The old spa town of MONÇÃO, 16km east of Valença, still boasts a high defensive walkway that runs along the northern, river-facing side of town, offering superb views across the deep Minho valley into Spain. It’s a pleasant enough place to pause, centred round the mosaic-cobbled square, Praça Deu-la-Deu, where the seventeenth-century Igreja da Misericórdia contains some magnificent azulejos. There is also an attractive grid of narrow streets round the sixteenth-century Romanesque Igreja da Matriz which houses various tombs, including that of Deu-la-Deu Martins. The town has also received something of a boost with the renovation of its spa, which can be enjoyed in the Termas do Monção (whttp://www.tesal.com) just west of the old town on Avenida das Caldas. Otherwise the town is liveliest on a Thursday, market day, or during the local festivals of Corpo de Deus (Corpus Christi, usually second week in June) and Nossa Senhora das Dores (Aug).

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