Arouca: Travel and tourism

The main attraction of the town of Arouca, lying in a green valley, is the great Mosteiro de Arouca.

The history of this monastery is linked to princess Mafalda (born in 1195) who became betrothed to the teenage prince Henry of Castile: when he died in an accident, Mafalda took the veil in Arouca, became patroness of the convent (now Cistercian) and her wealth and devotion made it very influential. She died in 1256, but her corpse was discovered incorrupt in 1616, and she became known by the local population as Rainha Santa (saintly queen). Her beatification took place in 1793.

The old monastery, more than one thousand years old, seems to remain indifferent to time and still dominates this quiet town. Guided tours take visitors to the church and museum, with wonderful silver monstrances, furniture and religious works of art, and specially the silver and ebony casket with the effigy of the princess and its own altar.

In the neighbourhood, the village of Santa Eulália has fine houses standing amid green corn fields and vineyards, while at Urrô you can visit the Gothic church of Saint Michael. At Albergaria das Cabras, the waters of the river Caima form a dazzling cascade dropping over granite rocks.

But it is the wonderful fertility of the valley of Arouca, with its orchards and vineyards and vegetable plots, which never ceases to surprise the visitor. As for the gastronomy, there are the savoury morcelas (a well-seasoned blood sausage) and the sweet almond roscas, besides the local vinho verde, which can be white or red and has a slight sparkle.
Hotel Rural Quinta de Novais Hotel Rural Quinta de Novais
Parada - Santa Eulália, Arouca
$$$ (50 to 100 euros)

From an old farm house dating from the end of the 18th century, and in four more adjacent houses, was born Hotel Rural Quinta de Novais.

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