This old frontier town overlooking the river Minho, standing opposite the Spanish town Salvaterra on the northern bank retains its 17th-century defensive walls, its charm and character. Once the scene of many battles between the kingdoms of Portugal and Castile, Monção is the best know nowadays for its Alvarinho wine, health spas and river fish. The old town's cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, small squares, statues and old buildings remind one of the times passed still untainted by mass tourism.
The centrepiece to the old town is the floral Praça Deu la Deu, a square named after the local hero, Deu la Deu Martins, who gained fame in 1368 in the battle against the Castilians and is now immortalised in stone on a roundabout opposite the square. It's is here too you'll find many of the towns finest restaurants serving the local delicacies. Leading away from the square, the Largo do Loreto leads you past many fine old buildings to the Rua da Boavista, the pinnacle of the town's ramparts with amazing views over the Minho valley below.
Also found on the Praça Deu la Deu is the Igreja da Misericórdia church. Originally built at the end of the 17th century, the church displays various different architectural styles, (Mannerism, Baroque and Neoclassicism) due to many alterations over the centuries. Inside the magnificent ceiling contains painted saints and religious figures between the ceiling beams. | 42° 04' 43.2" N | 08° 28' 52.1" W
Restored in 1984 this 17th-century manor house hosts various permanent and temporary cultural activities. it is also home to the town's tourist office, a gift shop selling local delicacies and the Paço do Alvarinho, where wine tasting is usually organised.
The Paço do Alvarinho museum is dedicated to the fine Alvarinho wine that the area is famed for. The rustic surroundings are ideal for tasting and enjoying the various brands of Monção's producers and bottlers. In July, Alvarinho lovers celebrate this wine during the Alvarinho Fair that dominates the whole town.
Monday - Saturday: 09h30 - 12h30/14h00 - 18h00, Sunday: 10h00 - 12h00/15h00 - 18h00 | FREE
Paço do Alvarinho, Associação de Produtores de Alvarinho, Praça Deu-la-Deu 4950, Monção, Portugal.
42° 04' 42.3" N | 08° 28' 54.6" W | firstname.lastname@example.org
Paço do Alvarinho
Fortaleza de Monção
It's believed that the first defensive structures of the town might date back to King Sancho I (1185-1211), although no supporting evidence has yet been found to substantiate this claim. But when fortifications were erected in the seventeenth century, during the Restoration War they integrated medieval walls and at the same time enlarged the village. This latest defensive structure took on a polygon shape designed by French military engineer Miguel de L'Ecole, under the direction of Master John Alves do Rego, to withstand artillery fire.
Some of the walls were removed to allow new roads and a railway line into the town, its remaining structures still face Spain over the river Minho. The ramparts were classified as a National Monument on the 23rd October 1910. The walls or Muralhas of Monção have now become better known as a brand of Vinho Verde from the town's cooperative.
One feature that dominates the landscape around Monção is the multitude of small vineyards. As in other parts of the Minho region, Vinho Verde is produced here, but around Melgaço and Monção it's special. Here they grow the renowned Alvarinho grape (known as Albariño in Spain). In 1989 the area was granted it's own sub-region appellation of Vinho Verde (DO Vinho Verde sub-regiâo Monção & Melgaço). The region's grapes are protected from the damp and cold influences of the Atlantic by cliffs and hills on all sides. The dedication of the wine producers to this grape has resulted in Alvarinho becoming extremely well adapted to the region. It is here that it reveals its full potential, producing wines that are distinguished by their aromatic richness, elegance and complexity of flavour, as well as being a full body wine with relatively high alcohol levels and balanced acidity.
This Romanesque church originates from the early 14th Century, It's a simple construction with a single nave and a relatively low ceiling constructed from wood. Light makes a modest entry through narrow windows. The church saw extensive remodelling in the 16th century and acquired some Manueline styling such as its impressive portal. Inside is the tomb of Deu la Deu Martins in her own chapel. Also found here are fine azulejos and a Manueline side chapel dating from 1521. Also entombed here is Vasco Marinho, who was a favourite of Pope Leon X and Som Manuel I. His sepulchre is a fine example of Manueline sculpture and is classified as a Property of National Interest.
17 Rua de João Pinho, 4950-486 Monção, Portugal. | 42° 04′ 44.0″ N | 08° 28′ 47.9″ W
Igreja da Matriz, Monção
About three kilometres (2 miles) south of Monção along the road to Braga lies the 19th-century Brejoeira Palace. Now open to the public and sharing all its beauty and antiques with visitors. Ex-libris of the Alto-Minho region, this outstanding neo-classical building forms an astonishing ensemble: the palace, the chapel, the woods, the gardens, the vineyards and the old cellar.
