Vinhais is a town in the norte-east part of Portugal with around 2000 inhabitants. The closest city is Bragança, which is located around 40 km driving through the beautiful EN103.
The section of road that connects Vinhais to Bragança is quite steep, crossing 2 rivers (Tuela and Baceiro). Due to the topography of the region, the road presents great twists and turns perfect to drive in a motorcycle. The views from the side of the road display the natural beauty of the Montesinho natural park and vast amount of oaks.
When getting to Vinhais, you'll notice that it is placed on the side of a small mountain. As the road crosses the town, you'll realize that this is the "flat" street- all other to the left are downhill and uphill if you go right. There are remains of a medieval castle and surrounding walls which are very noticeable at night.
While at the town of Vinhais, it is recommended to check out the Tourist center (close to the town hall), which does a wonderful job when describing the many wonders that the area has to offer.
One of the highlights of the area is the Vinhais Biological Park. Located close to the town, on the top of a hill, it offers a very good view of the town and it's surroundings. This park showcases the highlights of the region: nature and rich diversity in the flora and fauna. You'll find most of the species in display in a protected and well kept environment. You will also be presented with many activities offered by the integrated adventure park.
If you've made it to the Biological Park, we recommend you make a small detour and check out the panoramic swing themed around a famous local product: smoked meat sausages.
If you have a chance to visit the town in February, you shouldn't miss the fair "Feira do Fumeiro". This fair is why this town is nicknamed the smoked sausage capital of Portugal (as can be read on the sign above the swing).
We took these pictures during December, where it gets really cold (it was around 3°C when we took the pictures) and it can get really foggy. This fog, combined with the silence and solitude of the forest really makes for a great place to contemplate the vicissitudes of nature.
We promised ourselves to revisit this place and take some better pictures. We are currently working on some routes for this area of Portugal, which are a must-see for every motorcycle that visits Portugal!
Vinhais is quiet, peaceful and beautiful.
Silence is usually broken by the usual suspects: tractors and other farming equipment.
Einstein took a long time to discover that time is relative, but this is a known fact in Vinhais for a long time: It is common to see cars "parked" in the middle of the road. For those that parked "it only takes a second", but it will definitely feel a lot more if you're counting. This might surprise you at first, but this scenario helps to understand the overall mood of the town: everyone knows each other and which car they own.
Culture is linked with historical traditions. Some of these traditions are carried from a distant past where the devil was a common theme in religion. The town celebrates the devil and the fugacity of life every year, making it a "Uma terra dos diabos"- A land of devils:
But fear not dear reader, people here are as friendly as they come! We guarantee that you'll be met with smiles and friendly questions about you and your journey. You'll notice these people can't hide hospitality towards those that made the effort to actively discover their place.
We should also mention the friendliest motorcycle club in Portugal: "Javalis do Asfalto"- Asphalt hogs. This motorcycle club has a very active presence in the town by organizing several events per year. If you look closely, you'll notice that many vehicles and motorcycles proudly display the club's sticker. Check them out in Javalis do Asfalto's facebook page. We recently became proud members of this club:
Due to it's placement in such a iconic road (N103), Vinhais enjoys some well-deserved attention by motorcyclists. Great roads, breath-taking landscapes, nice people and old (but alive) traditions make the town of Vinhais a must see in northern Portugal.
We hope you'll visit it as part of our tours onboard the best motorcycles available for rent in Portugal: the pink Honda Monkeys by PinkMyBike.