Miranda do Douro

A small Portuguese town located near the border with Spain, Miranda do Douro is a place worth discovering thanks to its rich historical and cultural heritage.
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Miranda do Douro is a small municipality located in the easternmost part of Portugal, not far from the border with Spain. The town, with a truly ancient history, rises 675 meters above sea level on a cliff above the valley of the Douro (or Duero) River, which marks the border line between Spain and Portugal for more than 100 km. The city after being Roman territory from the 8th century came under the rule of the Arabs who gave it the name “Mir Andul,” from which the name Miranda was later derived.

Its strategic location that has always seen it as a border town with Spain meant that Miranda do Duro became a real stronghold defending Portuguese territory. For this reason, the remains of the castle, built at the behest of Portuguese King Afonso I Henriques in the 12th century, and the imposing city walls can still be seen here. Folkloric and lively, Miranda do Douro now presents itself as a small town on a human scale that attracts visitors and tourists from Spain and Portugal throughout the year because of its important historical and cultural heritage.

Things to do in Miranda do Douro

Miranda do Douro is a fortified town rich in history and culture situated in a very special location. It is not a destination found on tourist itineraries to discover Portugal, but it is the ideal place for those who want to visit a town rich in tradition and history.

One thing to know is that visiting Miranda do Douro almost means visiting a different country. In fact, two languages are spoken here: Portuguese and Mirandês, a typical language of this area. Street signs and most of the signs are, therefore, also found written in this particular Romance language.

The historic center of medieval origin is characterized by small houses and cobbled streets enclosed within the ancient city walls. The heart of the city is Largo de Dom Joao III where the town hall, the Ordaze Manor and the Terras de Miranda Museum are located. The cathedral can also be reached not far away.

Miranda do Douro Castle

The Castle of Miranda do Douro was built in approximately the 12th century and the fortified village then grew up around it. Repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, this manor was also the bishop’s residence for a long time and was an important defensive point against Spanish attacks.

In the 18th century during the Seven Years’ War the castle was under Spanish siege for a long time and much of the complex was lost. After the Peace Treaty was signed in 1763 the castle underwent major reconstruction work only to be destroyed again during the French invasions.

Currently it is only possible to admire part of the defensive walls dating from the 17th century that enclose the ancient ruins of the town, the tower, the cathedral, and even the bishop’s palace.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

St. Mary ‘s Cathedral is a church that dates back to the mid-16th century and is the town’s main church. Designed by Gonçalo Torralva and Miguel de Arruda, the building was not completed until the early 17th century. The exterior facade is classical and is enclosed by two towers while inside there are three naves with a Gothic-style vault.

Above the high altar is an altarpiece and sculptural group dedicated to Saint Mary that were created in the 17th century by Galician artist Gregório Fernández. Other Baroque-style works and fine creations decorate the interior of the church.

Terras de Miranda Ethnographic Museum

The Terras de Miranda Ethnographic Museum is a must-see during a visit to this beautiful Portuguese city. The site is located inside the former building that once housed the municipality; routes have now been built here to preserve and enhance the many testimonies related to this area.

The Ethnographic Museum allows all visitors to learn more about this border town, its past its cultural heritage and its folklore. In particular, it is possible to learn about the history, customs and traditions of Miranda do Douro: from agricultural traditions to fashion, from traditional festivals to typical foods.

Cruise along the Douro River

Being located within the Douro Natural Park, Miranda do Douro also boasts the presence of trails that allow you to go on a discovery tour of this magnificent oasis. In fact, the Park is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts a truly unique floral and faunal heritage.

To discover this area you can join one of the organized cruises along the Douro River, both group and private, which depart right from Miranda do Douro. On the boat you will find yourself surrounded by rock walls more than 400 meters high, admire majestic waterfalls and see cormorants, eagles and griffon vultures.

Where to stay in Miranda do Douro

Miranda do Douro is a small Portuguese town that boasts a fair number of different types of accommodations: from hotels to apartments, from B&Bs to campsites. Some wonderful accommodations in the heart of the historic center are located inside traditional houses that have been beautifully restored.

For a peaceful stay, it is possible to find accommodations that are located outside the city center but within the Douro Natural Park where you stay surrounded by lush green nature.

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How to reach Miranda do Douro

Given its position as a border town Miranda Do Douro is easily reached by car not only from several Portuguese towns but also from Spanish towns. In Portugal, the city can be reached thanks to the N221 and N218, while from Spain thanks to the ZA-324

The city can also be reached by public transportation thanks to buses from the Portuguese towns of Porto, Mogadouro, Ifanes, and Bragança. The nearest airport is Bragança but is mostly connected to Portuguese towns; the nearest international airport, however, isPorto Airport, which is about 255 km away.

Miranda do Douro Weather

What's the weather at Miranda do Douro? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Miranda do Douro for the next few days.

Tuesday 18
Wednesday 19
Thursday 20
Friday 21
Saturday 22
Sunday 23

Where is located Miranda do Douro

Miranda do Douro is a charming town in northeastern Portugal that lies right on the border with Spain. Miranda do Douro is 250 km from Porto, 260 km from Braga, and 320 km from Coimbra.

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