Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça

Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça, Matosinhos

The Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça in Matosinhos, north of Porto is an impressive fortress built to protect the coast and the entrance to the Douro and Leça rivers.

Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça
The fort guards the entrance to the Douro River and the city of Porto

History

The Castelo de Matosinhos fortress was built in the early 17th century as one of a series of defensive structures along this part of the coast. The other fortifications in the chain were Castelo do Queijo in Foz do Duoro and the Fort of São João da Foz.

The beginning of the Portuguese Restoration War (Guerra da Restauração) with Spain in 1640 increased the anxiety of the local inhabitants about attack by sea. Though not yet completed the fort was garrisoned in 1648. In typical Portuguese style, it was not until 1720, long after the Treaty of Lisbon (1668) ended the conflict with neighboring Spain that the star-shaped fortress was finally ready.

The garrison departed in the mid-19th century and the building became a customs house. The structure now stands in a largely residential area and a few cannons line its battlements.

Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça
Forte de Nossa Senhora das Neves de Leça

Access - Getting There

The Blue Line (Line A of the Porto Metro) runs 16.5 km from Estádio do Dragão to Senhor de Matosinhos.

From Sao Bento Station the #500 bus runs to Matosinhos via Foz do Duoro.

Bus #501 goes to to Matosinhos via Trindade and Casa da Música from Aliados.

From Hosp. S. João metro station the #505 and #506 services run west to Matosinhos Mercado.

The #507 goes from Cordoaria to the Mar Shopping Center with its large IKEA store via Casa da Musica Station. The #508 from Boavista also stops at the Mar Shopping Center on route to Cabo Mundo.

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Águas Livres Aqueduct Lisbon

Águas Livres Aqueduct, Campolide, Lisbon

The Águas Livres Aqueduct in Lisbon dates from the 18th century. It is one of the most impressive aqueducts in Portugal. Águas Livres was built to carry water to Lisbon from the Odivelas district and was 18 km long. The structure was part of a longer network of canals that stretched for over 50 km.

Águas Livres Aqueduct
At Campolide the arches of the aqueduct are at their tallest rising to a height of 65 meters

History

Construction began in 1731 during the reign of King João V under Italian architect Antonio Canevari. It finally brought water to the capital in 1748. After that work was continued by a number of Portuguese architects until 1799. Taxes on certain foodstuffs such as olive oil, wine and beef raised the necessary money to finance construction. Amazingly, the structure survived the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake, a testament to its architectural quality.

In places, the huge arches reach a height of 65 meters above the ground. The water fed various drinking fountains throughout Lisbon and the Mãe d'Água reservoir.

Águas Livres Aqueduct, Campolide, Lisbon
Águas Livres Aqueduct, Lisbon

The Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras Reservoir is one of a number of structures maintained by the Museu d'Água and includes several fountains in Lisbon, the Águas Livres Aqueduct, best seen near Campolide Station, the Loreto Gallery, the Patriarcal Reservoir under the Principe Real Garden and the Barbadinhos Steam Pumping Station, not far from Santa Apolonia Station.

The aqueduct was still in use until the 1960s.

A macabre side note to the area around the aqueduct are the murders committed by the serial killer Diogo Alves (1810-1841). Alves became known as the "Aqueduct Murderer" as his victims were mainly killed close to the structure. Some of them were even thrown from its heights to make their deaths look like suicide.

Alves was eventually caught, tried and hanged. His severed head is preserved in a glass jar at the University of Lisbon's Faculty of Medicine.

Águas Livres Aqueduct, Lisbon
The aqueduct and the area around it were the scene of around 70 murders in the 19th century

Visit

The area around Campolide Station is a good place to see and photograph the aqueduct. There are also tours of the aqueduct organized from the Mãe d'Água museum.

The aqueduct as seen from the train
The aqueduct as seen from the train

The aqueduct as seen from the train
Passing under the aqueduct on the train

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São Gonçalo Bridge Amarante

São Gonçalo Bridge Amarante

São Gonçalo Bridge (Ponte de São Gonçalo) is the main attraction in Amarante, 50 km east of Porto. The granite bridge spans the River Tâmega.

View of the bridge of the River Tamega at Amarante
View of the bridge showing the Igreja de São Gonçalo, semi-circular verandas and spires


History

The present bridge dates from the late 18th century and replaced a 13th century structure that collapsed in a flood in 1763. There may have been an even earlier Roman bridge as there existed a Roman road from Amarante to Guimarães and Braga.

Religious images that once adorned the collapsed bridge were placed inside the Igreja de São Gonçalo.

