Driving Along Spanish Border From Salamanca to Braganca
After visiting the golden city of Salamanca, we continued our road trip along the Spanish border. We passed through the Arribes del Duero Natural Park and visited small towns like Aldeadávila de la Ribera and Zamora.
We got back to Portugal through the village of Rio de Onor and relished the views from the top of the Montesinho Park, before reaching the centre of Bragança.
Below is an itinerary of our one-day road trip along the north of Spain and Portugal, including places to eat, in case you want to follow our footsteps.
We left Salamanca early morning and headed west towards the Arribes del
Duero park. Stretching for over 100 hectares, it forms the northern
border between Spain and Portugal, with the Douro river flowing in the
middle. High mountains, granite outcrops, and waterfalls make up the
landscape of this vast natural park. If you visit early in the year,
it’s worth stopping by Pozo de los Humos, a beautiful waterfall that
connects to the Uces river.
Arribes del Duero is also a wine region, and you’ll find a few wineries dotted around such as Bodegas Arribes del Duero or Bodegas Ribera de Pelazas. For nature lovers, there are many hiking trails like the Senda del Duero, a route that follows the course of the Douro river.
Aldeadávila de la Ribera is a picturesque village located within the
Arribes del Duero. Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno called it the “heart
of Arribes”. The village is surrounded by viewpoints from which you can
capture the river and the mountains. The best ones are the Mirador del
Picón de Felipe and Mirador del Fraile (Miradouro do Frade). Near this last one is the
Llano de la Bodega, a picnic ground with stone benches and tables.
From Aldeadávila de la Ribera we drove to the town of Zamora. Set along
the banks of the Douro river, it has a charming historic centre
surrounded by medieval stone buildings. There are more than 20
Romanesque churches in Zamora, which is more than any other Spanish
city. We began our tour at the Santa María Magdalena de Zamora.
Established in the 12th century, it's one of the most beautiful churches
in the area, featuring a doorway adorned with floral motifs.
While in Zamora, you can grab lunch at El Mesón del Zorro. Located near the train station, this restaurant specialises in meat dishes. It’s famous for its Cocido, a traditional Spanish stew made with chickpeas, meat and vegetables. If you want to stay near the centre, you can try the innovative tapas at La Sal.
In the afternoon, we continued on the road towards Portugal, entering
through Rio de Onor. With little over 70 residents, this tiny village is
split into two by the border between Portugal and Spain. Schist
cottages line both ends of the river and sheep wander freely through the
green fields. On the streets and at the cafés, you’ll hear a mix of
Portuguese and Spanish, a local dialect known as Rionorês.
Rio de Onor is one of the many villages located within the Montesinho
Natural Park. After visiting the village, it’s worth taking some time to
explore this protected landscape with over 70,000 hectares. Chestnut
trees and oakwoods cover its hills, which are home to a variety of
species, including the Iberian wolf, wild boar and roe deer.
an ideal place for cycling and hiking, as well as swimming, as there
are a few river beaches like the Praia Fluvial de Fresulfe. If you're
travelling with kids, you should stop by the Parque Biológico de
Vinhais, where it’s possible to interact with some animals or even spend
the night in one of their pods.
For dinner, you can head to the village of Varge and enjoy a meal at O
Careto. Housed in a traditional stone house with schist walls and a
wood-burning oven, this restaurant serves delicious homemade meals.
Specialities include the Bacalhau Assado (roasted cod) and the Posta
Mirandesa, a thick meat cut typical from this region.
We ended the day in Bragança, the capital of the region of Trás-os-Montes. As we approached the city, we saw lights reflected upon its medieval fortress and the castle rising above a hill. We took a walk around the historic centre and then headed to the Pousada Bragança for the night. We settled here for another day, so we had time to explore everything this city has to offer. If you want to follow our footsteps, you can join us on our Bragança tour.