Lovers of the great outdoors are spoiled for choice amid this stunning and varied landscape. Many holidaymakers are drawn to the coastline’s wild and wonderful waves and there are plenty of opportunities to join the locals for a spot of fishing along the Minho and Tamego rivers or take a trip on a tram in Porto. Meanwhile, in the stunning Peneda-Geres National Park you’ll discover amazing backdrops in which to discover ancient ruins and wildlife, or for the more adventurous there are amazing hiking and climbing routes, with kayaking and fishing also on offer.
Whether you’re tempted onto a surfboard by the crashing waves of the Atlantic swell or content to just relax in the sunshine, you’ll find the fine sandy beaches along the Costa Verde are beautiful, easy to reach and rarely crowded. The resort of Vila Praia da Ancora at the far north of the region has a pretty, sheltered bay stretching between the town’s two ancient forts, while the neighbouring Blue Flag beach of Moledo, near Caminha, is famed for its strong waves and delightful sand dunes.
The ancient riverside city of Porto is simply brimming with historic buildings and monuments recalling its colourful past. It’s a great place to admire architectural gems such as the imposing Cathedral and decorative São Bento train station. Don’t miss a visit to the medieval seaside town of Vila do Conde and the famous Santa Clara Monastery with its 5km-long aqueduct, built on 999 arches. Or venture to the village of Cabeceiras de Basto where you can visit the Monastery of Saint Michael with its impressive thirty three meter high dome.
With the fruits of the sea on one side and fertile valleys on the other, it’s no wonder this region can hold its own when it comes to fresh, local ingredients. Traditional favourites include the hearty Caldo Verde soup, made with shredded cabbage, potato and garlic, tasty goat stew and fish dishes, from shad and whiting to the ever-popular balcahão (salted cod). Whether you’re dining at one of Porto’s atmospheric riverfront bistros, on the beach or in a rustic village café, a chilled glass of the region’s lightly sparkling Vinho Verde is a great accompaniment.