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Costa Verde and Minho

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“On a recent trip to Costa Verde and Minho I spent a morning wandering the ancient city of Braga, known as the city of churches, and mused over the beautiful architecture and impressive cathedral. From here I drove west through verdant countryside, visited the ancient port of Viana do Castelo and then up to the beaches at Afife and Moledo, witnessing some of the best surfing Portugal offers! A personal favourite was an afternoon spent in the lively riverside town of Ponte de Lima, with kyakking, golf, horse riding and river bathing being just some of the activities on offer here. For me, I'd love to have time for an afternoon in one of the craft workshops designing and producing a personal piece of pottery - next time I'll definitely be taking a longer trip!”
Denise Egan
Reservations Consultant

 

Stroll... along the cobbled lanes that criss cross forested hillsides through a colourful patchwork of fields. Pass the time of day with one of the local ladies working the land with traditional implements before saluting her companion as she makes her way back home with abundant produce strategically balanced on her head.

 

Pay a visit... to the tiny harbour of the whitewashed coastal village of Vila Praia de Âncora just after the fishermen have brought in theirmost recent catch. Marvel at the fine array of fresh fish that the sellers have laid out before them on the banks of the shore and treat yourself to a selection for cooking on the barbecue later in the day.

 

Soak up... the sights and sounds of the World Heritage City of Porto whilst wandering through its bustling streets and then exploring the higgledy-piggledy alleyways that tumble down from its cathedral to the quayside of the River Douro. Then watch the world go by whilst sipping an aperitif in the charming riverside area close to Cais de Ribeira.


Katelios Bay View
Kefalonia
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Sleeps 1 - 4
8 October   £ 895
Now from £ 750

Ca Na Luisa
Menorca
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Sleeps 1 - 2
8 October   Now from £ 595

Papoila
(Armação de Pera) - Algarve
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Sleeps 1 - 6
8 October   £ 950
Now from £ 875

Villa Vitor
(Carvoeiro) - Algarve
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Sleeps 1 - 6
8 October   £ 995
Now from £ 795

HOME | Costa Verde and Minho Area Information Portugal

Costa Verde and Minho (Northern Portugal) Area Information


Area Information for Portugal
When the only traffic jam is caused by a horse drawn cart laden with the grape harvest, or a black clad old lady ushering her herd of goats, a meander along the blissfully unspoilt rural byways of Costa Verde and Minho cannot fail to be relaxing.

The countryside is a rich patchwork of maize fields and vineyards, with green vines atop tall granite pergolas shading spindly cabbages below and traditional wigwam shaped corn stacks dominating the landscape. Women, heads held high with produce, make their way to and from the fields, or from the river banks where the age old ritual of clothes washing and companionship takes place in defiance of modern technology.

The River Lima meets the ocean at the ancient port of Viana do Castelo. On the right bank of the estuary lies the historic old quarter of the town, whilst on the left straggles a wild dune backed beach, the unexpected home of some smart seaside villas.

Area Information for Portugal
To the north of the town, the charming village of Areosa with its delightful network of cobbled streets and vine covered hillside is bordered by mile upon mile of rolling sand with cabbage patches and pine coppices behind. The whitewashed fishing village of Vila Praia de Âncora, with its fine fish restaurants, touches the sand but its atmosphere is essentially Portuguese and on its southern edge, the ubiquitous country beach joins that of Afife, not long ago voted 'cleanest beach in Portugal'.

Caminha, at the estuary of the River Minho, is a pretty market town, where local life revolves around the elegant central square of pavement cafés and restaurants. The nearby chic resort of Moledo do Minho is a local beauty spot much favoured by discerning Portuguese, with its country beach protected by pine forest.

Further up the estuary, the picturesque town of Vila Nova de Cerveira with its picture postcard stone flagged squares and ornate fountains, boasts an enviable waterfront location. Wide terraces of friendly cafés, well kept lawns and shaded picnic areas line the riverbanks, with the bright colours of proudly kept boats marking the moorings below. Every now and then, a ferry makes its way across the water to the nearby Spanish slopes on the other side.

