Valença has about 14,000 inhabitants. Its
origins go back to the Roman empire. In the 12th
century it was called Contrasta, but king Afonso III changed
its name to Valença.
fortress is a piece of gothic and baroque military
architecture. The first walls were built in the 13th
century. It is formed by two polygons separated by a ditch,
and four doors. The main entrance is Porta do Sol (Door of
the Sun). This door was damaged during the Napoleonic
In 1879, Portugal
and Spain agreed to build a bi-functional ‒ road and train ‒
bridge. It was inspired in Eiffel works, and it is still in
To find about
the history of Valença, you may visit the small
There you can find a model of the original medieval town and
archaeological finds, from Bronze Age swords to Roman vases.
On the way in you're confronted with a model of a siege
engine of the type used to chuck big rocks across the river
at Spain. Behind the museum you'll find a
first erected in 43
AD and marking mile 42 from Braga to Tuy.
town of Tuy in Spain lies just a couple of kilometres north
of Valença, across the iron bridge.
The railway Valença-Monção was built in 1906. It was closed
in 1989. As a consequence, the railway and the adjacent
stations were deserted. By 2004, the railway was converted
into a greenway.