Quinta de São Bento
Great things to do near Quinta de São Bento
Stroll into town.
A series of little back streets form the pleasant route from the house to the centre of Vila de Prado where you can browse the local shops before stopping off at a cafe for some refreshment.

Head down to the river beach
and have an ice cream by the water. This is just a short walk across town.

Visit historic Braga
.....The city that will get to heaven first. The cathedral is the seat of the Primate of all Portugal and his magnificent palace is at the heart of the town. Only a 15 minute drive from the house by car, the city has a beautiful centre and is an appealing venue for meals and days out.

Walk in the footsteps of the pilgrims
up the steps of Bom Jesus do Monte, 3kms east of Braga. Set in the woods high above the city, this glorious ornamental stairway of granite is a monumental homage and is the object of devoted pilgrimage, where pentitents climb up the steps on their knees.

Relax in the pretty gardens that surround Bom Jesus do Monte
Behind the church you will find wooded grounds, grottoes and miniature boating pools, which make this a very pleasant place to spend an afternoon or early evening.

Browse the stalls on market day in Barcelos
Set off early to see what is the largest market in the Minho. This takes place every Thursday and the town is the birthplace of the 'Galo de Barcelos', the small cockeral, which is widely represented in traditional ceramic throughout the country. It will no doubt be found on one of the stalls.

Visit the birthplace of the first king of Portugal
With its impressive medieval monuments, a charming labyrinth of narrow streets and general sense of grandeur, it is not hard to imagine that the attractive town of Guimaraes was once home to royalty. Situated a short drive south east of Braga, it is well worth a trip.

Nothing but nature in the National Park of Peneda-Geres.
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!

Spend a day lazing on the beach
on the long white sands of Ofir, said to be the best beach between Porto and Viana do Castelo. Forests of pine trees form the backdrop to the spectacular dune backed beach.

Have a drink on the terrace of one of the beachfront cafes in Esposende
a chaming seaside town, popular with the Portuguese and blessed with a lovely dune-backed beach of fine white sand.

Head a little further up the coast and hire surfboards
at the beach of Afife, a favourite haunt for keen surfers

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.

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 including historic manor houses, local churches and the Teatro Diogo Bernardes, a 19th century theatre in Ponte de Lima.

Play golf
on Ponte de Lima's challenging 18 hole course.

Sample the local wine
and 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).

Set aside a day to visit the World Heritage city of Porto.
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.

Visit the port wine lodges
at 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.

See another country - Spain!
Crossings from the pretty riverside town of Caminha to the Spanish town of la Guardia are every hour and the short journey across the water is a fun way to reach this lovely corner of Spain, which boasts some superb beaches and wonderful seafood restaurants.

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