Area Information for Portugal
Coastal Esposende offers the visitor patioed squares, traffic free streets, delightful fish restaurants and mile upon mile of unspoilt sandy beach as far as the eye can see. Southwards, linked by a criss-cross of cobbled lanes through well tended small holdings, are fishing villages like A Ver-o-Mar or Aguçadoura, a little ramshackle perhaps, but Portuguese to the core. Black clad old ladies worship at a shrine, fishermen mend their nets, boats strew the approaches to beaches uncluttered by tourists.

A short drive inland, the riverside centre of Ponte de Lima is especially attractive, encompassed by green hills, now with a challenging rolling wooded 18 hole golf course. In the town itself, a fascinating maze of cobbled alleyways leads the visitor from one pretty square to the next, elegant façades house shops and cafés alike, and on the banks of the river, wide sandy beaches are home to the local fortnightly market.

In the nearby little explored Peneda-Gerês National Park, you will meet few other cars, even at the height of the season. For the ultimately picturesque, meander through the garden town of Monçao, perched above the River Minho valley and arguably one of the prettiest in Portugal; or Barcelos, famed for its handicrafts and vast weekly countrymarket; or the beautifully preserved fortified border town of Valença.

Area Information for Portugal
Hospitality is second nature to this unspoiled people and genuine friendship easy to come by. They are, quite simply, people who have time for people. Occasionally, these quiet unassuming folk will break the tranquillity of the countryside with their boisterous religious festivals or 'festas', which take placemainly in July and August.

The changeover day for our properties is either Friday or Saturday, as specified in the house descriptions. However, some of our owners can be flexible for both the arrival day and the duration of your stay.

Cuisine

The abundant pergolas of the Vinho Verde grape produce young, gently fruity white wines. The rounder Alvarinhos are a worthy accompaniment to the freshly caught seafood or 'Arros de Marisco'- rice cooked with shellfish, and a variety of pork and chicken dishes, often casseroled and served with rice and vegetables. The portions are unfailingly generous and yet the restaurant bills for this fare are negligible.

Area Information for Portugal

Climate

Northern Portugal is a land of vines and citrus fruits and therefore enjoys a sunny and warm climate. Especially beautiful is the month of June, when the countryside retains the fresh greenness of spring, the meadows are splashed with the blue and yellow of cornflower and buttercup and summer temperatures are well under way - around 25°C.

Getting there

Costa Verde and Minho is easily accessible. Flights to Porto are offered by Air Portugal from Heathrow and Gatwick, by Ryanair from Stansted, Gatwick, Bristol, Liverpool and Dublin and by easyJet from Gatwick. Alternatively the Spanish cities of Santiago de Compostela, Vigo and A Coruña in Galicia are just a 1-2½ hours drive from our properties.

Flights are available to Santiago de Compostela with Ryanair from Stansted and Aer Lingus from Dublin, whilst Vueling fly from London to Vigo and A Coruña. By car, Brittany Ferries provides sailings from Plymouth and Portsmouth to Santander and from Portsmouth to Bilbao, with both Spanish ports being within a day's drive of the area.

Costa Verde and Minho News and Events For Costa Verde and Minho
Visiting the Costa Verde and Minho region of Northern Portugal is like taking a step back in time. Black-clad women herd goats along country lanes, and farmers in horse-drawn carts ride through the cobbled market square. Vintage Travel is the leading UK villa operator to Northern Portugal. All our villas have swimming pools and are within easy reach of uncrowded, dune-backed beaches. Many of our larger quintas boast thick stone walls, vaulted ceilings and traditional wooden furnishings. We also offer country cottages beautifully maintained by local owners.

We are delighted to have added Quinta Souto Chao back to the Costa Verde and Minho programme with full availability for the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The present owners have converted the lower part of the building into a fantastic games room with billards table, a sitting area and little kitchenette so this is a great new addition. In the main house the accommodation is beautiful - really charming and cosy: A fabulous place to spend your vacation! By Steve Eccles,
24/03/2014