An experience rooted in history

Explore the Romanesque Route in Portugal, a captivating tour covering 58 monuments nestled in the northern region near the rivers Tâmega, Sousa, and part of the Douro. This scenic journey is an integral component of TRANSROMANICA, a prestigious Cultural Route of the Council of Europe. Officially recognized, this route establishes a connection among nine European countries, including Portugal, in celebrating their shared Romanesque heritage, and promoting cultural tourism that also serves as a catalyst for sustainable regional and economic development, making every moment a testament to the harmonious blend of past and present.  

Along this Route you can find monasteries, churches and memorials, bridges, castles and towers that share characteristics of Romanesque architecture of this region. Generally, they are located in the center of a triangle whose vertices are World Heritage Sites: Porto, Guimarães and the Douro Valley. 

The Romanesque Route is divided into three routes that connect to one another by road, following the river valleys: The Sousa Valley Route, with 19 monuments; The Tâmega Valley Route, with 25 monuments; and the Douro Valley route, roughly between Castelo de Paiva and Resende, with 14 monuments. 

This region and its architectural heritage are indelibly associated with the beginnings of Portuguese nationality, since it was here that the noble families resided who helped the first kings in the Christian Reconquest of the territory that is today Portugal. On the other hand, the clergy and the religious orders helped populations to settle, which is why churches, monasteries and other monuments with unique architectural features are concentrated in such a small area, having often played defensive roles, as attested to by their embattled towers and buttresses. 

The unusual nature of this historic and artistic legacy is based in part on the decoration seen in the portals of churches and monastic complexes, where the use of animalistic, vegetal, or geometric themes, of a noticeably sculptural quality, provides overall unity to the buildings included on this route of the Portuguese Romanesque. Although they mostly date from the 11th to 13th centuries, you will notice that the construction techniques extended into the period when Gothic solutions already prevailed elsewhere. This is another particular feature of this Romanesque route. 

This route is a journey through history, and an excellent starting point for enjoying a complete visit to the region, also taking in other aspects of its regional identity such as the traditional cuisine, the wines, festivals, and markets featuring local handicrafts, and actual contact with the local people. There are also trails for hikers and cyclists to enjoy in communion with nature, or for the more daring, the river Paiva challenges the waterborne with unique experiences and unforgettable raft descents. 

Things to consider before traveling

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Some tips to consider while traveling

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