Amarante is a small town whose tourist attractions are very concentrated in its historic center. So the best thing to do will be to park your car (preferably in the shade if it’s a hot day) and take a walk. The whole surroundings, blessed by the Tâmega River, is a mixture of history and nature.
São Gonçalo Bridge
If there is a monument that characterizes and identifies the city of Amarante, it is the São Gonçalo Bridge (and the practically adjacent church of the same name). This bridge over the Tâmega River is now classified as a National Monument and, despite its name deriving from the construction or reconstruction made by Blessed Gonçalo de Amarante in the mid-13th century, there is evidence that its history dates back to the Stone Age. In 1809, during the second French invasion, this site was the scene of a long and bloody battle that, after 14 heroic days, gave victory to the Portuguese troops against Napoleon’s soldiers.
São Gonçalo Church and Convent
Definitely imposing religious character on the city of Amarante, this imposing church is located on the site of the chapel where it is believed to be buried São Gonçalo, at one end of the bridge. The convent’s space extends over three cloisters that can also be visited. Outside, a huge square with some terraces invites you to spend some time contemplating the side facade of the church and watching the movements.
Two other churches also interesting to know are the Church of St. Dominic (also known as Church of Our Lord of the Afflicted) and the Church of St. Peter. See the map below for your location.
Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Municipal Museum
The Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso Municipal Museum is housed in a part of the São Gonçalo Convent building and was born with the purpose of gathering works related to the history of the city and the region. Here you can admire the works not only of Amadeo de Souza-Cardozo but also of other local painters and artists such as António Carneiro, Acácio Lino, Agustina Bessa Luís and others. The space is very well organized and maintained and there are permanent, temporary and thematic exhibitions.
Amarante Forest Park occupies an area of over 5 hectares by the River Tâmega. Originally planted with the main purpose of Serra do Marão’s afforestation, today it houses several plant species and is the ideal place to run or do some good walking and exercise in contact with nature. Explore the nooks by the river well, as you will find wonderful views refreshed by the sound of running water.
Open between June and September, the Amarante Water Park usually attracts families, especially children, to spend a fun day on the water. Lots of pools, slides, toboggans, waterfalls and other games work wonders for the kids… and, I suspect, for some big kids too!
I confess I can not hit the ball but, for lovers of this sport, Golf Amarante offers a course of 18 challenging holes, designed by Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva.