Between the municipalities of Mirandela, Macedo de Cavaleiros, Alfândega da Fé, Vila Flor and Carrazeda de Ansiães in the Trás-os-Montes region, you will find the Terra Quente (Hot Earth) Transmontana Route. A region with a vast historical and cultural heritage, combined into breathtaking landscapes.
The rivers create deep valleys, their banks used to grow wine and olive oil, the main engines of the local economy. At the various viewpoints across the region, you can watch the scenery change: there are rivers, planted fields all the way up to the horizon, or abrupt mountains. Also take the opportunity for some leisure activities in the rich and vast nature that you'll find in this region.
Contrary to what happens in the northernmost area over the district of Bragança, known as the Terra Fria (Cold Earth), the climate is milder and inviting at any time of the year. Even so, get ready for harsh winters and hot summers.
Start your exploration of the Terra Quente Transmontana at Mirandela. In this city that sits along the banks of river Tua, the imposing Palace of the Távoras, a seventeenth century palace that currently houses the Town Hall and the Mansion of the Earls of Vinhais (Solar dos Condes de Vinhais) and an emblazoned house of the 18th century, are some of the monuments that you can visit. Go further back in time and visit the ruins of the Castle of Mirandela, spread across the city.
Don't leave Mirandela without climbing to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Protection (Nossa Senhora do Amparo), built in the 17th century. Here you can have a glimpse of the city of Mirandela and the valley of the river Tua.
If you're a water sports fan, you should know that the Tua river is very much used to practice jet-ski: Mirandela regularly hosts national and European jet-ski championships.
Macedo de Cavaleiros
After visiting Mirandela, head towards Macedo de Cavaleiros. Along the way make a stop in Romeu, a typical Trás-os-Montes village that is very well preserved. Here you can visit the Museum of Curiosities, a collection of objects from the family of an important agricultural businessman who settled here in the 19th century. To enter this museum is to return to the recent past: there are bicycles, agricultural implements or cinema material.
Set in a valley between the Mountain Ranges of Pinhovelo and Bornes, which are also worthy of a visit, very sought after for the practice of hang-gliding and para-gliding, the county of Macedo de Cavaleiros presents a very rich heritage: there are mansions, churches, bridges, cruises and pillories to discover and enjoy. Macedo de Cavaleiros is the youngest county in the Bragança district. Its name "Macedo" is due to the fact that it is a fertile land for planting apple trees. The origins of this territory are much older, including a wide range of traces from the ancient times, from rock art, traces of Roman pavement and milestones, Romanised villages, medieval bridges, religious architecture, among others.
Among the rich natural heritage of this region stands out, beyond the mountains of Pinhovelo and Bornes, the Paisagem Protegida da Albufeira do Azibo (Protected Landscape of Albufeira de Azibo), with an area of over 3000 hectares, a prime location for bird watching, but also for water activities such as rowing, windsurfing or canoing, since the river also has two beaches with the blue flag.
Alfândega da Fé
To South of Macedo de Cavaleiros, there is the Alfândega da Fé municipality, whose landscape is also marked by Bornes Ridge and by a heritage linked to religion and the defense of the territory, with the Agrobom, Sambade, Sendim da Ribeira Parish Churches, as well as the Alfândega da Fé castle and the Clock Tower, as main highlights.
The gastronomy plays an important role in Alfândega da Fé. Known as the cherry capital, pork dishes also play a major role at the table. The tradition also remains alive through the local crafts, which include the production of baskets, tin, lace, embroidery and weaving on hand looms. In Alfândega da Fé all parties are duly celebrated, from the singing of the kings in January, to the pilgrimages during the Summer months. Carnival is celebrated with the reins of donkeys, a manifestation of local origin, which consists of the gathering and release of all the animals on the streets of the village.
To west of Alfândega da Fé there is Vila Flor, surrounded by nature in a landscape that features olive groves and vineyards with small branches of broom, heather and rosemary, a place where you can discover the history and flavors of Terra Quente. The city lives up to its name, providing all visitors a colorful and serene landscape.
Vila Flor was baptized by D. Dinis, who fell in love with this town when he was on his way to meet his fiancée Isabel. The poet king ordered the construction of a castle in the thirteenth century, but only some parts of the wall remain today. A part that survived the evolution of the village was the Arch of D. Dinis that can be seen in the historical area of the village.
For animal lovers a visit to the Tourist Complex of Peneiredo near the Peneiredo dam is also recommended. In addition to the swimming pools, picnic area and campsite, the complex includes a small zoo. Here you will be able to observe species such as deer, wild boar, peacock, ducks, among other birds.
Carrazeda de Ansiães
20 kilometers separate the center of Vila Flor and Carrazeda de Ansiães. Here the ancient and modern arts are in a harmonious relationship, from the contemporary sculptures in granite of the International Museum of Contemporary Outdoor Art up to 18th century Pillory, built at the time of the transfer of the municipal seat from Ansiães to Carrazeda de Ansiães. Visit the CICA - Interpretive Center of Ansiães Castle, the place of excellence to more deeply know the history of the county and the windmill built in the twentieth century that ground the wheat produced on the land around the village.
From the town center, leave for Ansiães where a visit to the Castle and the romanic churches of S. João Baptista and S. Salvador de Ansiães is called for. On top of the castle you can enjoy the scenery: olive trees, orchards and, in the background, the village of Carrazeda de Ansiães. If you get a chance, head south to find another remarkable landscape of the Douro Route Viewpoint. Here in the village of Beira Grande, one can see the molded banks of the Douro river, result of the hard work of men, which form the terraces where the vineyards are planted to produce Porto wine, the most international Portuguese wine.
Venture into the Terra Quente Transmontana and discover unique places, full of history, that will leave you enchanted. If you are staying for multiple days, find out where can you stay and charge your batteries overnight. Contact us to clarify any question that may arise: we are happy to help you enjoy the best of Porto and North of Portugal.