Relax and enjoy the peace
Sit back beside your pool with a cool drink and admire the views from the garden over the lovely Portuguese countryside.
As Ponte de Lima is Portugal's oldest town, its bridge dates from Roman times. Take a stroll across and admire the river from both sides. The view towards the old town and the mountains are fantastic. There are models of Roman soldiers crossing the river on both sides and other statues on the river bank too.
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 a fascinating afternoon...
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!
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.
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.
Head to the coast for the day
and discover the beautifully unspoilt beaches that stretch north and south of Viana do Castelo.
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
Enjoy 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 willl lead you to some beautiful waterfalls.
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 cockerel, which is widely represented in traditional ceramic throughout the country and will no doubt be found on one of the stalls.
Visit Guimaraes, a world heritage centre
As the first capital of Portugal and birthplace of the nation's first king, Guimarães is one of the country's most historic cities, and its World Heritage medieval streets with well-preserved monuments make it definitely worth a visit. While there visit the castle and then try some "Tortas de Guimarães", custard tarts made traditionally by nuns following an age-old recipe.
Ponte de Barca
Ponte da Barca is a peaceful small town on the River Lima a little further inland than Ponte de Lima. It takes its name from days when people had to cross the river by barge. Apart from the bridge other attractions include the Pillory built in the 16th century and the Ancient Market, both at the Poets Plaza. There is a lovely walk along the river, perfect for strolling after a meal in one of the excellent restaurants.
More villages of Peneda-Geres
Ponte da Barca is a great starting point to further explore the Peneda do Gerês Natural Park. From here, scenic drives lead to the old villages of Lindoso with its Castle, Mezio with its natural Lagoons and Soajo with the typical 'Espigueiros' where locals keep their corn.
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