The paradise so close
The Village of Paradinha
Located by the mountain, in the parish of Alvarenga, in Arouca, the small village of Paradinha brings us memories of other times. The schist and slate of the houses catch our attention, but there is much more to discover.
Here, there are traces of past traditions, with the mills, the millstones, the ox carts and various farming utensils taking us back in time.
Places to discover in AROUCA
Arouca Geopark is a project of protection and promotion of the geological heritage of AROUCA, of international importance. It counts with 41 inventoried geosites and a territorial development strategy that offers much to explore, such as the Geosites Route or the Network of Walking Trails Network of Arouca.
There are also a number of private operators who run tours of these sites these places and allow you to explore everything from charming little villages and nature treasures such as waterfalls, and get a close-up look at herds of goats, sheep and the typical Arouca breed of cattle. For the more adventurers there are canoeing or kayaking down the Paiva river.
About 1 km from Paradinha Village, the Passadices of the Paiva is one of the biggest major tourist attractions not only of Arouca, but also of the whole country.
In 2016 it was elected as the most innovative tourist project in Europe and correspond to a pedestrian route of 8 km on the slope of the left bank left bank of the Paiva river, between the river beaches of Areinho and Espiunca.
During the route, which follows the rocky slopes and steep slopes of the valley, it is possible to witness some of the treasures of this unique natural landscape of great biological and archaeological wealth, such as the Paiva Gorge, the Aguieiras waterfall, the Gola do Salto and the Espiunca canyon (these are, in fact, some of the main geosites of Arouca).
The most recent attraction of the Passadiços do Paiva, the 516 Arouca Bridge is 516 metres long and 175 metres high. It is the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world, whose crossing is made on a metal deck with side guardrail.
These 8 km of the route take about 2h30 to 3h on a leisurely pace, and the difficulty is high. The trail can be done in various ways, the most recommended is to enter through Areinho and follow the trail until Espiunca. Right at the beginning, there is a steep 1km climb, which is followed by a descent of 1km and the remaining 6 km are downhill or linear.
The Monastery of Arouca was a convent that housed nuns for centuries.
Take advantage of the guided tour, which covers the history of the construction of the monastery, its connection to Queen Saint Mafalda and the of the enclosed nuns. You will also have the opportunity to see the monumental church, the kitchen, the armchair hall, the cloisters, cells and other spaces.
Take the opportunity to visit the Museum of Sacred Art, which has various objects, among others, part of an estate of inestimable wealth.
Serra da Freita stretches across the municipalities of Arouca, São Pedro do Sul and Vale de Cambra. It is one of the region’s obligatory points of passage and where you can find 17 of the 41 geosites of Arouca Geopark.
The pure mountain air captivates everyone who passes by and gets lost in paths that lead to places full of history, such as the Mamoa of Portela da Anta.
In the distance, you can see the small villages embedded in the landscape and, and, up close, witness unique phenomena in the world, such as the Pedras Parideiras. The beauty of the “Frecha da Mizarela” waterfall is breathtaking, and those looking for more activity can enjoy the adventure sports and adventure sports and the various footpaths along the mountain range.
The Gastronomic Experience in Arouca
Arouca has much to offer to lovers of good Portuguese gastronomy.
Here, meat is king: the arouquesa breed of veal and Alvarenga steaks are the stars of the local cuisine. The region’s green wines accompany the meal, which ends on a high note with regional and conventual sweets.
What do you know about the animals of the “arouquesa” breed?
They have a docile but energetic temperament, are reared in freedom and fed on natural vegetation, which makes the meat very tender with a unique flavour
Convent sweets lovers will love to taste the delicacies the region has to offer.
The nuns who lived in the Monastery of Santa Maria de Arouca left us a very rich heritage: sweet chestnuts, “manjar de língua”, roscas and almond cigars, sweet puddings, “bola de S. Bernardo”. In addition to these delicacies, there are other traditional sweets such as “cavacas, pão-de-ló, melindres” and “pedras parideiras”.
What Happens in Arouca?
FestasFestivities and Annual Events
- Harvest Fair – Municipal Official Festivities || Date: last week of September week of September
- International Folklore Festival – organized by the Ethnographic Group of “Etnográfico de Moldes” || Date: in August
- Arouca Film Festival – organized by Cine Clube
- Chestnut Festival – organized by the City Hall || Date: ends of October
- Festa da Rainha Santa Mafalda – Municipal Holiday || Date: 2nd of May