A calm little town surrounded by mountains for long beautiful walks in nature
Amarante is a very charming “little” town (if you take only the historical center) along the Tamega river and surrounded by mountains which makes it a good starting point for walks and hikking. It seems that the key words there are something like youth, simplicity and enough ecology to get our attention with a “youth house” quite dynamic on the organic, local and fairtrade subjects. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time to go deeper into the alternative side of this place but we had a lot of fun and pleasure being there.
We’ll have to come back to feel the blanks but here are my first impressions and my little “places” that I had pleasure to discover. Zoom on portugal and on Amarante and follow the guide for a 2 days city trip
As always… Little walk in the “centro historico” – Do not forget to get lost in the streets
And be prepared, don’t expect any flat area, Amarante is like one little mountain chain in itself full of up and down hills…. very steep !
Possible stop at “O pescador” for lunch
A twisted little “taberna” under an old theater where the recipes are far from special or incredible but good, local and cheap.
Have a walk along the Tamega river
This is the only flat area in the end, and certainly one of the most beautiful and romantic way to look at the city.
… And go up until you find the “parque florestal de Amarante” and its beautiful flowers
Lunch only – Try the cosy “bar do girassol” at the “casa de juventude” (youth house)
This is a vegetarian, organic, local only kind of place where they serve a menu of the day for 4.75 €. This includes a soup and a main dish. But the one thing I loved about this place was the hot little pieces of bread that you dip into olive oil and sesame seeds… very simple but delicious !
Have a tea time break at “confeitaria da ponte”
The place is gorgeous with a beautiful terrace just on top of the Tamega river looking at the old historical center. Their small pastries are very very cute. But don’t get too excited, your eyes will be much happier than your taste buds as all the sweets taste just excatly the same… Egg yolks and sugar.
The original formula come from the nuns of the convents who used the egg whites for ironing clothes, while the yolks were used to bake the filling of this traditional treat. So this is a real recycling idea which means that even if I didn’t find it very good, I can’t help myself and totally support the idea !
Go on a tiles hunt…
And for the story behing that tradition, this is called “Azulejos” and it comes from the Moors who left it in the iberian peninsula as a legacy of their colonisation. Wikipédia says the word azulejo is derived from the Arabic الزليج (az-zulayj): zellige, meaning “polished stone” because the original idea was to imitate the Roman mosaics. The Spanish city of Seville became the major centre of the Hispano-Moresque tile industry. The earliest azulejos in the 13th century were alicatados (panels of tile-mosaic).Tiles were glazed in a single colour, cut into geometric shapes, and assembled to form geometric patterns. These techniques were introduced into Portugal by king Manuel I after a visit to Seville in 1503. They were applied on walls and used for paving floors. The Portuguese adopted the Moorish tradition of horror vacui (‘fear of empty spaces’) and covered the walls completely with azulejos.
And now I just have to wish you a good trip, enjoy !