Trough the Alto Minho Region
The first stage begins in the city of Valença, beside the International Bridge over the River Minho and at the start of Avenida de Espanha. It ends in the village of Rubiães (Municipality of Paredes de Coura), next to the romanesque Church of St. Peter. It covers 18 km and can be walked in 5 hours. With altitudes ranging from 10 m to 275 m it makes for an easy, enjoyable day’s walking. The landscape consists predominantly of forests and valleys with abundant vegetation and is dotted with villages and hamlets. This is the lush and fertile terrain of the Alto Minho region, which extends southwards from the River Minho and is irrigated by its tributaries.
Over the course of this stage, which passes through the Municipalities of Valença and Paredes de Coura, the multisecular cultural heritage is a constant presence, above all in the form of chapels, churches and monasteries. These granite buildings, which are found in towns and villages, as well as scattered across the landscape, are an architectural testimony to centuries of history, and play a key role in the life of the communities they belong to, in which the sacred and profane are intimately linked.