The Region

Alto Tâmega

 


The Alto Tâmega region is composed by six municipalities, Boticas, Chaves, Montalegre, Ribeira de Pena, Valpaços and Vila Pouca de Aguiar, has an aproximated ared of 2922 kmand, according to the Portuguese National Institute for Statistics (INE), in 2015 had a resident population of 89.260 inhabitants, thus roughly corresponding to 2.5% of the North region of Portugal.

This territoty represents one of the twenty three national Intermunicipal Communities (IMC), has physical borders with four other CIM – Cávado, Ave, Douro and Terras de Trás-os-Montes – and at North with Spain, what places the region in a priviledge position considering the possibilities of promoting  cross-border relation, specially with the neighbor province of Orense.

Agricultural activity and agro-industry play a major role in the economic landscape of this low-density territory. Endogenous resources of outstanding quality constitute one of the differentiating factors of these municipalities, with endogenous products of recognized quality, many of them with a Protected Denomination of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) guarantee, including meat, honey, olive oil, chestnut, potatoes and smoked products and sausages, among others.

 


The tourist activity is another of the strategic bets of Alto Tâmega, founded on an offer of thermal tourism and tourism in rural space (TER) that complements the natural beauty of the region, contextualized by large areas of natural interest that give it a privileged framework in terms of biodiversity and landscape richness.

In addition, cultural heritage also plays an important role in the tourist, economic and social panorama of Alto Tâmega. Of note in this case are the national monuments with great tourist interest, distributed by the six municipalities, as well as diverse cultural manifestations like the crafts and the ethnographic traditions.

 

BOTICAS

MOUNTAIN SEDUCTION

Founded on 6 November 1836, the municipality of Boticas is a land of unique historical, cultural and natural legacies, hills and mountains of indescribable natural beauty, old mills, hillforts, ruined dolmens and Roman milestones. Here there are the statues of the Galician Warrior, ex-libris of Portuguese archaeology. The Barroso “Chegas de Bois” is a community legacy that is still present. Barrosã meat from a native breed of this region and a delicacy of kings in the past is distinguished as a product of excellence, as is the Barrosohoney and the honey brandy. The gastronomy is completed with the famous Barroso-style stew, sausages, ham and the “Wine of the Dead”. The uniqueness of this part of Portugal and its inhabitants make it one of the most attractive posters in the region and led the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to distinguish it and declare it a World Agricultural Heritage Site.

CHAVES

THE ROMAN AND THE THERMAL

Heritage, traditions, gastronomy, genuine flavors, and ancestral knowledge make Chaves a healthy land, with a soul, that maintains its identity with extraordinary persistence. With its squares and spacious streets, parks and colourful gardens, imposing villas, buildings with facades which bear witness to ancient civilizations, but whose modernity enriches them. Chaves offers multiple tours that allow you to discover impressive landscapes along the river and through mountains to unveil a little more of the ancient history of the region. The thermal spas, a legacy of the Romans, still attract visitors to Chaves and Vidago. There are many excellent hotels and restaurants as an added incentive to discover this territory of well-being.

MONTALEGRE

AN IDEA OF NATURE

Montalegre is a border municipality, in the district of Vila Real, covering approximately 800 km2. Declared a World Agricultural Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, it has unmatched tourist heritage. The ethnography, history, folklore, gastronomy and landscape are undoubtedly superb factors. Another greatness is its natural formations, which provide this territory with a majestic landscape and ethnic wealth, which these people preserves. The Peneda-Gerês National Park (PNPG), the secrets of Mourela, the clean air of Larouco, the ham and smokehouses, the veal, the rye bread, the habits and customs, but above all the hospitality, honesty and human warmth that one experiences are strong reasons to visit the “Wonderful Kingdom (…) that lies on top of the trees so that the distance makes them more impossible and desirable” (Miguel Torga).

RIBEIRA DE PENA

INVITES NATURALLY

In Ribeira de Pena you can find rich and varied gastronomy, acultural heritage enriched by the passage of the writer Camilo Castelo Branco and a network of museums. The rivers Tâmega, Póio, Louredo and Beça invite you to go for a swim and practice sports activities such as canoeing, rafting or canyoning. The county is notable for its landscapes that blend majestic flora from the verdant valleys to the high altitudes, which extend from the Alvão mountain range to the Barroso region. Ribeira de Pena is well-known as a destination of nature tourism, largely due to the hotel and leisure facilities that have been built in the municipality. It is here that we find one of the biggest zip lines in the world, the Fantasticable, which is the ex-libris of Pena Aventura Park. Ribeira de Pena also offers the possibility of enjoying the environmental park and a network of walking trails that will guide you through the discovery of the territory.

VALPAÇOS

THE NATURAL ESSENCE

The municipality of Valpaços is more than its 550 Kms2 of beautiful landscapes, more than its excellent products, more than its 25 magnificent parishes full of heritage that is worth discovering…It is guarded by its kind people, full of great stories that offer us unique and wonderful gastronomy …There is a rich variety of plants and animals, which enhances the practice of leisure activities, attracting different audiences from various points of the country at different times of the year. But it is also synonymous with modernity as visitors have several facilities at their disposal, as well as high-quality tourism projects. Be sure to visit the Interactive Tourism Shop, the Casa do Vinho, the Ecovia do Rabaçal, the river beaches, among many other unique places that you can only find in Valpaços – The Natural Essence.

VILA POUCA DE AGUIAR

BE ENCHANTED

Vila Pouca de Aguiar is located in Alto Tâmega, in Trás-os-Montes. It sits at one of the highest places in the North of Portugal, marked by mountains and plateaus with valleys and rivers of excellent quality. Here, we find well-conserved ecosystems, alongside family agriculture and forest management. Rare species persist in nature, such as the Iberian wolf, the blue butterfly, “Veronica micrantha” and bats (in Tresminas). It has been known for the abundance of megalithic monuments and for gold mining as long back as in Roman times, Vila Pouca de Aguiar allows us to relate the human presence and the exploitation of natural resources throughout history. Gold, granite, or medicinal waters were (and are…) treasures that allowed the settlement of peoples and the development of local society and culture.