15 Best Activities in Paredes (Portugal)

In the Porto district, Paredes is a town on the edge of the Sousa Valley. This is a picturesque rural corner of northern Portugal, with vine-covered hills and farms growing juicy Carvalho melons. The Romanesque route through the area, so there are some atmospheric monuments from the Middle Ages: you can look for two imposing churches and the ruins of a castle that clashed with the Moors in the 10th century.

Spend a carefree afternoon sipping vinho verde wine in a romantic old estate, visit the palace converted into a museum, and venture into the ruins of an ancient town that once ruled all of northwestern Iberia.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Paredes:

1. Igreja de São Pedro do Mosteiro de Cete

Igreja De São Pedro Do Mosteiro De Cete

Easily distinguished by its fortress-like quadrangular tower, this medieval church is a national monument and an indispensable stop on the Rota do Românico (Romanesque route) in the Sousa Valley. Work began in the 1000’s and continued until the 1300’s with reconstruction, which allowed us to mix Romanesque and Gothic styles.

Avid historians have plenty to keep their eyes peeled for, like the cloisters from the 1500s, the sarcophagus in the garden, or the funeral chapel of the founder of the monastery, Gonçalo Oveques.

This holds his decorative 12th century tomb, decorated with Mudéjar tiles from the 1500s.

2. Pelorinho de Paredes

In the 1600s, Paredes’ pillory was “property of the public interest” and was brought to this location in front of the former town hall (now the Conservatory).

At this time Paredes was chosen as the seat of the local government, as it is located on the road from Villarreal to Porto, which has evolved into the largest town in the woods.

The pillory was removed at the end of the 19th century, but was soon restored in the 1930s.

It’s a terrifying thought to think what this monument would have looked like 400 years ago: criminals are publicly humiliated here, and after execution, parts of their bodies will hang from this pillar to serve as role models for others!

3. Casa de Cultura de Paredes

Paredes Cultural House

In the 19th century, Joaquim Bernardo Mendes, born near Penafiel, returned from wealthy Brazil to commission the lavish palace.

Palacete da Granja has some of the neoclassical hallmarks of “Brasileiro” architecture, with balustrades on the roofs, palatial gables and facades painted with yellow geometric tiles.

These were hand painted at the Fábrica de Massarelos in Porto.

The house was large enough to host King Carlos in 1895, and in 1997 turned into a cultural center with an auditorium, outdoor amphitheater and temporary art exhibitions.

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4. Quinta da Aveleda

Quinta da Avileda

More than just a simple winery, this estate is minutes from Paredes, with charming gardens and a whimsical house overgrown with ivy.

Wine is pretty much on the back burner when you’re touring the grounds.

These are free-flowing English in style, with fountains, waterfalls, ponds, mossy stairs and a collection of folly and monuments dating back 300 years, each with a story to tell.

There’s even a stone tower for the estate’s goats to climb.

Now, you wouldn’t expect to visit the estate and winery without tasting some vinho verde, but Quinta da Aveleda also makes top-notch cheeses and brandies, all of which are kept in store after the tour.

5. Motortello de Paso de Sousa

motello de paso de sosa

Back on the Romanesque route, you’ll find another medieval abbey church not far south of town.

It was established in the 900’s as a Benedictine community, and when the army of the Muslim ruler Almanzor arrived in 995, it served as a refuge for the local clergy. It is a seemingly huge Romanesque Gothic church with three naves and a beautiful rose window facade.

As you leave, don’t miss the stunning 12th-century tomb of Egas Moniz, tutor of Portugal’s first king, Afonso Henriques (a senior official of the Christian military order).

6. Circuito Aberto de Arte Pública

Circuito Aberto De Arte Pública

Recently, Paredes launched a planned regeneration programme to reposition itself as a creative town.

Now, 17 quirky and innovative public sculptures by esteemed artists such as José Pedro Croft and Rui Chafes inject a touch of whimsy into the cityscape.

Many of these installations encourage people to interact with them, such as “Funny Games,” a swing installation that looks a bit like a gallows, or “Vaso,” a giant vase that surrounds the trunk of a tree with a A bench with the words about sustainability.

7. Torre do Castelo de Aguiar de Sousa

Torre Do Castelo De Aguiar De Sousa

In the parish of Aguiar de Sousa there used to be a mighty medieval castle, built around the 9th century.

In 995, the legendary commander Almanzor attacked it while advancing towards Braga and Compostela.

But the fort was eventually abandoned due to the nearly impassable terrain and higher hills nearby.

What stands today is the ruins, a single tower surrounded by the ruins of the city wall.

