Ride a horse
at the Centro Equestre Vale do Lima, where you have a riding school and can have a pleasant lunch or dinner in the restaurant - only a 15 minute drive from Quinta de São Sebastião.
Follow the Vinho Verde wine trail
along the banks of the Minho Valley which passes between undulating hills covered with the vines which produce the lightly sparkling and very tasty wine of the region.
Local 'festas' ...
There are two very enjoyable ones in Ponte de Lima, one held in June, known as the "Vaca das Cordas" (when ropes are tied around the horns of a bull, which is then led onto the sand to 'fight' with the local population) and one in September, when the town once again bursts into life with the jolly event known as the Feiras Novas (New Fairs). This is the town festival, which includes a huge market, fireworks, a funfair, carnival costumes and a brass band competition.
Ponte de Lima's market
The fortnightly market is held on alternate Mondays down on the sandy banks of the river where it has been held since the year 1125 and is a huge and lively affair!
Explore the charming fortress town of Valença
A little further north of Caminha, this delightful border town is steeped in history. Drive through the ancient archway that leads the way through the impressive walls that encircle the old quarter to discover cobbled streets and a delightful range of shops selling the beautifully embroidered towels and linen for which the town is famous.
...you’ll find a stunning 18-hole golf course in the hills overlooking Ponte de Lima.
One for the gardeners to see...
From May to October, Ponte de Lima hosts the International Garden Festival on the north bank of the river. Every year there is a different theme and entrants are from all over the world. A really pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Canoeing on the Minho
Hire a canoe and explore some of the nicest views along the river banks. Watch out for the area's wildlife, such as the herons who are frequent visitors along the Minho.
Head to the coast for the day
and discover the beautifully unspoilt beaches that stretch north and south of Viana do Castelo, just over a 30 minute drive from the house.
Visit the natural and wonderful landscapes of the Peneda-Geres National Park
Explore the small villages of Pitões das Júnias and Tourém, which have held onto their traditional customs, or follow the shepherds trails from Mata da Albergaria through to Portela do Homem which will lead you to some beautiful waterfalls.
Hire a bike
and cycle along the path which runs from Ponte de Lima alongside the Minho to the Bertiandos and S. Pedro de Arcos lagoons. This is a protected wetlands nature reserve with several trails to follow, either by bike or on foot.
For fantastic views over the historic port of Viana do Castelo
take 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. Then head into the town and wander around the fascinating embroidery shops for which the town is famous.
In July visit the Ponte de Lima Summer Festival of Opera and Classical Music,
fast becoming one of Europe's top cultural events. Performances take place in several venues including historic manor houses, local churches and the Teatro Diogo Bernardes, a 19th century theatre in Ponte de Lima.
The people of the Alto Minho still continue with many ancients handicrafts passed down through generations. Viana do Castelo is renowned for its colourfully embroidered festival dresses and other hand embroidered items, and Barcelos for its pottery. But almost everywhere you can visit small artesanal workshops where weaving, basketwork, lacework, wood carving and toys are still made using traditional methods.
Sample the local Vinho Verde wine
particularly the Alvarinho, a style of wine unique to this area. Then stock up with supplies at the wine co-operative in Ponte de Lima. The Adega Cooperativa is in Rua Conde Bertiandos (near the hospital).
Browse the stalls on market day in Barcelos
This is the largest market in Portugal, and is held every Thursday. The town is the birthplace of the 'Galo de Barcelos', the small cockerel, which is widely represented in traditional ceramic throughout the country and will no doubt be found on one of the stalls.
Take a leisurely river trip along the Lima River
from the Pier near Largo 5 de outubro in Viana do Castelo. There are shorter trips of around 45 minutes or you can take a longer trip which includes lunch.
Fish your own dinner
Just to the north of Ponte de Lima in Arcozelo there is a fish farm where visitors are lent rods and tackle and can catch their own supper. The trout is either grilled on the spot or you can take it home to cook yourself. In delightful pretty spot, the farm is open all day every day and has a cafe which also serves local specialities.
Visit the chapel to the Patron Saint of Ears....
a pleasant walk of around 10 kms take you a hill up above Ponte de Lima to the Chapel of Santo Ovidio. Inside the chapel, the hard of hearing leave waxed models of their ears for the saint. Part of the walk follows the pilgrim's route to Santiago, so you pass many shrines on the way. (Details of walks are available from the tourist office).
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.
Explore the Gil Eannes Hospital ship in Viana
This ship was built in 1955 in the Viana shipyard and originally served as a hospital ship to Portuguese fishermen. But in 1984 it was taken out of service and spent several years languishing in Lisbon harbour. In 1997 it was sold for scrap, but the community of Viana saved it and is now moored in the town's harbour. Visitor's can view the bridge, galley, bakery, engine room, doctor's office, treatment room, radiology room, several cabins and temporary exhibition rooms.
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