001 - Valenca - Portugal

A fortress, a city next to the border, azulejos, and the perfect place to start discovering Portugal. This is Valença.

Ever wanted to visit Portugal? Here’s a good place to start:

Valença (also known as Valença do Minho) – it is a fortress city, situated in the North of Portugal, right on the border with Spain/Galicia. Guarded by water (Minho river) and fire (quite frequent in the summer), this city is the best starting point for a two or three-week journey through Portugal.

We rated this location as a one star out of 5 (should stop if in transit and the visit is free), with a half of day minimum stay (best on good weather).

001.01 The train station, situated at 15 minute walk from the fortress. Spanish and Portuguese trains come here, but none of the very fast ones.

001.02 Shattered tiles on an abandoned building.

001.03 Valença, the fortress city, as seen from across the River Minho (I did the picture from the International Bridge, exactly from the point that marks the limit between Portugal and Spain. This bridge is shown as the last picture of this article). Valença was known as Contrasta, and we present the legend of it, in the end of the article. 

001.04 The fortress wall, as seen in the winter (as you come from the Blue “Eiffel” Bridge).

001.05 There are many walls (as seen on the map) and some of them are housing more life (inside them) than expected.

001.06 The maze inside the walls.

001.07 A peek into the city.

001.08 Outside the busy streets lies another maze, of narrow, stony roads, connecting houses, churches and much more…

001.9 Inside the beautiful Santo Estevao Church.

001.10 Valença and the crown shaped walls.

001.11 Camera Municipal de Valença, azulejos facade and the busy main square.

001.12 Beautifully back in time on the Lopes da Silva Street. Even in black and white, the Azulejos (blue ceramic tiles, signature of Portugal), are easy to spot.

001.13 Lopes da Silva Street

001.14 Did you think that walking outside the walls, inside the walls or between the walls, was all that is to it? Well, you can walk also on top of the green walls.

001.15 Portuguese merchandise all day long. (in the late afternoon, these streets are deserted)

001.16 On the Lopes da Silva Street, you will find a few gorgeous buildings, dressed up on Azulejos tiles.

001.17 Valença is a beautiful example of today’s communion of different people, once separated only by leaders. Also, as a side note, one of the best ice-cream coffee shop is right here (to the left of this image). 

001.18 The maze outside the walls. Clearly, your stay in this city should be greater than a few hours, since there is a lot to see inside, outside, on top, and under.

001.19 These heavy doors, were closed for the first time in the XVII-XVIII-th century in order to protect Valença. Nowadays they stay "forever" open, even during pandemic times.

001.20 The view of the fortress from the Porta da Gabiarra (in the spring) as you come from Spain).

001.21 The view over the tracks that connect Portugal, with Spain. 

As you saw in this article, Valença is a fortress city, right at the border with Spain, separated by the Minho River at the north and a bunch of windmills at the south. 

Getting here can be done either by train (from airport locations) or by rented car or by bus or even on foot from Tui (Spain). 

We think that in a half a day (4-5h) you can really enjoy the surroundings, and then start visiting the neighbor city: Tui.

There is even a kids train that makes round trips between Valença and Tui so you can save time between locations and also have the car parked in a better area (Tui). 

The St James Way or Camino de Santiago, is passing through both Valença and Tui, but the cheapest and biggest variety of accommodations are found in Tui. 

If you plan to eat in the area, there are some restaurants inside the Fortress, also supermarket stores outside. If kids want "trusted" brands, as of 2017/18 those are in Tui + a great Outlet Store (tested for buying good affordable clothes) + the best view is Valença seen from the shores of Minho River, from Tui (so keep that in mind also). 

Thank you for reading this article and hope you will see other ones also,


The photos on this article were made in April of 2017 and April of 2018 (by coincidence).
They were shot on Canon 760D and then on Canon 80D. 

The lenses used are:
Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 Canon EF-S Mount - 1, 2, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17
Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Canon EF-S Mount - 5, 10, 11, 15, 18
Canon 24-70 f/4L Canon EF Mount - 3, 4, 6, 7, 19, 20, 21

Most photos are shot at lowest ISO possible, for the highest aperture available, in order to obtain a good exposure time. 

All shot in manual mode.

No phone camera photos in this article. 

No HDR photos in this article.

No AI in any way, shape or form. 

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