Mirandela Guide: 4 Best Things to Do

Mirandela, located in the heart of the Trás-os-Montes region in Northern Portugal, is a small town that attracts relatively few tourists per year. But this small town, nestled along the banks of the Tua River, beautifully reflects the region’s rich cultural tapestry. With a history dating back to pre-Roman times, Mirandela has an array of archaeological treasures, traditional architecture, and quaint, cobblestone streets that captivate visitors.

There aren’t a huge number of attractions in Mirandela, and the town is perhaps best known for its gastronomic delights, particularly the locally produced smoked sausages, a culinary legacy that goes back centuries. Every year, the town attracts food lovers from across Portugal and beyond for its annual sausage festival, one of the highlights of the regional calendar.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also find plenty to do in Mirandela. Its location within the Tua River Valley provides numerous opportunities for hiking, biking, and canoeing, with the river and surrounding hills providing a picturesque backdrop.

Useful Resources for Your Trip to Mirandela

Here’s our top tips and tricks for getting the best deals for your trip to Mirandela. 

  • Accommodation: Booking.com and Airbnb are the two most comprehensive websites for finding hotels, hostels, apartments, and other types of accommodation in Mirandela. 
  • Car Rental: Discover Cars and Rental Cars are the two most useful sites for booking local car rental. 
  • Airport transfers: There are taxis and Ubers at Faro Airport, but you can also pre-book an airport transfer with Welcome Pickups
  • Tours & Things to Do: Both Get Your Guide and Viator list lots of local tours and activities in Mirandela and the surrounding Northern Portugal region. 
  • Luggage Storage: Luggage Hero and Bounce are two great sites for finding places to store your luggage in Portugal. 
  • Public Transport: Cp.pt is the main website for trains in Portugal. For longer distance buses, see Rede Expressos. Flixbus.pt often has cheap tickets between cities in Portugal. 
  • Flights: Skyscanner and Google Flights are the two most useful websites for finding flights to Portugal. The nearest airport to Mirandela is Porto Airport. 

What to See & Do

There are only a handful of attractions in Mirandela, with the medieval bridge being the main one. 

Medieval Bridge

mirandela medieval bridge

The Ponte Velha, or Old Bridge, is an iconic structure in Mirandela that serves as a testament to the town’s historical depth and resilience. Spanning the Tua River, this medieval stone bridge with its robust arches and cobbled walkway is an embodiment of age-old engineering marvels. Its construction dates back to the 16th century, although it underwent significant renovations after a severe flood in the 18th century, and again in the 20th century, to preserve its historical significance and ensure its continued use.

Walking across the Ponte Velha is like taking a stroll back in time, and it provides stunning views of the river, the surrounding countryside, and the picturesque town of Mirandela. The bridge is particularly enchanting at sunset when the warm light illuminates the stone arches and reflects off the water below.

Museu da Oliveira e do Azeite

The Museu da Oliveira e do Azeite, or the Olive and Olive Oil Museum, in Mirandela is a fascinating destination for both culinary enthusiasts and culture seekers alike. It is dedicated to the historical and cultural importance of olive oil production, a practice rooted deeply in the traditions of Northern Portugal and especially in the Trás-os-Montes region where Mirandela is located.

The museum showcases an intriguing collection of tools and machinery used in olive oil production, dating from antiquity to modern times, effectively tracing the technological evolution of this practice. Interactive displays and exhibits highlight the meticulous processes involved in olive oil production, from harvesting to pressing, and provide insight into its cultural significance in Portugal. Visitors have the opportunity to taste different varieties of locally produced olive oil, culminating the learning experience with a sensory delight.

Paço dos Távoras

Paço dos Távoras

Situated in the old quarter of Mirandela, in the place once known as São Miguel, now Praça do Município, Paço dos Távoras claims a majestic perch atop the city’s highest hill. Its location affords unparalleled views of the Tua River and the Ponte Velha, the Old Bridge, creating a picturesque setting steeped in history.

The Távoras family held significant influence in the Trás-os-Montes region, especially in Mirandela, as demonstrated by the privileges bestowed upon them by the monarchy. Unlike many noble families who split their time between multiple residences, the Távoras made Paço dos Távoras their primary home, signifying the importance of the place. The house was a physical testament to the prestige and power the family enjoyed.

A remarkable renovation of the façade, executed in the early 18th century, elevated the building to a grand spectacle. The transformation prominently displayed the Távoras family’s coat of arms, further reinforcing the nobility’s stature. Although the grand façade dates back to the 18th century, the origins of the house trace back much further, adding layers of history and significance to this unique site.

Currently, the building is used by Câmara Municipal de Mirandela. 

Take a dip in the Praia Fluvial

mirandela praia fluvial

The Praia Fluvial in Mirandela is a popular destination that offers a relaxing escape from the city’s bustling atmosphere. Situated on the banks of the Tua River, this artificial river beach features clear waters and is an ideal spot for swimming, sunbathing, or picnicking on the grassy areas surrounding the water. Children’s playgrounds, outdoor exercise equipment, and a riverfront café make the area very family-friendly. The Praia Fluvial also features a pedestrian bridge that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape and the city, making it a must-visit location in Mirandela for locals and tourists alike.

Getting Here

There are two main ways to get to Mirandela: driving or by bus. For bus tickets and timetables, visit Rede-Expressos and Flixbus.pt. There is no train station in Mirandela. 

If driving, the journey takes around 4 hours and 15 minutes from Lisbon and around 1 hour and 40 minutes from Porto. 

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