The new bridge was later the scene of heroic resistance over two weeks by the townspeople in 1809 against the invading French in the Peninsular War (1807-1814).

The bridge has three arches with the largest arch in the middle. Semi-circular verandas with stone benches on the bridge are pleasant places to sit and relax. At each end of the bridge there are two pairs of Baroque spires.

Nowadays, the bridge is flanked by the Igreja de São Gonçalo and several cafes, bars and restaurants with views of the river.

São Gonçalo Bridge Amarante
São Gonçalo Bridge Amarante

Access - Getting There

Amarante has regular bus connections from the bus terminal south of the river at Avenida Primeiro de Maio to Porto (1 hour), Braga (1 hour, 20 minutes), Vila Real (1 hour, 40 minutes) and Guimaraes (50 minutes).

Amarante is no longer connected by railway but from the former train station the recent Ecopista da Linha Tâmega is a cycling/hiking track running 9 km to the former station at Chapa, along the picturesque river valley through pine and eucalyptus woods.

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Coronavirus Information Portugal June 2021

Information on Coronavirus in Portugal, June 2021

At the beach, safety comes first
At the beach, safety comes first

A year into the Coronavirus pandemic in Portugal has seen the situation much improved. Infections are down and vaccinations are well underway.

In May 2021 Portugal was added to the UK's green list for travel overseas. However, in a disappointing U-turn last week the country including the islands of Madeira and the Azores were placed on the amber list after only 3 weeks on green. This means visitors to Portugal from the UK must self-isolate when returning home for 10 days.

The decision came as a surprise considering the UEFA Champions League Final between two English teams, Manchester City and Chelsea, went ahead in Porto on May 29.

The disappointing, some would say disgraceful, behaviour of some English fans at that event and subsequent infections among them may have played a part in the UK government's decision, along with a rise in cases of the Delta variant, first detected in India.

On 2 June, Portugal had 5.4 new cases per 100,000 people per day, slightly higher than the UK at 5.1 new cases. From next week people over 60 in Portugal will not need an appointment. They can attend their local vaccination centre for a jab.

Hopefully, Portugal may return to the green list in the very near future.

Information from the Info Praia app showing occupancy at  beaches in Faro and Lagos on the Algarve
Information from the Info Praia app showing occupancy at beaches in Faro and Lagos on the Algarve

Beaches

Portugal's many fine beaches are open to the public and apps such as Sandspace and Infopraia provide detailed, real-time information on how crowded the country's beaches actually are at any given time.

Visitors from other EU countries such as Germany, France, Holland and neighboring Spain are able to enter Portugal.

Coronavirus infection in Portugal on June 3
Coronavirus infections in Portugal by region on June 3

Information on Covid-19

If you want to find the latest information on the Covid-19 situation in Portugal, the best place to head for is the Serviço Nacional de Saúde website (sns.gov.pt). It has daily reports on the total number of Covid-19 suspected cases, confirmed cases, the number of recovered cases, plus deaths in all of Portugal's regions and main towns.

The stats are presented by region and by city. Lisbon, the capital, and the surrounding area is the most affected, followed by the north, centered on Portugal's second-largest city, Porto.

The Algarve and Alentejo are the least affected regions of the country.

Further information for UK travellers to Portugal can also be found at visitportugal.com

Private clinics offering PCR tests in the Lisbon area
Private clinics offering PCR tests in the Lisbon area


PCR Test Clinics

You can find a list of private clinics offering PCR tests in Portugal here: destinoseguro.azores.gov.pt

Covid-19 Centro de Testes
Covid-19 Centro de Testes

Covid-19 Centro de Testes
Covid-19 Centro de Testes, Caldas da Rainha

Vaccination Center, (Centro de Vacinação) Portugal
Centro de Vacinação, Caldas da Rainha

Vaccination Center, Portugal
Queuing at the vaccination center

Queuing at the vaccination center
Waiting in turn

Queuing at the vaccination center
The wait is nearly over

Covid-19 sign
Safety sign

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774 Lisbon Bus

774 Lisbon Bus

The 774 bus in Lisbon runs from Campo Ourique (Prazeres) to Gomes Freire. The 774 connects with Rato Station on the Lisbon metro and also stops just south of busy Marques de Pombal.

774 Lisbon Bus
774 Lisbon Bus


Schedule

The first bus from Campo Ourique (Prazeres) is at 6.24 am Monday to Friday with the last bus at 1.14 am. At peak times in the morning and evening up to 6 buses run per hour. On Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays, the timetable is slightly different with less frequency.

