a jacuzzi for adults and one for children with water slides), a tennis court, a garden area and has fabulous sun exposure. Its restaurant boasts excellent panoramic views of the Minho and provides a varied fresh breakfast and an à-la-carte menu of traditional dishes for dinner. Lunch is served at the bar and pool area. The spa offers a hot-water circuit, hot tub, sauna and Turkish bath. Massages and beauty treatments are also available.
Av. Marginal, lote 1, 4910-104 Caminha, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
41° 53' 57.9" N | 08° 49' 00.5" W
This stunning property offers a shared lounge and free WiFi. Some units also have a kitchen equipped with a microwave and a stovetop. All units feature air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. The homestay offers a continental or buffet breakfast. There is a garden here along with a garden.
Caminho da Azenha - Caminha - Vilar de Mouros 230, 4910-583 Caminha, Portugal.
N 41º 53' 22.9" | W 08º 47' 13.5" | +351 963 469 311
This family-run restaurant in the old part of Caminha is a delight for the senses. Once your eyes have adjusted to the bombardment of the cluttered yet fascinating decor your belly is then treated to excellent examples of local cuisine. Look out for "The Voyage" which is a 20-course tapa-style meal of local dishes. Amãndio himself will be your charming, if not a little eccentric host who loves nothing more than to share with you his love of Portuguese wine, whilst his wife busy's herself in the kitchen. Portions are typically large yet the bill is reasonable, a wonderful way to spend an evening.
Daily: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00
Rua Direita,129, Caminha, 4910-146, Viana do Castelo, Portugal.
41° 52' 39.8" N | 08° 50' 18.2" W
+351 258 921 177
Tapas & Gin - what more could you ever want? Great food, well prepared and presented, and served by friendly and professional waiting staff. It’s popular with locals and visitors alike, booking if possible could be a wise thing to do. The atmosphere is cordial and low key, an ideal place to relax and enjoy the best things in life with loved ones.
Tuesday - Sunday: 18h00 - 02h00, Monday: CLOSED
Rua Ricardo Joaquim Sousa 133, Caminha 4910-155, Portugal
41° 45' 28.2" N | 08° 50' 24.1" W
+351 963 846 369
Enjoy the best the waters around Caminha can offer in this attractive fish and seafood restaurant. Service is professional yet warm. The food is as fresh as it can be and cooked to perfection. The prices are a little higher than other restaurants around town but that’s reflected in the quality.
Monday - Saturday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00, Sunday Evening: CLOSED
Rua Visconde Sousa Rego 85, Caminha 4910-156, Portugal
41º 52" 55.91' N | 08º 35" 28.71' W
+351 258 922 794
Caminha is 55.5 miles (91km) North of Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport PORTO. Website
GET A GREAT DEAL ON FLIGHTS:
From Porto take the A28 north. Latitude - 41° 52" 32" N Longitude - 08° 50' 19.7" W
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Regular trains to Caminhã from Porto, use the Regional train service (comboios regionais) Linha do Minho. (120mins): Train Timetable | Comboios de Portugal Website
• AV Minho: Website Service from Viana do Castelo to Caminha Timetable