SPAIN/PORTUGAL BORDER—A metal bridge above the Minho River in the Galician region separates the countries of Spain and Portugal.

And going to Portugal from Spain and vice versa entails just a stroll. From Spain, you will reach Portugal via Tui, a tiny town that boasts of a magnificent cathedral stretching back to the 12th century.

This was the route that me and my family took after we boarded a city bus from Vigo for the approximately one-hour ride.

But before proceeding to the border, we had to pay homage to the Romanesque-Gothic church in Tui.

And after sampling the local cuisine and downing a couple of bottles of the local brew Estrella Galicia, it was time to walk towards Portugal.

The bridge soared above the river and had fantastic views of the two countries.

But what made the trek extra-special was crossing the border.

There were no sentries and you could freely hop into another country with ease in just a split-second.

Right in the middle of the bridge was a sign that officially marks the separation of Spain and Portugal.

If you happen to take this same path, it is mandatory to take photos of the sign and likewise do a selfie as well with the waters of the Minho and the hills of Tui serving as backdrop.

As soon as you enter Portugal, the best option is to explore the town of Valença, which can easily accessed on foot.

Like its neighbor across the river, Valença is also home to an old church called Igreja de Santa Maria dos Anjos (Church of Saint Mary and the Angels), whose location is within the walled fortress that once repulsed invaders from Spain and France.

Nowadays, Valença, gets its regular invaders from Galicia and the rest of Spain armed with euros and other currencies and not with swords and spears.

Valença is an ideal jumpoff point for the rest of Portugal and is a mere 80-minute trip to the country’s second city of Porto and a five-hour journey to the capital of Lisbon, 425 kilometers to the south.

But that’s another story. If you don’t have the time to go down further, Valença is good enough to give a curious traveler a taste of Portuguese life and culture.

And if you’re a shopaholic, there are independent stores along the cobbled streets selling unique items as well as mainstream gift ideas.

A day should be enough to explore the area, allowing you to head back to Tui for another round of Spain’s exemplary cerveza. Salud!