Although its origins are yet unknown, the city of Amarante has become an enchanting and truly inspirational destination for travellers who have been lured by the natural beauty and genuine character of this northern city. Located in Porto’s district, Amarante is a city where landscapes guide your eyes from site to site, where a tranquil river flows at your every step and a place that instantly welcomes you with its untouched charm and intimate mood.
Despite not knowing exactly how Amarante was founded, it is believed that this city was discovered and named after the Roman centurion, Amarantus. However, Amarante gained its relevance in the country due to the Benedictine monk, St. Gonçalo, after returning to Amarante from his pilgrimage to Italy and Jerusalem during the 13th century. Today, St. Gonçalo remains as a highly praised and respected figure amongst the northern Portuguese population and is honoured every year with an emblematic religious/folklore festival, showing Amarante’s profound connection with the Catholic religion and customs.
What to do in Amarante
Aside from the overwhelming scenery, including a view of the immense Marão mountain range, Amarante holds several interesting landmarks, places to visit, regional restaurants, shops, and always, a breathtaking view. In the historical centre of town, you will find the famous St. Gonçalo Church and St. Gonçalo Bridge, both considered to be the most significant attractions and national monuments in town. This bridge is viewed as strong symbol in this city, being an important icon of Portuguese resistance towards the French invasions during the beginning of the 19th century. Underneath the bridge, travellers can admire the peaceful flow of the Tâmega River that will eventually lead you to a number of pleasant cafés that align the splendid riverside.
Marvellous churches such as the Baroque influenced S. Pedro Church and the S. Domingos Church, both constructed during the 1700’s, are definitely fabulous monuments to be appreciated by curious travellers. The Amadeo Souza Cardoso Museum pays homage to the acclaimed Portuguese artist and Amarante native, Amadeo Souza Cardoso, being a fantastic way to get to know the genius works of this late artist. Also, you may visit the house where Teixeira de Pascoaes lived, one of the greatest 20th century Portuguese poets and writers of all time.
What to eat in Amarante
While in Amarante, the gastronomy will surely receive your highest complements due to its rich cuisine and delicious sweets. Thanks to the numerous cultural and regional influences left in this city from generation to generation, tasting Amarante’s cuisine will certainly be a new experience for visitors. Mostly meat and bacalhau based dishes, be sure to accompany these marvellous meals with a glass of the heavenly Vinho Verde. While in the city, you can expect to receive an inviting feeling from the locals, as well as a profound understanding of their way of life.
Harmonious and blissful, there is something rare about Amarante that has made it such a cherished experience and special destination for all of its visitors.