The settlement of Amarante is believed to have existed since the 4th century BC. Its name comes from amar, the Portuguese verb ‘to love’. Amarante is situated in the rich northern agricultural lands of the Minho region, and belongs to the Porto district, region North and sub-region Tâmega. The Tâmega River runs through the town and is crossed by a large arched bridge, the Ponte São Gonçalo. It is reputed to have assisted local forces fend off a French attack in the early 19th century. Nowadays the older centre of town is dominated by a multitude of cafés and restaurants dotted along the steep banks of the southern side of the Tâmega river.
The architecture of the Amarante region is mainly in the Romanesque style, and there are a number of Romanesque monuments (colonnades, arches, tympana and columns) distributed throughout the region. They were built in deserted areas or on crossroads on the outskirts of inhabited areas and served as meeting places, accommodation and defensive positions.
The grandest religious buildings in Amarante can be found to the north of the Tâmega, and include the Travanca monastery, the Mancelos church, the Telões church, the Freixo de Baixo monastery and the Gatão church. On the southern side of the river, which has historically had fewer economic resources and raw materials, can be found the Jazente church, the Lufrei church and the Gondar monastery which are in a more modest style.
Ecopista Cycle Path
Built on the abandoned Támega railway line between Amarante and Chapa ‘stations’, the Council of Amarante built the Ecopista pathway for bicycles and pedestrians. The Tâmega Line Ecotrack is 9.3 km (5.8 mi) long and 3.5 m (11.5 ft) wide. The route enables users to view the region’s natural landscape: characterised by preserved green zones and complemented by dense forestry cover for shade, it runs very close to the Támega river.
Amarante Golf Course
The Amarante Golf Course, designed by Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva, lies in Quinta da Deveza and was founded in 1997. It is an 18-hole, par 68 course with total length of 5,030 metres and is located in the Fregim parish around 6 km (4 mi) from the town of Amarante. It is unique for its view of the surrounding landscape north of the Douro, created by the river Tâmega, where the highlight is the view to the Marão and Aboboreira mountain ranges. The course is located at an approximate height of 600 meters and occupies about 100 acres (40 ha) and has 7 par 3 holes, 8 par 4 holes and 3 par 5 holes, with a variety of lakes and sand bunkers along the course.
Other Sports activities
Because of its link with the Tâmega River and mountains Marão and Aboboreira, Amarante offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as camping, swimming, mountaineering, golf, hunting, fishing or adventure sports like rock climbing, canoeing and mountain biking.