The Minho
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THE MINHO

Considered by many visitors and residents alike to be the most beautiful region of Portugal, The Minho is an area defined by the river Minho in the north, the ocean to the west, mountains to the east and mighty Porto to the south. The visitor is gifted with such fine vistas such as beautiful river valleys cascading down rolling valleys, forests of eucalyptus trees, vines that hang from trellises, miles of unspoiled sandy beaches and towns which seem to be untouched by the modern world. Age-old customs are preserved with pride here. It isn't rare to encounter folk musicians and dancers in ancient narrow streets during countless festas and romarias that occur annually.

GREEN IS THE WORD

Minho Map

Map of The Minho - © Delahay&Co

"Green or Verde" is the operative word to describe this region. Green describes its unique characteristics associated with landscapes of virgin natural beauty, fertility and forests. Its untouched coastline – the Costa Verde, the almost timeless quaintness and hearty cuisine. Green also describes the local wine – Vinho Verde, that spritely refreshing light wine that makes so much sense when drank here. Vinho Verde epitomises the gentle, fresh and invigorating nature of this land. It's an ideal accompaniment with fish, poultry and salad. Within The Minho there are regional variations of this unique wine.

The people here are short in stature yet big of heart. Their hospitality is legendary, a welcoming smile is never far from their faces. Most tourists to this area tend to be Spanish on short visits who like to buy the local cloth and sample the local delicacies. Once confronted with English speakers the Minhotos enthusiasm to practice their language skills is most gratifying.

In the west, the land is low lying and dotted with old port towns that once gained their wealth from trade to the new worlds. The fish-filled rivers which bisect the land are bordered with vines that are still trained in high canopies. Popular now with canoeists and anglers, these rivers served as ancient trade routes which brought wealth to the attractive towns that cling to their banks. Follow the rivers upstream and you'll find more mountainous landscapes protected by the national parks of Parque Nacional do Alvão and Parque Nacional da Penda-Gerês. Both delight the eye with wooded valleys, majestic waterfalls, meadows and moorland, home to wolves and eagles.

Turbulent history is evident as elsewhere in Portugal in the guise of old castles and fortified towns, ancient ruins can be found from the bronze age, the Lusitania Celts, and the Romans. Here is the birthplace of Portugal and home to Portugal's first capital at Guimarães…"Aqui Nasceu Portugal".


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The Minho

The traditional costume of The Minho

TOP ATTRACTIONS

Arcos de Valdevez

A picturesque market town on the banks of the river Vez just north of Ponte de Lima.

Barcelos

Birth place of the rooster legend and national symbol.

Braga

The capital city of the Minho region, Braga offers it's visitors a vast number of sites to visit and entertainment.

Guimarâes

The birth place of Portugal, this charming ancient town has well preserved medieval streets and monuments.

Monção

A medieval town on the banks of the river Minho which retains it's old defensive walls.

Ponte de Lima

This delightful town in the Lima valley encompasses the essence of the Minho, fammed for the it's ancient bridge.

Valença

A frontier town on the river Minho, Valença has a well preserved old town inside tried and tested ramparts.

Viana do Castelo

A town that came to glory during Portugal's golden era. Steeped in tradition and history on the pristine costa verde.

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Peneda Gerês National Park

PENEDA GERÊS NATIONAL PARK

Bordering Galicia in Spain in the far North East of Portugal, the Peneda-Gerês National Park spans a vast area of 72,000 hectares of landscapes of immense natural beauty. Portugal has many protected areas, but Peneda-Gerês is the country's only designated National Park, first established on the 8th of May 1971. The vast area encompasses the municipalities of Melgaço, Arcos de Valdevez, Ponte da Barca, Terras de Bouro and Montalegre. At its highest point, it rises 1545 metres above sea level at Nevosa with notable other peaks of the Peneda, Soajo, Amarela and Gerês mountain ranges along with the Mourela and plateaus.