From Gomes Freire the first bus on weekdays is at 6.00 am with the last bus at 12.45 am.

Other Lisbon bus routes covered include the following routes 714727728, 730736, 758767, and 783.

774 Lisbon Bus
774 Lisbon Bus

Guadiana International Bridge

Guadiana International Bridge (Ponte Internacional do Guadiana)

The Guadiana International Bridge (Guadiana International Bridge) carries the A22/A49 highway linking Spain and Portugal across the River Guadiana just north of Vila Real de Santo Antonio.

It is the third-longest bridge in Portugal and is the work of Portuguese engineer, José Luis Câncio Martins.

Guadiana International Bridge (Ponte Internacional do Guadiana)
Guadiana International Bridge

The 666 meter-long, cable-stayed bridge (Puente Internacional del Guadiana in Spanish) dates from 1991. It stands 20 meters above the river allowing ships to pass underneath.

The road bridge is adjacent to an area of marsh and wetland - the Reserva Natural do Sapal de Castro Marim e Vila Real de Santo António.

Guadiana International Bridge
The 666-meter bridge links Spain and Portugal by road

Ferry

The is also a ferry across the Guardiana from Vila Real de Santo Antonio to Ayamonte in Spain which takes 15 minutes. The ferry is a pleasant way to commute between the two towns. Remember that Spain is an hour ahead of Portuguese time.

Vila Real de Santo Antonio - Ayamonte Ferry.
Vila Real de Santo Antonio - Ayamonte Ferry



Vila Real de Santo Antonio - Ayamonte Ferry.
The ferry is a fun way to cross the Guadiana River between Spain and Portugal


Accommodation in Ayamonte & Vila Real Santo Antonio

Hotels in Ayamonte Spain - Booking.com

Hotels in Vila Real Santo Antonio Portugal - Booking.com

Accommodation in Portugal

Hotels in the Algarve - Booking.com

Hotels in Lisbon - Booking.com

Hotels in Porto - Booking.com

Hotels in Portugal - Booking.com

Hotels in Portugal - Agoda


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Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção Elvas

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção, Praça da Republica, Elvas

The interior of the church has Manueline elements
The interior of the church has both Manueline and Baroque elements

The fortress-like church of Nossa Senhora da Assunção lies in the main square of Praça da Republica in Elvas. It was previously a cathedral before the seat of the bishop moved to nearby Evora in 1881.

It is of interest as the building is the work of Francisco de Arruda, the main architect of the Torre de Belem in Lisbon. Construction began in 1517 and was completed in 1537. Originally Manueline in style,  Baroque and other architectural elements were added in later centuries.

Arruda also worked on the nearby Amoreira Aqueduct.

Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção
Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Assunção

Interior

The interior has some beautiful azulejos tilework and an 18th-century Italian organ in the high choir.

The nave
The nave and altar

Access - Getting There

Praça da República 7350-126 Elvas
Tel: 266 769 800

Praça da República has several pavement cafes to take in the exterior of the church over a coffee or glass of wine. The Tourist Office (turismo) is also in the square.

A recommended place to stay in Elvas is the Santa Luzia Pousada.

Praça da República, Elvas
Praça da República, Elvas
Close up of the altar
Close up of the altar

© Portugal Visitor

Cálem Port Wine Lodge

Cálem Port Wine Lodge Vila Nova de Gaia (Caves Cálem)

The Cálem Port Wine Lodge (Caves Cálem) is located in Vila Nova de Gaia across the River Douro from Ribeira in Porto.

It's the nearest wine lodge to the iconic Ponte de D. Luis I Bridge and in normal years receives around 100,000 visitors to its 19th-century cellars.

Cálem Port Wine Lodge Vila Nova de Gaia
Cálem Port Wine Lodge

Porto Cálem was founded in 1859 by Antonio Alves Cálem. He was determined to market his wine in Brazil at a time when the main market was largely Britain and the rest of Europe.

With its own fleet of ships, the venture was a success and now the company's logo is a caravel being loaded with port barrels. It is present on every bottle.

The business was continued by his son Antonio Alves Cálem Junior. Cálem's famous port wines include a White, Tawny, Rosé, and Ruby.

Visitors can once again enjoy a tour of Cálem's cellars and museum. Wall panels explain the history of the wine, the growth of the grapes in the Douro Valley, and the aging process in Vila Nova de Gaia. The tour includes an interactive fado show and free tasting of two port wines, a fine White and a 10-year-old Tawny.

Cálem
© Cálem


Access - Getting There

Avenida de Diogo Leite 344
4400-111 Vila Nova de Gaia
calem.pt

Hours

Daily from 10 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 7 pm.

