Caminha, sitting on the border with Spain’s north-west, offers access to long sandy beachs facing the Atlantic Ocean and the waters of the Minho river.
The small town has a fairly quiet history but it sits in a strategic location, facing Spain just across the river. There were Roman settlements here, and some early foritifications due to raids by Arabs and Normans.
Not until King Afonso III, though, was a proper castle built here – finished in 1260 – as a defensive position facing Galicia. Caminha was an important port for some years, trading with northern Europe, Asia and Africa, but this importance was lost to Viana do Castelo, in its more accessible position in the south-west.
For tourists looking to see a real Portuguese town, without german sausages and “full English” on the menu in every café, Caminha is a treasure. You can hop on a ferry across the river to visit Spain, take a walk along the extensive, sandy beach, or just enjoy the architecture and pedestrianised main square.
Bear in mind that, because this is so close to Spain, mobile telephone roaming may mean you are connected to a Spanish network by default instead of a Portuguese one. Also, if your Spanish is good, you can use it here and not only be understood but you will probably hear good Spanish spoken back to you.