In days gone by, the approach to Amarante was truly scenic, on the old Tâmega branch train line, with rattling wooden carriages snaking along a single-track route up the valley. Although long discontinued, part of the track now has a new lease of life as the Ecopista da Linha do Tâmega, a “green route” that’s been opened from the old station at Amarante to that of Chapa, a shade over 9km to the northeast. In time, it’s planned to extend the hiking and biking track as far as Celorico de Basto (22km from Amarante) and Arco de Baúlhe (40km), but even now, the shortish stretch to Chapa makes for a lovely day out, along the river valley, through pine and eucalyptus, over the occasional bridge and past abandoned buildings.

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