This national monument was erected in the charming Vale da Rosa estate, now known as Quinta da Brejoeira, with its stately rooms, a magnificent library, a winter garden, a theatre, along with its figurative tiles, oriental ceramics, mother-of-pearl and blackwood furniture.
Tuesday - Sunday: 09h00 - 12h30/14h00 -18h00, MONDAY: CLOSED Quinta da Brejoeira, 4950-660 Pinheiros, Monção, Portugal. | 42º 02' 29.7" N | 08º 29' 33.5" W
+351 251 666 129 | email@example.com | Website
Modern facilities in an old historical building facing the Minho river and a short walk from the centre of Monção. Rooms are set into refurbished monk cells which include flat-screen TVs with satellite channels and en-suite bathrooms with tub and hairdryer. Some rooms have a separate lounge.. Facilities include gym, a fine restaurant, conference room, pool, sauna, gardens, and tennis courts. Ample parking space and disabled access. This former convent includes a spa, pool and a tennis court. Dishes from the Minho Alto Region, prepared with seasonal ingredients, are offered at the in-house gourmet restaurant, Cozinha do Convento. The menu is complemented by renowned Portuguese labels.
Quinta do Convento de Santo António dos Capuchos 4950-527 Monção, Portugal.
N 42º 04' 38.3" | W 08º 28' 40.3"
A 17th-century mansion built in typical architecture of the Alto Minho including iconic wooden ceilings. The surrounding estate is dedicated to growing the famed Alvarinho grape and Solar de Serrade wines are available for tasting as well as visits around the vineyards and winery.
Rooms included climate control and TV. Other than the vines the grounds include gardens, foot paths, ample parking and disabled access. The heated rooms come with a flat-screen cable TV and a private bathroom. The property has antique furnishings, tapestries and traditional Portuguese tiles. Also featuring wooden ceilings, the unit boasts a shared lounge area with a fireplace and sofas. Room breakfast service is available, upon request and at an extra fee. Guests may taste traditional regional meals in one of the many restaurants available within a 10-minute drive.
Quinta de Serrade, Mazedo 4950-280 Monção, Portugal.
N 42º 03' 28.2" | W 08º 28' 44.5"
This baroque style villa is located on the outskirts of Monção, in the Minho valley. Fonte Da Vila offers elegant rooms with a flat-screen TV. Free Wi-Fi is available in its public areas. All rooms of Fonte Da Vila are equipped with air conditioning, a mini-bar, and a private bathroom with a hairdryer and toiletries. The rooms feature a modern decor with warm colours and wooden furniture. Fonte Da Vila’s restaurant serves authentic Portuguese cuisine daily. You can choose from a wide range of local and national drinks at the bar. Room service is available. For your convenience, Fonte Da Vila’s reception also offers a 24-hour reception and laundry facilities.
Estrada De Melgaço S/N, 4950-483 Monção, Portugal.
N 42º 04' 36.2" | W 08º 28' 46.0"
Ideally located on a quiet square just outside the centre of town this family run restaurant serves fresh seasonal local produce cooked to a high standard in large portions. Consider sharing a main to leave room for their tasty desserts. A good choice of regional wines available, recommendations are available to match your meal perfectly. Prices are very reasonable considering quality and quantity.
Sunday - Monday: 10h00 - 15h30, Tuesday - Saturday: 10h00 - 22h00
Largo João de Deus, Moncao 4950-470, Portugal.
42° 04' 29.3" N | 08° 28' 47.6" W
+351 251 651 420
Close to the bridge which takes you to Salvaterra de Miño in Spain this fine restaurant is somewhat deceiving from the outside. On a bend of a main road with plenty of parking space this contemporary restaurant serves traditional Portuguese fare with a modern twist. The staff are warm and friendly and the decor clean and roomy. All food is cooked to perfection, bursting with flavour and exquisitely presented. Specialities include their house style bacalhau and steaks.
Wednesday - Monday: 11h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00, Tuesday: CLOSED
403 Estrada Nacional, Lodeira, Moncao 4950-850, Portugal.
42° 04' 35.9" N | 08° 29' 37.6" W
+351 251 648 888
This somewhat quirky café with a cycling theme has a great selection of craft beers, bottled and on draft. Also on offer are great coffee, a selection of simple meals and tapas. Situated a fair distance away from the eco-pista, on the on the road to Braga just past the Palaçio da Brejoeira.
Daily: 12h00 - 15h30/19h00 - 22h30
Avenida Central de Moreira 1545, Moncao 4950-600, Portugal.
42º 02" 20.2' N | 08º 29" 34.1' W
+351 251 010 577
Monção is 133km (82 miles) North of Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport PORTO. Website
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The N101 runs from the west along the river Minho to Monção and from the south. The N202 continues on east to Melgaço. The A52 bridges the Minho into Spain.
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The closest train station to Monção is at Salvaterra de Miño on the Spainish bank of the river opposite: Spanish Trains Website
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