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Caminha

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Caminha is a town on the wide eestuary of Minho, where this river is met by the smaller Coura, and close to the Atlantic Ocean in Northern Portugal. It is one of the most attractive small towns in northern Portugal, with a beautiful riverside setting, many old streets and interesting historical buildings.

First mentioned by Strabo, it became an important trading port early in the 14C, shipping to wine to Britain and later importing products from Africa, India and Brazil. The most notable monuments date from the 16th century. The town started declining in the 17C, when larger trading ships had difficulty to enter the rocky river mouth.

It is a popular weekend and summer destination (good ocean beaches in Camarido and Moledo, 2km and 4km respectively).

Get in[edit]

From Viana do Castelo or Valenca by railway or motorway. Viana is 21 km south, while Valenca is 28 km northeast. Vigo, in Spain, is the closest airport (60 km).

A ferry carries cars and pedestrians across the river from/to Pasaxe, close to A Guarda (Spain).

Get around[edit]

The old town is small and compact. It grew on a small island fortified during the Roman occupation and connected to the mainland in the 13C.

See[edit][add listing]

The Praça do Conselheiro Silva Torres is the main square, outside the southern entrance of the walled town; it is adorned by an important renaissance fontain (by João Lopes o Velho, 1551-53). The Palace of the Pittas (15-16C) has the owners' coats of arms in the facade.

Also facing the square is the Old Town Hall has a good timbered meeting room; internal stairs also lead to the top of the Clock Tower, the medieval keep (small fee; good view). To its right is the Misericordia church, with some baroque altars and a upper choir.

Ricardo Joaquim de Sousa Street, sided by good medieval and renaissance houses, leads from the main square to the Igreja Matriz - the town's main church. In this street are the tourism office and the local museum (modest collections; entrance by a rear alley).

The impressive Igreja Matriz is a large transitional building of the 15-16C, with Gothic, "Manuelino" and Renaissance elements. Inside, the timber roof of the main nave is one of the most important in the country; side altars, tiles and the pulpit also deserve inspection.

There are remains of fortifications from the 13C to the 18C.

In the late-19C Railway Station are good tiles depicting old-days economic activities.

The Miradouro de Santo Antão offers a good view over the charming town setting, the fishing harbour and Spanish mountains across the estuary.

Do[edit][add listing]

The river estuary is good for boating, and the beaches are very popular in the summer.

Good hiking in the surrounding mountains, especially the Serra de Arga.

There are a good number of pubs attracting a young crown during the holiday season and weekends, otherwise are empty.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Traditional crafts like copper objects and netlace are decling.

Local stores offer good cotton and linen products.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Local restaurants serve excellent fish.

Docelandia is a well-known pastry shop.

Drink[edit][add listing]

After Eight is a popular pub.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

An hotel, several B&Bs and a camping.

Contact[edit]

The tourism office is open year-round (Rua Ricardo Joaquim de Sousa - 4910-155 Caminha; phone (351) 258921952; turismo@cm-caminha.pt).

Get out[edit]

In the summer, possibility of a trip of the rocky island of Insua, with a 17C fort, ruins of a medieval convent and sand beach (crossing to be negotiated with local fishermen).





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