The second tourist point that we present to you is a county of Portugal, in border area with Spain with exclusive characteristics and with much to know: Miranda do Douro.
Miranda do Douro is located about 5 hours drive from Parque das Nações, in Lisbon, where Benerent is located, your rent-a-car service. You can check the trip to Miranda do Douro as well as its location.
When talking about the county of Miranda do Douro, all search engines direct us to the traditional dialect of the region, the mirandese, and to the dance of Pauliteiros.
Mirandese isn’t only a regional dialect, it’s considered the second official language of Portugal since 1999. The Mirandese language is even an option course in the county of Miranda do Douro, as well as French, Spanish or English as other options. There is no accurately data to quantify the current number of speakers, so the numbers indicated range from 8,000 to 20,000 speakers distributed mainly over an area of 550 km² known as Terra de Miranda. Since 2006 the county of Miranda do Douro has created signs with portuguese and mirandese language.
The Pauliteiros of Miranda are a group of men that dance the traditional rhytms of Trás-os-Montes region. It’s a warrior dance characteristic of Terras de Miranda, called dance of sticks, representative of local historical moments, accompanied with the sounds of the bagpipes, box and hype and has the peculiarity of being danced by eight men. Recently, there are already groups of women doing this dance.
Besides these two traditional brands of the region, there is much more to be discovered in Miranda do Douro.
Let’s start with one of the ex-libris of the county, the Castle of Miranda do Douro. Built during the reign of the king D. Dinis, the date of construction of this historic building is unknown. Over time, the castle went through several wars on portuguese soil, so the ruins took over this monument. Still, it’s one of the most popular spots for visitors to Miranda do Douro and its ruins are classified as Public Interest since 1955.
The Concatedral de Miranda do Douro is another historical landmark of the city that you can not miss. The construction of this cathedral began in 1552, following the Mannerist style, with three naves, with the main façade flanked by imposing towers. Completed at the beginning of the 17th century, it maintained the episcopal status until 1780, after which it was considered a cathedral.
Another place not to miss on this visit to Miranda do Douro is the Miradouro de São João das Arribas. The Miradouro de S. João das Arribas is located in the Douro Internacional’s Natural Park, in the “arribas” of the Douro Internacional, next to the old castle of Aldeia Nova. At 646 meters high, it’s a place that needs no further description than this image.
When you go on vacation to some place, always enjoy being able to practice some of the most accomplished activities in that area. The county of Miranda do Douro isn’t different and certainly wants to know what are the activities most carried out there.
One of the activities that is most practiced in the county of Miranda do Douro is the pedestrian route. There are several routes to take, of which we highlight the course of São João das Arribas, where you can reach the Miradouro with the same name, which we have already mentioned. If you want to take a tour to observe the urban heritage, we recommend the tour of the city of Miranda do Douro, a circular urban route of 4kms, with a good natural environment, because its surroundings are located in the urban park of the river Fresno.
If you want to do an adventure activity and discover the mirandese corners, we advise you to practice the night canoeing along the river Douro. To be held at the end of July, on Full Moon, the tour lasts between 3 to 4 hours and contemplates a landscape with a unique biodiversity, namely species of nocturnal birds and mammals, among others, possible to listen at night .
If you want to stroll with your soul mate, there’s nothing like doing the Environmental Cruise along the river Douro. The route is made between the cliffs of the Douro, in an imposing and very beautiful landscape, in the natural reserve of the Douro Internacional. Ideal for those who want to relax a bit and enjoy what is beautiful in that area.
As for festive events, there are two festivals that deserve to be highlighted in Miranda do Douro: the Song Festival and the City Festivals in honor of Santa Barbara.
The Mirandese Song Festival is a festival held every year at the beginning of July. Already with 32 editions of the festival, the event seeks to stimulate musical production and encourage the emergence of new composers, authors and interpreters, with special attention to the creations in mirandese language. It’s a festive event that always arouses interest if you are in mirandese lands.
The Festivals of the City of Miranda do Douro, held in honor of Santa Bárbara, always take the best artists of the national panorama to the mirandese region. The event is held in August, mostly in the second week of the month, and provides the best cultural moments to all Miranda do Douro residents and visitors. This is the poster for this year’s parties.
The county of Miranda do Douro, as well as the whole region of Trás-os-Montes, has its own gastronomy and is appreciated throughout the country.
It’s enough to speak of sausages, a key piece in mirandese gastronomy, in order to remember one of Miranda do Douro’s and Trás-os-Montes’ ex libris: mirandese alheira. The sausages are part of an ancestral knowledge of the mirandese housewives, preparing the regional sausages that throughout the year make the delights of all who pass by.
It’s time to talk about Miranda do Douro’s gastronomic ex-libris: Bola Doce. This sweet’s dish has reached huge successes, being known at national level. This typical sweet, exclusive of Miranda do Douro, is made with wheat flour, baker’s yeast, butter, white and yellow sugar, eggs, olive oil, water and cinnamon. As tradition says, this quality delicacy is appreciated at Easter time.
To speak of the gastronomy of Miranda do Douro and not to speak of Posta Mirandesa is like talking about Rome and not speaking about the Pope. The mirandese beef steak is a recipe of excellence in traditional Trás-os-Montes cuisine. The recipe had its origin in the cattle fairs, being initially seasoned with coarse salt thrown on the loaves of meat, arranged on a very hot grill. Draw your own conclusions with this image of the gastronomic dish.
If we have to advise you to choose a place in the county of Miranda do Douro to spend a few days we would opt for the village of Picote.
The village has a very old origin, and can be proven by the numerous prehistoric rock vestiges, standing out the rock inscription of a hunter with a bow, discovered in Fraga do Puio.
In addition to Miradouro do Picote, which we have already mentioned in the article, there is local accommodation where you can stay and a supermarket to do your shopping, all in a more modest place and less than 20kms from Miranda do Douro. So, you could be in a more remote place, and even then, to know the city of Miranda do Douro.
In the village of Picote you can find various religious monuments, such as chapels and churches. We also advise you to visit the ruins of the old water mills and oil mills. Do not forget to visit the Picote Dam, the oldest of the Douro international section. In the sky you can also find something you do not observe every day: the royal eagle, an Egyptian vulture or a griffin.
- Mirandese language, fluent in Miranda do Douro, is the second official language of Portugal;
- They have in the Pauliteiros, the dance of the sticks, their traditional dance;
- It’s located on the border between the Portuguese region of Trás-os-Montes and the Spanish province of Castile and León;
- It’s located in the cliffs of the Douro and is also bathed by the Fresno River.