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North Tourism Guide - Caminha

Caminha is the first (or last) town on the River Minho as you head inland from the Costa Verde. These days it is a small, quiet market town but was once an important strategic point in Portugal's defences against the various invaders over the centuries.

From Caminha you are well placed to explore the rural North Minho area and the pretty towns of Ponte da Barca and Ponte de Lima. There are several beaches in and around the town including Moledo, Ancora, Afife and of course Viana do Castelo are within easy reach. Ancora and Vila Praia da Ancora, south of Caminha, have some important historic origins. Beaches here are great for surfing, bathing and getting away from the crows and enjoying the protected sand dunes of the Parque Natural do Litoral Norte.

Caminha, Minho Portugal

Caminha is a pretty and quiet river port that sits at the mouth of the River Minho and its estuary. This is one of the most northerly towns in Portugal and although not a coastal resort it is almost entirely surrounded by water. It is very much influenced by its border position with Spain where several battles have been fought at different times with invaders including the Celts, Romans and Spanish.

The main square contains several delightful 15th and 16th century buildings such as the Renaissance castellated clock tower set within the medieval city walls. The Igreja Matriz is the most distinguished building built at the end of the 15th century when the town rivalled Porto in terms of trade. The inlaid ceiling, intricate azulejos and granite pulpit are of particularly interest. There are also two figures carved on the Renaissance doorways that make their opinion of Spain clear! There is a small museum nearby with local archaeological finds and the tourist office which opens daily 9.30 am-2.30 pm and 2-6 pm. Rua Ricardo Joaquim Sousa - 4910-155 Caminha. Tel: 351 258 921 952. Fax: 351 258 921 932. Email:

Standing on a tiny island in the middle of the estuary are the ruins of the fort of Insua, built to defend the entrance to the river in the fifteenth century. A daily ferry-boat links the two banks of the river (Portugal and Spain). Ferries run every 45 minutes until around 7 pm depending on season.

Several superb long sandy beaches are within easy reach of Caminha at Moledo, Vila Praia da Ancora, Carreo and Viana do Castelo. Vila Praia da Ancora and Moledo are Blue Flag beaches with disabled access.

Minho Thermal Spas

A few minutes from the city centre is one of the hottest springs in Europe. Water here bubbles up at a temperature of 73 degrees centigrade (163 degrees Fahrenheit).

The spa attracts visitors seeking the treatments for rheumatism, kidney dysfunction and hypertension.

Photos of Caminha

Beaches are less busy along the Green Coast - you can find a spot all of your own
Beaches are less busy along the Green Coast - you can find a spot all of your own