Located on the Romanesque route, this monument was renovated in 2009 and the steps lead you to the viewpoint of the Sousa Valley.

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8. Aqueduto e Tanques de Cimo de Vila

Aqueduto E Tanques De Cimo De Vila

In Vila Cova de Carros, the aqueduct has an ancient appearance.

Its pillars are deeply etched granite blocks that support a passage that runs half a kilometer through the valley.

Aqueducts carry water from two wells to a set of tanks that you can also admire.

This is an architectural style unique to the Paredes region, only as old as the first few decades of the 19th century.

Check out the gargoyle on one of the tanks.

9. “Canhão” da Senhora do Salto

“Canhão” Da Senhora Do Salto

Near the village of Aguiar de Sousa, the water of the Sousa River cuts a deep gorge in the stone.

These are some of the oldest rocks on the Iberian Peninsula, dating back to the Precambrian and Paleozoic.

The surfaces of shale and quartzite are rough, and their resistance to erosion creates vertical walls above the river.

Rugged walls are a climber favorite with lots of grip and footing.

However, if you just want to enjoy the view, there is a small picnic park at the top of the cliff, teaming up with a lovely old chapel.

10. Castro de Monte Mozinho

Castro de Monzinho

“Castro” are Bronze Age hilltop castles that dot the countryside of northern Portugal.

Not far away is the Castro de Monte Mozinho, just outside the village of Gallegos.

Covering 20 hectares, this is a place to inspire the imagination, with a network of paved streets and dry stone walls of dozens of buildings, all protected by more than 2,000 years old city walls.

There are remains of Celts, Romans, Visigoths and Moors here, and there is a theory that this Castro was once the capital of the Galician tribes.

At the highest point of the village, a strange oval-shaped space is left entirely, which may be a public space for some kind of ceremony.

11. Penafil

Santuário Do Sameiro

Just next door, the town of Penafir takes at least an afternoon.

The first thing you’ll notice is Santuário do Sameiro, a 19th-century chapel on the highest hill in town, with a stately staircase leading you through the park to the top.

If Monte Mozinho’s Castro has captured your imagination, Penafiel’s award-winning Municipal Museum houses the site’s coins, pottery and utensils.

The museum is housed in a 17th-century mansion, modernized in 2005 by the famous architect Fernando Távora.

12. Porto

Porto

Once you are on the A4, this World Heritage city is less than 20 minutes away.

It’s an excursion you won’t soon forget, because Porto doesn’t just have something for everyone. It’s possible for a lot of people! If you want to see the heavyweight sights, look at the image of Dom Luís I Bridge.

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It crosses the Douro River, with wooden rabelo sailing boats on the water below, as recognisable as any in Portugal.

Epicureans can savor Port, sweet and fortified wines, while art and culture lovers can savor the Seralves’ Art Deco houses and art museum, or Rem Koolhaas ) at the iconic Casa da Música.

There are also beaches, communities such as Foz and Ribeira, and world-class seafood in Matosinhos.

13. The Wizarding World

Magic Paradise

5 km from Paredes, Magikland is a fun day out for families with children around 10 years old.

It’s a small theme park with playground rides like bumper cars, a Ferris wheel and a carousel, as well as some larger permanent rides: a log water tank, a roller coaster, and a train through the forest.

On a hot summer day, you’ll be glad that the park has a swimming pool for young people to paddle.

For meals, there is also a family restaurant in the park, or you can bring your own picnic in the cool pine forest.

14. Vinho Verde

Vinho

Quinta da Aveleda is the largest producer of vinho verde in the region.

If you’ve never encountered this drink, be sure to order a bottle at some stage of your trip.

This is a young wine that can be red, white or rosé and matures in just a few weeks.

Usually it has a light sheen: white wines are sour and crisp, while reds are light and easy to drink.

Vinho verde pairs really well with white meat, fish, and seafood, but is just as good on its own and served as cold as possible (even with red wine!).

15. Food

Broadmillo

The go-to meal for traditional celebrations or family gatherings is roast baby goat.

This is cooked in a wood-fired oven with potatoes and added with orange zest and cilantro for extra flavor.

Summer means Melão casca de carvalho (“oak bark melon”), which you know from its rough skin, and is great on its own or with presunto ham.

Broa de milho (cornbread) is popular throughout Portugal, but it’s a Paredes icon and a must-have at local bakeries.

The most popular desserts in the Porto district are sopa seca doce (dry soup), usually served on public holidays, and a bread pudding with leftover bread, cinnamon and liqueur.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Paredes, Portugal
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