Porto buses 900, 901 904, and 906 all stop close to the cellars. Jardim do Morro is the nearest Porto metro station.

More on Porto

Cemitério Prado do Repouso

Sandeman Cellars

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Cor de Tangerina Guimarães

Cor de Tangerina Restaurant, Guimarães

Cor de Tangerina is a recommended lacto-ovo vegetarian restaurant with garden seating on the road to Guimarães Castle in Guimarães.

The restaurant also serves vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free meals on request.

Cor de Tangerina Restaurant, Guimarães
© Cor de Tangerina Restaurant, Guimarães

The restaurant garden is a great place to enjoy al fresco dining and the space also hosts small events.

Access - Getting There

Cor de Tangerina
Largo Martins Sarmento, n.º 89 - 1.º andar
4800-432 Guimarães
Tel: 966 876 165
www: cordetangerina.pt

From the station, the restaurant is a 20-minute walk (1.2 km).

The Palace Duques de Bragança is also very close by. Reservations are recommended.

Cor de Tangerina Restaurant, Guimarães
Garden seating

Accommodation in Guimarães

Accommodation options in Guimarães include the EMAJ Guimarães Boutique Hotel, the four star Hotel Toural, the Stay Hotel Guimarães Centro, also four stars and the two star Hotel Mestre de Avis.

The Hotel de Guimarães in the south of the city is four stars and has a swimming pool and spa.
Budget hotels in the city include the one star Hotel São Mamede and the two star Hotel ibis Guimaraes Centro.

See here for a full listing of hotels, hostels and apartments in Guimarães.

Guimarães Related

Guimarães Buses

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Cascata dos Anjos Madeira

 Cascata dos Anjos Madeira

Cascata dos Anjos Madeira
Cascata dos Anjos Madeira

The Cascata dos Anjos ("Waterfall of Angels") falls down a sheer rock face onto the E.R.101 road and in to the sea. It is one of the most picturesque and photographed falls on Madeira.

The beautiful waterfall can be reached easily in a hire car from Funchal. A natural car wash, the Cascata dos Anjos waterfall is about 30 minutes drive west of Madeira's capital.

The flow of water comes from a levada - one of the many irrigation channels that funnel and transport water on the island for agriculture.

Cascata dos Anjos Madeira
Cascata dos Anjos Madeira

Access - Getting There

From Ponta do Sol take the old road up from the pebble beach through the tunnel (*the road may not always be open). Ponta do Sol in west-central Madeira is a pretty village with great sunsets. Some recommended places to stay here include Estalagem da Ponta do Sol and Enotel Baia do Sol with a heated pool and restaurant. 1905 Zino's Palace offers an outdoor pool, restaurant, and pretty garden.

More on Madeira

Capela de Santa Catarina

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Palheiros Houses in Madeira

Palheiros Houses in Madeira

Palheiros houses are a feature of the countryside in Madeira and can be found in many villages. They are most concentrated in Santana, a pretty village on the northern coast, however.

Simple A-frame structures with a thatched roof, the style came with the early settlers to Madeira.

Palheiros House
Palheiros house in Madeira

The walls are white-washed with the window frames, shutters and doors then painted in bright colors or pastel shades for a pleasing contrast.

Wheat was an important crop for the early 16th-century settlers on Madeira. Any surplus was exported to continental Portugal which had long endured a deficit of the grain. The leftover straw was then used as thatch. Nowadays, wheat is no longer much grown on the island so maintaining the cottages has become expensive as the thatch must be placed every five years on average.

In days gone by corn was often left to dry on the steeply-angled roofs.

Inside the top floor was usually used for drying and storing agricultural products (such as seeds) while the ground floor was the living space. The upper floor is accessed via an internal trap door or by a ladder on the outside. Kitchens were normally located in separate buildings.

Palheiros House
Often brightly-colored, thatched palheiros are a feature of the Madeiran landscape

The local municipality in Santana has attempted to preserve its palheiros houses by offering an annual prize for the best-maintained properties.

Several of the houses are now open to the public, though only a few are still permanently inhabited. The local Tourist Office in the village of 4,000 people is even housed in a palheiros.

Palheiros House
Palheiros are white-washed with the window frames and doors painted in bright colors or pastel shades

Madeira Related

Blandy's

Capela de Santa Catalina

Carro de Cesto

Levadas

Madeira Wine Museums

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Mateus Rosé

Mateus Rosé

Mateus Rosé
The Mateus Rosé label features the Mateus Palace in Vila Real

Mateus Rosé was once synonymous with Portugal back in its heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. The brand began in the 1940s and quickly became popular among wine drinkers in the USA and northern Europe especially the UK.

