Visit the Convento San Payo at Vila Nova de Cerveira
A fascinating place that combines art with nature. The main building is packed with works and the extensive gardens are scattered with interesting sculptures. The views from the gardens down to the River Minho are spectacular and the woods next to the convent make the ideal place for a picnic or leisurely stroll.
Visit the tiny harbour at Vila Praia de Âncora
and for a gastronomic feast, be sure to buy some of the fresh fish you will see being landed there to cook on your barbecue back home at Casa de São Tiago.
Explore the River Âncora
You’ll find a variety of river beaches and stunning natural pools along the river. These renowned beauty spots are within easy reach and they make an exciting change from swimming in the pool.
Go for a walk
There is a huge variety of great walks that can be taken in the area. Some are waymarked and others are not but if you enjoy exploring on foot then you’ll be in paradise. If you happen to pass a bookshop, the Sunflower walking guide to Northern Portugal comes recommended.
Head to the beach
Such is the wealth of beaches nearby, you are spoilt for choice. The beach at Vila Praia de Âncora is particularly popular with families as parts of it are more sheltered, making it ideal for youngsters.
Spend a day in 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.
See Ponte de Lima on two wheels
Hire bikes from the nautical club in Ponte de Lima and follow the Ecovia which runs parallel to the Lima River.
Learn about life in the Minho
Situated at the Castelinho Park in Vila Nova de Cerveira, The Aquamuseu do Rio Minho gives a fascinating insight into the wildlife in and around the Minho River. The Aquarium takes you on a journey via a series of tanks that plots the river’s course from high in the mountains of Lugo to where it flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Caminha.
Go bird watching
The confluence of the Minho and Coura rivers creates a unique habitat for wildlife. This protected area is made up of reed beds, riparian forest, salt marshes, mudflats and marshy wetland, making it excellent for bird watching.
Nothing but nature in the National Park of Peneda-Gerês
Drive for miles through the, largely undiscovered, beautiful 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!
Castelinho Park, Vila Nova de Cerveira
A perfect place to cool off on a hot summer’s day, the Castelinho Park is situated next to the Minho River and contains a wide range of water features to splash about in. You’ll also find the Aquarium, sports courts and a mini golf course. There are various play areas, benches and a few cafés in the park making it the ideal place to relax and unwind for the whole family.
Take a boat trip
The Insua Taxi Boat offers trips to Insua Fort, trips along the River Minho and other fun activities such as banana boating. They are based at the Port in Caminha by Foz Beach.
Visit the charming fortress town of Valença
Travel through the ancient archway in the impressive city walls to discover a myriad of cobbled streets and a delightful range of local shops selling the beautifully embroidered towels and linen for which the town is famous.
Explore the Serra d’Arga
In this area of outstanding natural beauty, you’ll find waterfalls, natural pools and a wide range of fabulous walking routes offering spectacular views.
Visit historic Braga
Known as the city that will get to heaven first, Braga Cathedral is the seat of the archdiocese, the oldest in the land. The archbishop of Braga is also the Primate of all Portugal. Under Roman rule ‘Bracara Augusta’ was one of the governing centres of Gallaecia, a territory comprised of modern day Galicia, Northern Portugal, Asturias and Leon.
Shop for ceramics
in the colourful market in Barcelos. Taking place every Thursday in Campo da República (also known as "Campo da Feira"), it is the largest market in Portugal and one of the largest in all of Europe. You’ll be sure to find the 'Galo de Barcelos', the small cockerel which is the town’s emblem.
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.
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.
Known as the birthplace of Portuguese identity, the country’s first administrative seat was established here by Henry of Burgundy and it was also the birthplace of Portugal’s first King, Alfonso I. Don’t miss the Castle complex and the stunning Paço dos Duques (Palace of the dukes of Braganza). A UNESCO world heritage site and European Capital of Culture in 2012, the medieval streets of Guimerães are fascinating and full of charm.
Go to the opera
in July, when the Ponte de Lima Summer Festival of Opera and Classical Music is held, something that is fast becoming one of Europe's top cultural events. Performances take place in several venues throughout the town including historic manor houses, local churches and the Teatro Diogo Bernardes, a 19th century theatre in the historic centre.
Porto is a fascinating and atmospheric city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot! An easy transport option is to drive to the Metro station at Póvoa de Varzim. From there, take the Metro to São Bento Station in the city centre. This is recommended as parking can be quite difficult in the centre of Porto and there is often a lot of traffic.
Visit the port wine lodges...
...during a day out to Porto. Walk across on the upper level of the iconic Dom Luis iron bridge and either amble down through the windy streets or take the cable car for fantastic views across the Douro River towards the colourful ‘Bairro Ribeira’ neighbourhood. At Vila Nova de Gaia you’ll find the lodges of familiar names such as Taylors and Grahams as well as more local brands such as Ferreira and Calém.
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