The beautiful town of Mondim de Basto lies on the border between Trás-os-Montes and Minho, on the left side of the Tâmega river. The top of Senhora da Graça is one of the symbols of the town. As you know, it is the place where the most famous stage of the Tour of Portugal by bicycle ends every year!
MONDIM DE BASTO
Mondim de Basto is on the slope of Monte Farinha. It is an area of enormous beauty! Among paradisiacal hills and valleys you will find a beauty immune to the passage of time. The Alvão Natural Park is perhaps the greatest exponent of this feeling.
WHERE IS MONDIM DE BASTO?
If you are leaving from Lisbon, get ready for a 3h49 trip (388 kilometers away). If you live in Porto, it is only 87 km, a distance that you will cover in about 70 minutes.
WHAT TO VISIT IN MONDIM DE BASTO?
Mondim de Basto is a small but charming place! Nearby, you will find numerous places of interest. The tourist attractions are connected by roads that will give you breathtaking views! Here is a map to help you plan your trips around Mondim de Basto. We hope it will be useful. Have fun!
The historic center of Mondim de Basto grew around the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament and the Lord’s Passion. Its cultural, religious and patrimonial richness make the chapel the most important monument in the town. We suggest you take a walk through the historical center and observe the granite houses, the alleys, the manor houses, the nooks and crannies and the alleyways of Mondim.
In the center of the village you will find a street called “Rua Velha” (Old Street). There lived a group of people connected to various professional areas and also to different socio-economic classes: poor, rich and well-off.
In the “Outeiro” (Escorido) area the large families and “skilled” people gathered. Many of them became prominent artists in fashion, music, and more immediate arts like shoemakers and gunsmiths. But also the production of fishnets, stores, workshops, taverns, and theaters made the historic center a popular place for the region’s residents. For centuries, the absence of piped water forced residents to meet the fountains and their tanks assiduously.
SENHORA DA GRAÇA
It is in the famous hermitage of Senhora da Graça that every year the most difficult race of the Tour of Portugal in Bicycle ends. It rises 1000 meters high. As the photo proves, it is a magical place with a breathtaking view. Place of legends and history, it is a must-see destination for believers and for those who love nature.
ALVÃO NATURAL PARK
The Alvão Natural Park covers an extensive area (7220 hectares). The Olo river and the Fisgas do Ermelo waterfall are the great attractions of a beautiful park. It is an area with granite and schist rock formations. It has agricultural extensions with rye, potato, corn and lameiro where Maronês cattle are raised. If you like plants, you will like to know that in the Alvão Park you will be able to observe rare plants such as the orvalhinha (a carnivorous plant). Regarding fauna, the presence of the Iberian wolf, reptiles and amphibians stands out.
FISGAS DE ERMELO
The fisgas de Ermelo is 14 kilometers (28 minutes by car) from Mondim de Basto. It is the biggest attraction of the Alvão Natural Park.
Here you will find a beautiful waterfall and one of the largest on the European continent (a 400-meter drop). It is a 480 million year old natural structure! The fracturing of the rocks gave rise to the “fissuring” of the Olo River. This explains the etymology (origin of the word) of the Ermelo fisgas.
Traces of marine organisms millions of years old and long since extinct have been found here. Many tourists visit this place! Besides the famous waterfall, you can also enjoy natural lakes called “piocas”. Perfect for a dip in the crystal clear, refreshing waters! Since 2016 there is a trail for those who enjoy hiking (PR3 Fisgas de Ermelo). If you do this trail, you will enjoy along the way incredible perspectives and surprise encounters with the resident fauna. You will also pass through villages lost in space and time and discover that it is still possible to live differently in our country.
VILLAGE OF VARZIGETO
It is 18.7 kilometers (28 minutes by car) from Mondim de Basto.
It is a village “lost” in the mountain. Hand in hand with the Olo river that plunges a short distance into the already mentioned Ermelo slings. Land of shepherds and flocks. An idyllic village surrounded by mountains that embrace the village! Another pearl of the Alvão Natural Park. The perfect place to stop, breathe and reflect.
Mondim de Basto is relatively close to the Alvão natural park (30 minutes by car) and it is there that the Olo river is born, precisely in the “fisgas” (mentioned earlier in this article). It originates in the parish of Olo to whom it owes its name. It goes down for 36 kilometers and gets lost in the Tâmega river. Along its way it passes through Rebordelo, Fridão, Olo and Vila Chã do Marão. Those who observe it are presented with waterfall scenarios and breathtaking views.
VILAR DE VIANDO BRIDGE
Let’s start by clarifying how you can get there. It is 1 kilometer from the center. If you arrive in Mondim from Vila Real (national road 304), after passing the Cabril river, on the right side, you will find a sign indicating the campsite and also the Medieval Bridge.
The Bridge of Vilar de Viando is a medieval structure made of granite. It is inserted in a purely rural environment. It is said that it was through this bridge that the Romans and the French crossed the Cabril river (which is born on the plateau and flows into the Tâmega). Pilgrims continue to pass through here on their way to Santiago. Since 1990 it has been classified as “property of public interest”. In 2003 it underwent repairs. Near the medieval bridge you will find some places where you can take a swim. In the summer the heat gets tougher around here!
VILLAGE OF TRAVASSOS
The village of Travassos lies near the Alvão Natural Park, 15 kilometers from the municipality. It is located at an altitude of 800 meters and is part of the National network of “Aldeias de Portugal”. Its natural and architectural features (with magnificent granite elements) are very attractive elements. But the village also has other attractions that you must visit: the granaries, the shrines, the public washhouse, the fountain and the surrounding fields. The village of Travassos was recently intervened.
