Go horse riding
The owner of Casa do Santa has a horse and is happy to make arrangements for horse riding. He can arrange a gentle hack on horseback for one person through the countryside on a Sunday morning.
Stay at home and play badminton on the top lawn or enjoy a game of cards on the veranda.
Meet the mobile fishmonger
On the days you plan to barbecue, listen out in the morning (Mon to Fri) for the sound of the mobile fishmonger's horn announcing his arrival. Prepare to run and follow the noise to get your sardines!
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. Being only a 20 minute drive from the house, it is within easy reach.
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.
on the challenging 18 hole course just outside Ponte de Lima
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 short 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.
Shop for ceramics
in the colourful Thursday market that is held in Barcelos. This is the largest market in Portugal, and is held every Thursday in a vast open square in the centre of the town. The town is the birthplace of the 'Galo de Barcelos', the small cockeral, which is widely represented in traditional ceramic throughout the country and will no doubt be found on one of the stalls.
Head to the coast for the day
and discover the beautifully unspoilt beaches that stretch north and south of Viana do Castelo.
Soak up fantastic 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.
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.
Laze on the sands
on the beach of the chic coastal village of Moledo. When you feel the need for some refreshment, a number a smart snack 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.
Nothing but nature in the National Park of Peneda-Geres
Drive for miles through the largly undiscovered beautiful mountain scenery of this stunning area of natural beauty. Whilst you are unlikely to meet a car, watch out for the mountain goats, who have right of way!
Set aside a day to visit the UNESCO World Heritage City of Porto. Will a day be enough time to fit in visits to the Planetarium to plot some of those stars you have been watching, to walk down the steep higgledy piggledy tiny streets that tumble down to the River Douro, to walk across the iron bridge built by Monsieur Gustav Eiffel, to visit the port caves and try that famous drink and to 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!
Drive up the coast to the pretty waterside town of Caminha, from where a car ferry makes frequent trips across the small stretch of water that separates the north of Portugal from Galicia. This is a fun way to reach this beautiful corner of Spain, which boasts some superb beaches and is renowned for the quality of its seafood
Explore the charming fortress town of Valenca
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
Catch up on your reading..
...relax in the lovely garden with a good book and leave it at home for the next customers ...and there's a good selection of books that others have left for you too.
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