Minho River transforms from border to destination with free boat tours

Minho River transforms from border to destination with free boat tours

There are two Eurocities located on its banks and the links are on the way to strengthening

The Minho River serves as a border separating the north of Portugal from the region of Galicia (Spain). Today the crossing is easy but what about the body of water as a space in its own right? Is it something that still separates or can it unite?

Residents and visitors of four municipalities located on its shores (Moncao and Valença in Portugal and Tui and Salvaterra in Spain) now have the opportunity to answer them on their own with the launch of boat tours from February 25. These will be completely free and tourists will only need to pre-register to reserve a place in one of the 15 available seats on the ship.

Reflecting a desire for cross-border co-development

The initiative was born from the Interreg project “Rio Minho: a navigable destination” which resulted in the implementation of a set of measures and activities focused on the attractiveness and sustainability of the river.

It also stems from the vision of the former mayor of Salvaterra, Arturo Grandal that the river be navigable and a source of wealth, prosperity, culture and recreation. He was the head of the Galician municipality for 40 years, starting in 1979, before the two countries were members of the EU and the border was therefore still a very present entity.

Towns looking across the river don’t really know each other, and ties are weak except for smuggling operations.

In addition to the boat trips, the Minho River Route will include short routes and a longer trip, which will take up a whole day, with visits to the two Eurocities involved in the project: Monção/Salvaterra and Valença/Tui. These itineraries count with the support of a tourist guide, who will guide passengers in visits to historic centers and fortresses.

According to the municipality of Monção, “in addition to offering relaxing and inspiring river walks, the short routes and the wide route will show the diverse natural, cultural and ethnographic heritage of the four border municipalities, with land transport being carried out by minibus and train”.

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