Food lovers take note..
There are plenty of excellent restaurants within a short distance of the house - a great way to sample the local cuisine. And if you fancy a change, there is a Brazilian and Argentian restaurant in Vila Verde too.
Handicraft shopping In Vila Verde
Nearby Vila Verde is known for the very high quality of its handicrafts, especially pottery and wickerwork. Also, the traditional lover’s handkerchief (lenço de namorado) is made by local women - this is a love token that girls give to their would-be husbands to attract their attention..
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.
Guimarães was the birthplace of the first king, Afonso Henriques, in 1110 and the first capital of the country that was then known as Portucale. Today, the centre of Guimarães retains its sense of history in a labyrinth of attractive, narrow streets that have earned it UNESCO World Heritage status. While visiting the town, sample some Tortas de Guimarães (Guimarães' pies) and Toucinho do céu ( bacon from heaven) and some of their meat cake - a kind of bread in a pizza shape served with pork, sardines or other toppings.
Citania de Briteiros
One of the most impressive archeological sites in the country lies between Braga and Guimaraes, at Briteiros. It consists of more than 150 foundations for huts, two of which have been rebuilt in the style of the Celtic settlers. There is a network of paved streets, two rows of town walls, a bathhouse and even a public fountain all of which can be easily identified. Built on a hilltop, the site has great views over the surrounding area.
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 and there some pleasant paths to stroll around too.
Don't miss a trip to the lovely shrine of Bom Jesus
5 km east of Braga. The stairway leading up to it is impressive and still regularly used by penitents who climb up on their knees. From the top there are fantastic views of the Penedes Geres park in one direction and over Braga and the coast in the other. Take a picnic, or wander through the woods and delightful gardens which surround the site.
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.
For peace and tranquility amid beautiful surroundings try to visit the Peneda-Geres National park, the first protected area to be founded in Portugal and the only National Park in the country. Having once been the home of the brown bear and the mountain goat, Peneda-Geres is today one of the last refuges of the great predators, such as the royal eagle.
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.
The village of Lindoso near the border with Spain has two claims to fame. One is the castle which is a National Monument and well worth exploring, and the other is its collection of more than 50 'espigueiros', grain stores dating back to the 17th century. Stop off for lunch at the restaurant at the bottom of the hill from the castle.
Some of the best fishing rivers are in the North of Portugal. The River Cavado is close by or head upstream to Lake Canicada where trout is plentiful. Licences are available from local Town Halls.
Visit the charming fortress town of Valenca
on the banks of the River Minho. Drive through the ancient archway that leads the way through the impressive town walls to discover cobbled streets and a delightful range of local shops selling the beautifully embroidered linen and towels for which the town is famous. Its very popular with Spaniards so to see it at its best stay till early evening when most visitors will have left.
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.
One for the gardeners to do.....
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...
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.
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).
Have you visited Casa dos Fernandos?
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