On the south bank of this Iberian river, the natural border between the Province of Minho and the Autonomous Community of Galicia in Spain, a variety of exclusive infrastructures for walking and cycling already follow with few interruptions.
Minho River Greenway, near Vila Nova de Cerveira.
Amidst lush tree vegetation, the various infrastructures that make up the so-called Ecovia do Rio Minho add up to almost 50 km extention.
Footpaths, bike paths, greenways and even a rails-to-trails (a former railway line) are the delight of travelers on a bicycle.
Minho River Greenway
Flanking the south bank of this river, which on the Galician side is called Miño, this cycling infrastructure allows you to pedal almost always with views of this beautiful water mirror, as well as amidst a series of green patches of native vegetation.
Valença do Minho old star-shape fortress.
From Monção to Caminha, passing through Valença do Minho, Vila Nova de Cerveira and several fishing villages, this tour, already identified and included in the National Cycle Touring Network, also allows you to go swimming in the various river beaches and hidden corners of a river full of small coves and tributaries. And even islands will be seen, including Ilha dos Amores (Love Island).
Friesta River Beach
A crowdfunding campaign is underway to finance the identification of 500 new kilometers to be included in the beginning of 2021 in the National Cycle Touring Network.
Bo part of the growth of the National Cycle Touring Network and get your reward.
More information at https://ppl.pt/en/ecovia
One of the many curiosities is the passage through the village of Seixas, which in addition to having a fishing port with small boats, requires a passage bellow a house with traditional architecture.
"With just over 16 km in length, this railway corridor was the first in Portugal to be converted into a rails-to-trails"
One of the infrastructures included in the Minho River Greenway was once a railway branch.
Inaugurated in 1913, trains passed through there until the end of the 1980s connecting the towns of Valença do Minho and Monção.
With just over 16 km in length, this railway corridor was the first in Portugal to be converted into a rails-to-trails, in the year 2004.
The continuation of this greenway up to Melgaço is already being planned, and once it's completed it will be the longest cycling infrastructure in Portugal along the banks of a river.
And the icing on the cake?
There are trains to get there, so from any part of the country that is served by rail you can travel peacefully to Caminha or Valença, taking your bicycle with you - and at no extra cost.
Valença do Minho train station
The Minho River Greenway is already included in sections 1.01 and 1.02 of Ecovia 1 from the National Cycle Touring Network, which starts in Melgaço and, going down the Minho River, then follows along the Atlantic to Vila do Bispo, in the Algarve.
In orange, location of the Minho River Greenway in the National Cycle Touring Network
You can purchase the Road Book 2020 from the National Cycling Tourism Network, with this and other routes, here »
* Text and photos by Paulo Guerra dos Santos