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 bear his name or have some link to him. Although Amarante’s sights are few, save a photogenic bridge, and a riverside main street of granite houses whose wooden balconies project over the Tâmega, it’s popular with weekenders from Porto and foreign visitors. There’s a definite air of prosperity about and it’s certainly a fine place to spend the night, with a wide choice of accommodation, much of it still reasonably priced. Wednesdays and Saturdays – market days – are the most lively, though the action is all over by 3pm.

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