A quick drive from Porto takes you to the beautiful riverside town of AMARANTE, which hugs both sides of the Rio Tâmega, a handsome tributary of the Douro. Much of the town’s history revolves around the thirteenth-century hermit Gonçalo, later made a saint, and most of the attractions have some link to him. Although Amarante’s sights are few, save a photogenic bridge, and a riverside main street of granite houses with wooden balconies, it’s popular with weekenders from Porto and foreign visitors. There’s a definite air of prosperity about and it’s a fine place to spend the night, with a wide choice of accommodation, much of it still reasonably priced. Wednesdays and Saturdays, the market days, are the most lively, though the action is all over by 3pm. The local hooch, Gatão, a fruity vinho verde, can be enjoyed at one of the few late-opening esplanade bars found on the south side of the river near either bridge.

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