Explore the charming fortress town of Valenca
on the border and only a short drive from the house. Drive through the ancient archway that leads through the impressive town walls to discover cobbled streets and a delightful range of local shops selling the beautifully embroidered linen and towels for which the town is famous.
From Valenca, cross the border and visit Spain for a day
The beautiful corner of Spain that is Galicia is just a short drive from the house and boasts some superb sandy beaches and smart historic towns. Visit chic Baiona, a mooring place for the smart boats of the wealthy 'gallegos' and home to a fine selection of typical restaurants.
Alternatively, catch a ferry to cross the border into Spain
Crossings are every hour from Caminha and this short journey across the water to La Guardia is a fun way to reach the neighbouring country.
Enjoy the 18th June Corpus Christi festival at Monçăo.
The procession, which dates from the 16th century, features a blessed ox, its horns decorated as a symbol of plenty, a cart of herbs followed by St George on horseback wearing a long red cape and, bringing up the rear, a lumbering dragon.
Nothing but nature in the National Park of Peneda-Geres.
Drive for miles through the largely undiscovered mountain scenery of this stunning area of natural beauty. Whilst you are unlikely to meet another car, watch out for the mountain goats, who have right of way!
Follow the Vinho Verde Wine Trail along the banks of the Minho Valley
This passes between undulating hills covered with the vines that produce the lightly sparkling and very tasty wine of the region.
Set aside a day to visit the World Heritage City of Oporto
Visit the Planetarium to plot some of those stars you have been watching. Walk down the steep higgledy-piggledy, tiny streets that tumble down to the river Douro. Cross the iron bridge built by Monsieur Eiffel. Visit the port caves to try that famous drink. Then rest your feet and take the Open Top Tour bus for a fabulous view of all the best landmarks.
Sample the local port wine
in the port wine lodges in Vila Nova de Gaia, just the other side of the Douro river from Porto. There are numerous lodges here, including Taylors, Sandeman's and Grahams and most of them offer tastings and tours.
Cycle along the Ecotrail from Valença to Monçao
This recently constructed path is perfect for cycling, walking or jogging. The path, which follows a disused railway line, passes through vineyards, fields and streams and has views over the River Minho and of Tui and Valença. There are benches and information boards along the way, so you'll be sure not to miss anything. Take a picnic and enjoy the fantastic panorama at your ease.
at the beach of Afife and spend a day in the water on this fantastic stretch of unspoilt coastline, a much sought after spot for keen surfers.
Visit the sumptuous Brejoeira Palace - possibly the best palace in Portugal!
Just south of Monçao, this neoclassical palace was built at the start of the 19th century and has always been the residence of Portuguese noble families. The lavish rooms are lined with important artworks and there are impressive gardens, a chapel and a theatre. Nowadays, the vineyards produce and excellent Alvarinho but if you prefer not to tipple, you can stop in the lovely cafe for tea and local pastries. Not to be missed.
Visit the tiny harbour at Vila Praia de Ancora.
For a gastronomic feast, be sure to buy some of the fresh fish you will see being landed there to cook on your barbecue at home.
Spend a day lazing on the sands
on the beach of the chic coastal village of Moledo. When you feel the need for some refreshment, a number of smart bars lie just behind the beach and form the ideal setting for having a drink whilst looking out to sea and watching the world go by.
Visit Ponte de Lima, one of Portugal's oldest towns
Spreading lazily along the tree-line banks of the river Lima, this is a beautiful town, with fine buildings and pretty cobbled squares. Visit on a Monday morning and you may be fortunate enough to witness the local market, which is held on the sandy river beach every other week.
at the challenging 18 hole course in Ponte de Lima.
Soak up fantasic views over the historic port of Viana do Castelo
by taking the funicular to the church of Santa Luzia. If you do not suffer from vertigo, climb the dome and look out from the very very top.
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