A medium-sweet, fizzy rosé Mateus accountable for 40% of Portuguese table wine exports by the 1980s and no Christmas, wedding, or birthday in the UK seemed to lack it.

Indeed, Queen Elizabeth II was a fan as were Saddam Hussein and Elton John.

As other Portuguese wines have become more well-known, the company's percentage of total exports has fallen but the wine remains popular. The owners have introduced other varieties including a Tempranillo, a Sparkling Brut Rosé, a Sparkling Dry White, and Sparkling Demi Sec.

The Mateus Rosé label features the Mateus Palace in Vila Real. Its distinctive round bottle was once a favorite candle holder accessory among garret-dwelling students.

Mateus Rosé
The distinctive bottle of Mateus Rosé

Details

Rua 5 de Outubro, 4527
4430-809 Avintes
Portugal
Tel: 351 227 838 104
www: mateusrose.com

© PortugalVisitor.com

Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon

Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon

The Vasco da Gama Tower is the centerpiece of the Parque das Nações (Nations Park) district of Lisbon.

Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon
Vasco da Gama Tower Lisbon

The 145 meter-tall, steel Vasco da Gama Tower (Torre Vasco da Gama) symbolizes the sail of a caravel and references the history of Portuguese exploration and the Age of Discoveries.

The structure was built for Expo 98 and is one of the tallest structures in Portugal. In 2012 the five-star Myriad Hotel opened next to the tower.

The structure is illuminated at night
The structure is illuminated at night

The structure is illuminated at night and makes for a beautiful sight. The viewing platform at the top is no longer open but there are plans to reopen it.

Nearby is the 17 km long Vasco da Gama Bridge, the longest bridge in western Europe.

Access - Getting There

Take the Linha Oriente Line (color-coded red) to Gare do Oriente Station.

There are also suburban line trains to Oriente and several bus routes including the #208, #210, #708, #725, #728, #744, #750, #759, #782, and #794.

A cable car connects the Oceanarium to Vasco da Gama Tower.

The total height of the structure is 145 meters
The total height of the structure is 145 meters

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Os Caretos de Podence

Os Caretos de Podence, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Trás-os-Montes

Os Caretos de Podence
Os Caretos de Podence

One of Portugal's most traditional and bizarre carnival celebrations takes place in the village of Podence in the Trás-os-Montes region of northeastern Portugal.

Men of the area dress in colorful, home-made, woolen, hooded costumes predominately red, green, and yellow with red masks made from wood or leather. Around their waists on leather belts, they wear an assortment of metal rattles and bells. A tail protrudes from the hood and also carries a sexual connotation. The caretos usually carry a wooden staff as well.

The caretos circulate around the village in search of women to shake their rattles and bells at. The act symbolizes spring, fertilization, and regrowth after the barren months of winter.

The festival in the villages of Podence and nearby Macedo de Cavaleiros has been designated an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Historians believe the festival has its roots in ancient Celtic fertility cults.

Access - Getting There

Podence and Macedo de Cavaleiros are around 40 km south of Bragança and 80 km northeast of Vila Real.

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Via Algarviana

Via Algarviana

The Via Algarviana is a long-distance walking route in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. It connects Cabo de São Vicente (Cape of Saint Vincent) in the southwest with Alcoutim in the northeast of the region. The Via Algarviana is suitable for both walking or cycling.

There are also trails branching off the main route such as the one shown on the map below from Aljezur to Marmelete.

Via Algarviana
Via Algarviana Map

Route

The Via Algarviana passes through Vila do Bispo, Bensafrim, Marmelete, Monchique, Silves, Messines, Alte, Salir, Barranco do Velho, Parises, Cachopo, Vaqueiros, Furnazinhos, Balurcos before arriving in Alcoutim. There are spurs to Lagos, Loule and São Bras do Alportel.

Altogether the entire route is around 300 km in length. The route became fully accredited in 2006.

All the main towns and villages on the route have adequate accommodation and restaurants for tired and hungry hikers. August, due to the heat, is probably best avoided but not impossible.

Route Map
Detailed route maps are available along the way


Rota Vicentina

The trail also connects with the roughly north-south Rota Vicentina at Cabo de São Vicente and Aljezur.

Further Information

Further information can be found at viaalgarviana.org

If you are thinking of a walking holiday in southern Portugal Walking in the Algarve by Cicerone is an invaluable resource.

Detailed information is available on signboards along the route
Detailed information in both Portuguese and English is available on signboards along the route

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