Pousada de Valença do Minho
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- Number of rooms: 18
- Air conditioning
- Free internet (public areas)
- 24-hour reception
- Safe at reception
- Room service
- Business centre
- Golf course nearby
- Airport (122km)
Pousada de Valença do Minho – Modern Hotel Surrounded by Historic Fortifications
Sitting on the highest point of the old fortified area of Valença, the Pousada de São Teotónio boasts incredible views over Spain and the River Minho. The location, on the Spanish-Portuguese border makes the Pousada an ideal rest stop for those travelling en route to or from the Santander ferry.
The Pousada itself is surrounded by a fortress of Gothic and Baroque military architecture based within the ancient São Teotónio fortress where guests can marvel at the impressive fortified walls which form part of the Pousada’s magnificent views. The entrance to the fortress is via crenellated gates and cobblestone streets, flanked by lively stalls and tourists, and the Pousada is located towards the far end in a haven of peace and tranquility.
With only 18 rooms, this is one of the smaller Pousadas, offering guests an opportunity to relax in intimate, historic surroundings. The Pousada has bedrooms overlooking the spectacular Minho Valley and Spain, some of which have balconies, whilst others face inwards greeted with a view of the fortress. The bedrooms are decorated in a classic, yet comfortable, style with much of the furniture reflecting the Pousada’s historical roots.
The public areas are warm and welcoming, with plenty of comfortable seating and large grand fireplaces creating a cosy retreat. Although modern in architecture, the Pousada strives to emulate its historical surroundings through its furnishings.
The Pousada de São Teotónio’s restaurant serves many of the typical dishes found in the Minho region. Whilst enjoying the spectacular views the Pousada is renowned for, guests have a whole host of delicious options to choose from such as char-grilled cod with roasted ‘punched’ potatoes and sautéed sprouts, mountain kid goat with golden potatoes and fresh vegetables, and typical Portuguese rice pudding. In addition to all of these delicacies, the restaurant has a selection of some of the region’s most popular wines.
There is public parking available in front of the Pousada.
Standing tall on a mount over the River Minho is the 17th and 18th century double rampart of the fortress of Valença do Minho, marking the end of the Portuguese territory on its border with Spain. The fortress played a prominent role in protecting Portugal from various French, Spanish, and Moorish invasions, and as such has been destroyed and rebuilt several times over the years. Some of the original 13th century walls are still standing, whilst the majority of the rebuilt architecture dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries.
The fortress dominates Valença do Minho, occupying the majority of the town. Within its walls, its popularity amongst tourists is evident with cafes and shops lining the main entrance, however visitors are never too far away from the majestic fortified walls which enforce the sense of history.
The São Teotónio Fortress is named after Portugal’s first Saint. Theotonius was an Augustinian canon and advisor to the royals during the 11th and 12th centuries. After becoming a priest in Viseu, Theotonius’ devotion to his religion led to him becoming the first prior of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Coimbra, a position in which he excelled and led to him being offered the post of Bishop on countless occasions. The Saint is best known as a royal advisor to Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, who fought and achieved independence for the country in 1139. Saint Theotonius’ influence over the King during his battles makes him a fitting namesake for this ancient military property.
The main attraction of the surrounding area is its incredible natural beauty. The river, along with the flora and fauna reserves, the Veiga de Mira swamps, and surrounding forests provide a refreshing escape from urban living. The nearby Cristelo Natural Park is the ideal location for water sports enthusiasts, and streams filled with a wide variety of fish supply many of the region’s typical dishes.
Restaurant meal times & typical dishes
Lunch is served from 13.00 to 15.00
Dinner is served from 20:00 to 22:00
- “Caldo Verde” Green Cabbage Soup with Pork from Minho Sausages
- Codfish São Teotónio Style
- Roasted Kid Serrana Style with Roasted Potatoes and Green Vegetables
- Rojões (Fried Pork strips) Minho Style
- Confectionery soaked in liquor
- Sweet Rice
How to get there
From Valenca train station: 1. Head west on Largo da Estação toward Av. do Colégio Português (125 ft) 2. Turn left onto Av. do Colégio Português (387 ft) 3. Turn right onto Av. Miguel Dantas/N13 (0.1 mi) 4. At Largo da Trapicheira, take the 2nd exit onto Av. de Espanha (0.2 mi) 5. Turn left onto Av. dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra (0.1 mi) 6. Turn right toward R. Dr. Ilídio do Vale (0.1 mi) 7. Take the 2nd left onto R. Dr. Ilídio do Vale (154 ft) 8. Turn right to stay on R. Dr. Ilídio do Vale (384 ft) 9. Continue onto R. Dr. José Augusto Vieira (499 ft) 10. Turn left to stay on R. Dr. José Augusto Vieira (177 ft) 11. Turn right onto Largo Visc. da Guaratiba (210 ft) 12. Turn right onto Largo de Santa Maria dos Anjos (115 ft) 13. Turn left to stay on Largo de Santa Maria dos Anjos Destination will be on the right (49 ft)
Vila Nova - 16 Km
Viana do Castelo - 60 Km
Geres/Canicada - 96 Km
Amares - 100 Km
Oporto Airport - 122 Km
Region & Cuisine
PORTO & THE NORTH
This for us is the most scenically spectacular of all of Portugal’s five official Regions on the mainland. Bordering the Spanish regions of Galicia to the north and Castilla y León to the east, and with the Atlantic to the west, this is essentially a mountainous region that encompasses two important river systems: the Minho in the north-west forming part of the border with Spain, and further south the Douro running roughly east-west and reaching the Atlantic at the city of Porto. With a mild climate – winter temperatures average 13/14ºC, rising to 26ºC in July and August – this is a region to visit at any time of the year.