THE TÂMEGA RIVER AND ITS BRIDGE
The beauty of Mondim de Basto owes much to the Tâmega River! Be sure to dine out at a riverside restaurant so you can appreciate all the beauty that surrounds it! The magnificent bridge over the river Tâmega was built in the year 1882. It is in Entre-os-Rios that the river ends its journey and flows, after a 165 kilometer journey that begins in Spain. Along its course, the river crosses the cities of Amarante and Chaves. The Tâmega’s fluvial beaches are many and beautiful, as well as the water sports that take place there, with special emphasis on canoeing and fishing.
PONTE DA VÁRZEA (also known as Ponte dos Presuntos)
It is located in the parish of Ermelo (belongs to the municipality of Mondim de Basto). Similar to the Cabril bridge, it was used in the past to make the connection between Chaves and Favaios. The Olo river is famous for being extremely clear and cold! It starts in Lamas de Olo and flows into the river Tâmega in Amarante for a total distance of 35 kilometers (it is close to the famous Fisgas de Ermelo). If you want to spend a nice summer afternoon, try the areas near the Ermelo bridge or the picnic area of the parish council.
The Cabrestos (or Poio) bridge is in the parish of Atei, about 15 kilometers (24 minutes by car) from Mondim de Basto. The Poio river flows into the Tâmega river near the bridge. To get there you have to go through the village of Bormela. You have to use the EN312 to cross Bormela. The Poio bridge is at the end of this village on the left.
The road (sometimes) is not in good condition. But your visit will be rewarded as the bridge is beautiful.
CABRÃO RIVER WATERFALLS
The name of the river alone makes the place worth visiting! It is 14,4 km away from Mondim de Basto (24 minutes by car). And because the GPS signal can be weak in this place, here are some “old-fashioned” indications. To get there, you have to pass through the village of Bilhó (another beautiful name). Next you will find a crossroads where you must go straight ahead for 1 kilometer. On the left you will find a magnificent waterfall “embraced” by the green of the mountains. Get out of the car and stay there for a while. Enjoy the sounds of nature and the isolation of the place! If you want to see “the other side” of the waterfall, you should follow the access through Pioledo. You won’t regret it, it’s guaranteed!
VIRTUAL TOUR TO MONDIM DE BASTO
GASTRONOMY IN MONDIM DE BASTO
If you visit Vouzela, you can’t miss the famous Veal of Lafões and its regional products. If you are a gastronomic tourist, then plan your visit for spring. This is the season when the “Veal of Lafões Gastronomic Festival” takes place. In this festival you can have lunch, dinner, and various snacks. To accompany the food and drinks there are also train rides and regional music (folkloric ranches).
WHERE TO EAT WELL AND CHEAPLY IN MONDIM DE BASTO?
ESCONDIDINHO REGIONAL WINERY
Cheap restaurant. Over 440 reviews on Google and an overall rating of 4.6 stars (out of 5). The space is beautiful and cozy with walls covered in granite. The food is homemade and the quality of the meat is outstanding. The price/quality ratio is highly praised in online reviews.
The only drawback might be the waiting time to get a table (the restaurant is very famous in the region and therefore very sought after). Oh, one more thing, as you can see in the picture the restaurant has Sport TV, super important criteria for those who, like me, like soccer!
HOTELS IN MONDIM DE BAIXO
ÁGUA HOTELS MONDIM DE BASTO
4-star hotel. It has over 4-star hotel. It has over 2100 reviews on Google and a 4.4 star rating (out of a maximum of 5). It has two outdoor pools from which you can enjoy the natural beauty that “hugs” the hotel. The food at the hotel is also highly praised by guests. It’s not cheap but it has above average quality.
Very central accommodation (next to the municipal urban park). It has more than 100 reviews on Google and an overall rating of 4.3 (out of 5). It has the option of single rooms. The breakfast is highly praised by customers.
MONDIM DE BASTO’S HISTORY
The traces of human presence in this region date back to the 6th century BC (Castreja civilizations). Castros were clusters of houses made (obviously) of stone and protected by defensive structures. It was in the second century BC that the Romans conquered these settlements. There are no archaeological remains that prove the passage of other peoples in this place. For many centuries, Mondim de Basto preserved its rural traditions. Agriculture is still today an important economic area. From this conservative and rural “soul” resulted numerous religious temples, examples of which are: the Romanesque main church and the chapels of the Lord. Also the ancient bridge of Vilar de Viando deserves a closer look. In this article we will tell you everything you must visit in Mondim de Basto.
WHAT TO VISIT NEAR MONDIM DE BASTO?
Mondim de Basto is in the northern interior of the country, a place surrounded by breathtaking beauty. Among the many attractions that can be visited, none gives me as much pleasure as traveling by car through those winding roads at different altitudes. What for? To enjoy the incredible scenery! So all of the following recommendations are linked by magnificent views! These are two pleasures, that of the trip and the pleasure of visiting yet another place of great beauty!
Amarante is a 29-minute drive from Mondim de Basto . It is located on the banks of the Tâmega river. A city that offers history, nature, gastronomy, art and religion. Few cities offer so much as Amarante!
The cradle of the nation is a 47-minute drive from Mondim de Basto. A city with a beautiful historic center and a castle that no Portuguese should miss! A must-see!
The distance between Mondim de Basto and Peso da Régua is the longest among all our suggestions (1h05). But the visit is well worth it! A nice lunch followed by a walk along the Douro river is something you should not miss!
It is a 49-minute drive from Mondim de Basto to Vila Pouca de Aguiar. Vila Pouca was born in a valley between the Padrela and the Alvão mountains. If you visit this town, you can count on a fabulous gastronomy and a visit to the Pedras Salgadas park. If you need to regain your energy, Vila Pouca is the place you are looking for!