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THE MINHO… LAND OF VINHO VERDE

Vinho Verde is a unique product, misunderstood by some but loved by many. Aromatic and spritzy, it is a delicious natural beverage. Medium in alcohol, Vinho Verde has great digestive properties due to its freshness, effervescence and balanced acidity. It is a highly regarded wine and best enjoyed served chilled for Summertime drinking. The malolactic fermentation gives it a distinctive taste and personality. The reds are full-bodied wines with an intense colour and a rosy or light red foam. The whites usually present a lemony or straw colour. The strong distinctive character and originality of these wines are the result of the region's soil and climate characteristics, social-economic elements, grape varieties and vine-growing methods.
CVRVV - Comissão do Viticultura de Região dos Vinho Verde. [Website]


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Vinho Verde

GASTRONOMY OF THE MINHO

Gastronomy of the Minho

When you visit the Minho, take your appetite with you, restaurant portions are as generous as the locals. That said, don't be embarrassed to ask for a "meia dose"… a half portion. The Minhotan restaurants are usually traditional in nature serving local cuisine and fresh local produce. The cuisine in the Minho reflects the landscapes found here. From the sea and rivers comes fish; Bacalhau, Lamprey and Shad are local delicacies. The ground gives forth ingredients for the delicious cornbread (broa de milho), the Cove Galega cabbage, the main ingredient for the Caldo Verde soup and an array of superb vegetables, fruit and salads.

Meat here is also prized, as in Porto offal is used in interesting ways, beef from the distinctive Arouquesa and Cachena long-horned cattle, kid from the Cabrito das Terras Altas do Minho goat, pork from the Bisaro pig and many other succulent types of meat obtained from free-ranging animals. Hams, Chouriços are also popular here and pulses are used to bulk out hearty stews. Minhotans also enjoy a sweet tooth and many towns have their own specialities, Arroz Doce, sweet rice pudding is believed to have originated here.

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TOP TOURS IN THE MINHO

Alto Minho - Dive Deep Into The Alto Minho

Dive Deep Into The Alto Minho

Following a morning pick-up from your hotel in Porto, you'll meet your private guide and take a seat onboard a luxury vehicle. With exclusivity and all privacy go towards the North of Portugal to Viana do Castelo, which is widely considered among the region's most important port town. Enjoy the impressive views of the city and the sea before heading to Ponte de Lima for lunch.




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Private Vinho Verde Tour: Visit 2 Wineries with Wine Tastings & Lunch

Private Vinho Verde Tour: Visit 2 Wineries with Wine Tastings & Lunch

Discover Portugal’s unique wine tradition of Vinho Verde (green wine), on this full-day tour from Porto. The Minho wine region is filled with lush, green scenery, which you can discover on this tour. Sample the special wine at local wineries, enjoy a delicious Portuguese lunch, and learn about this wine region. Discover the Vinho Verde tradition of Portugal on this full-day tour.


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4X4 Tour - Minho Coastal - Discover the coastline of Minho

4X4 Minho Coastal Tour

The Minho Coast is a unique landscape of sea, rivers and mountains, come on a trip in our 4x4 vehicles. Visit the coast, from Viana do Castelo to Caminha, the mountains and the beaches. We will go up to the Serra de Santa Luzia, in Viana do Castelo, we see the iconic Temple. We follow the mountain range, where we can appreciate the unique landscapes. We pass by the shrine of Nossa Senhora das Neves and Mount Anão in Caminha, where there are the most beautiful views. The return is made along the coast, passing beautiful and unspoiled beaches.

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GETTING TO AND AROUND THE MINHO

Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport
1200х600.

Linha do Minho
Rede Expressos

After Lisbon airport Porto International is the second busiest airport in Portugal and has knocked Faro into third place. This is a reflection of Porto's rise to prominence both as a centre for commerce and as a tourist destination. Originally constructed in the 1940's the building has recently been modernised and boasts first class ammenities and transport links. Website

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Since joining the EU Portugal has seen a vast improvement in it's road network with the addition of fine motorway network which speedily take you from the major cities to the area you want to visit. In 2015, the country's road network was named as being the best in Europe and the second best in the world. For the more adventurous drivers there's plenty of more rural windy yet very scenic roads available such as the N222 which runs from Peso de Regua to Pinhao and has been voted as  the top drive in the world.

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The North of Portugal, especially the Minho are well served by the Portuguese rail network. Porto's Urban trains go to Guimarães Timetable and Braga Timetable. Where as a Regional service (Linha do Minho) goes to Valença via Viana do Castelo and Caminha: Timetable.

Trains of Portugal Website

• Rede Expressos run nationwide coach services within Portugal. Website

• AV Minho: Service within the Minho district. Website

• Transdev: Services in Northern Portugal. Website

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