Porto is the principal city of the region – it’s Portugal’s second city and gave the country its name. Only an hour and a half or so from the UK by air, Porto is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ‘city break’ destinations for visitors from this country, and for good reason. Most of the historic quarter can comfortably be explored on foot, and a spectacular view of the city and of Vila Nova de Gaia (Gaia for short) on the other side of the Douro can be seen from the splendid Romanesque-Gothic cathedral in the old quarter. Another, more leisurely, way of seeing both Porto and Gaia is by taking a trip on one of the river boats that run between the eastern edge of the city and the point at which the Douro enters the Atlantic.
No mention of Porto is complete without a reference to the most famous product of this region, port wine. Most of the major producers have their cellars across the river in Gaia: here the wine, produced on the estates up-river in and around the Douro Valley, is aged before being shipped to markets throughout the world, and a visit to one of these cellars followed by a tasting of a few varieties is absolutely recommended. Moored in Gaia are the original ‘Rabelo’ boats which were used to transport the wine down from the estates. Nowadays, modern cruise vessels carry passengers up into the Douro Valley, and beyond as far as Spain, for trips of one day to a week.
North of Porto is the ‘Costa Verde’, running up to the River Minho and the Spanish border. The principal town on this coast is the elegant resort of Viana do Castelo, famous throughout Portugal for its ‘Fiesta of Fiestas’ on the third weekend of August, while further north and a few miles inland, on the banks of the Minho and with glorious views across the river to Spain, is the little town of Vila Nova de Cerveira and its charming Pousada.
Other notable towns in the region are Braga, founded by the Celts in 300 BC and an important Roman administrative centre, and Guimarães, a medieval town known as the birthplace of the Portuguese nation and with a magnificently well-preserved historic centre. And in the mountainous ‘Tras-os-Montes’ in the north-west, the historic towns of Chaves and Bragança stand out.
But a major attraction of this beautiful region of Portugal has to be its outstanding scenery. To appreciate this to the full you really need a car and a touring holiday of a week or so, starting and finishing in Porto and staying at several Pousadas en route, will provide a perfect introduction to the region. We would certainly suggest staying a night or two in Porto itself and an ideal route would include the highly-recommended Pousadas at Vila Nova de Cerveira, Amares (near the exceptionally beautiful Peneda-Gerês National Park), Guimarães, Alijó and/or Mesão Frio in the Douro Valley area, the latter with quite magnificent views of the river valley itself, then back to Porto.
The cuisine of the region naturally includes fish of the highest quality along the coastal stretch (including lampreys, a speciality of Vilanova de Cerveira) and inevitably ‘bacalhau’ (codfish), for which there are either 365 or 1,001 methods of preparation – whoever you believe – throughout Portugal. A very popular local speciality is ‘caldo verde’, a green cabbage and spicy sausage soup; rich meaty stews in the mountainous north-west, and everywhere a profusion of sweet desserts, many of them almond based, cakes and pastries. This is ‘vinho verde’ territory so this light, white wine is found throughout the region, while several excellent red wines are produced in the area of the Douro. And, of course, there is always port.......
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Alijo, Alvito, Angra, Belmonte, Braganza, Condeixa-a-Nova, Ourem, Valenca
Pousadas of Portugal:
Children: Generally the cost of an extra bed for a child under 13 years is free (when sharing a twin/double room with 2 parents).
Half-board: Most Pousadas offer a varied 3-course 'Table d'Hote' menu from £27 per person excluding drinks, and from £35 for their Pousadas in Cascais, Porto and Lisbon.
An extensive 'a la carte' selection is available at all Pousadas, these menus change seasonally.
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Children: Prices for extra beds for one or more children will be displayed at best rate available for each room type with capacity for additional beds.
Half-board: Most Pestana hotels offer 'a la carte' and buffet dining options.