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Valença



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An ancient and attractive border town, the seat of the county, Valença, rises on a hilltop overlooking the river Minho and has two double-walled forts linked by a causeway in the Vauban (French engineer and arquitect) style.

The forts, dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, offer fine views across the river into neighbouring Tuy, in Galicia (Spain).

Surrounded by the walls and ramparts, the old quarter has picturesque cobbled alleys full of shops selling handicrafts of linen, pottery and wickerwork which are popular among visitors from Spain.

Valença exhibits other fine constructions such as the Casa do Eirado (15th century), with a crenellated roof and Gothic window, or the Casa do Poço (18th century) with fine wrought-iron balconies.

At about five kilometres from the town, the Convent of Ganfei was rebuilt in the 11th century in the Romanesque style and is ornamented with animal and plant motifs.

Near Gandra, the castle of Fraião offers enchanting views over the course of the river Minho running to meet the sea at Caminha.

At Valença do Minho, the Pousada de São Teotónio was installed within the old fort and also presents wonderful views of the valley across the river Minho.

Nature offers the county reserves such as the marshes of Veiga de Mira, sheltering wild ducks and with beautiful woods of alders, rivers and streams abundant in fish such as salmon, trout, eels, lamprey and shad, or sites to relax and enjoy the river and verdant scenery, such as the Natural Park of Cristelo, excellent for water sports.

In terms of gastronomy, Valença boasts of local specialities such as roast kid and typical dishes of lamprey and cod.

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