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PONTE DE LIMA

Let MADABOUTPORTO.COM be your indispensable guide to the attractive town of Ponte de Lima. We'll advise you about the best things to see and do. We'll advise you on how to get there and the best hotels available as well as offering restaurant recommendations. Sit back and let others organise everything with our choice of guided tours or use us to plan your adventures.

INTRODUCTION TO PONTE DE LIMA

Situated in the middle of the tranquil Lima valley, the town of Ponte de Lima is just about 15 miles East of Viana do Castelo and the Atlantic coast, and approximately 56 miles north of Porto. If the essence of the Minho could be summed up in one town, it would be here, Ponte de Lima boasts beautiful Baroque and neo-classical manor houses, churches, ancient chapels and fantastic public gardens. Positioned on the original Roman road which connected Tui with Braga, Ponte de Lima became a centre of commerce and trade. Only remnants remain of the medieval battlements – at one time it was the most fortified town in Northern Portugal with 600 metres of walls, ten towers, two torrents and six entrances. In 1995 Ponte da Lima won the European Grand Prize for Tourism and Environment.

THE BRIDGE

Ponte de Lima - Bridge

Ponte de Lima - Bridge

The stone Roman Bridge which lends the town its name crosses the River Lima and connects the town with Arcozelo on the other bank. It's believed the bridge was first built in the first century during the reign of Emperor Augustus. It was rebuilt during the 14th century, sadly only seven partially covered narrow arches on the north bank remain from the Roman construction. The medieval bridge is gothic in style. It was probably finished in 1370 during the period King Dom Pedro I had the town fortified. Further modifications were made in 1504 when the bridge received its paving and crenellation. Two defensive towers we built at the same time but were subsequently pulled down in the late 19th century.

On the Northern side of the bridge is the beautiful 18th-century church of Santo António da Torre Velha and beyond. Along with the bridge, it's probably the most photographed object in Ponte de Lima. Its profile makes a wonderful foreground to the mountains beyond. Azuleijo tiles cover the churches façade, yet the interior is relatively stark. The church and surrounding gardens are still worth a visit. 41º 46’ 9,6” N | 8º 35’ 14,0” W

THE MARKET

The market of Ponte de Lima is the oldest in Portugal and has existed since 4th March 1125. Dona Teresa, the mother of Dom Afonso Henriques, the first King of Portugal, granted the charter to Ponte de Lima. Every other Monday on the south bank of the river, hundreds of traders gather to show their best wares: various fresh vegetables and fruit, sweets, bread, cheeses, charcuterie as well as clothes, shoes and various household items.

As well as the fortnightly market there's a Craft market on each fourth Sunday of each month. An antiques market every second Sunday can be found along the river bank.

If you miss these markets you still have the Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal de Ponte de Lima) that is open Monday - Saturday from 07h00 – 19h00 and is a purveyor of regional produce.

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Ponte de Lima - Market

Ponte de Lima - Market

THE TOWN

Ponte de Lima - Town

Igreja Matriz

Torre da Cadeia Velha

The Torre da Cadeia Velha or Torre da Porta Nova on the river bank was once part of the original walled fortifications and later used as a prison until the 1960s. Inside you can see signatures of the unfortunate prisoners scratched into the walls. Later it housed the town's historical archives, before becoming an art gallery.


Igreja Matriz

The parish church was originally built between 1425 and 1446. The bell tower was added much later. Its peculiar mix of styles: Romanesque, Gothic and Neoclassical, are the result of several alterations over the centuries. An example mishmash is the gothic portal crowned by the 18th century rose window. Inside can be found two side altars; on the right is a 17th-century dedication to Nossa Senhora das Dores and on the left a shrine to Nossa Senhora de Fátima from the 18th century, both are incredible carvings. Also inside can be found a Manueline style font.

Chafariz Nobre (Noble Fountain)

No town in the Minho would be complete without its fountain. Ponte de Lima's fountain was first commissioned in 1575 and was completed in 1603. Its original home was in the Largo Dr António Magalhães and was transferred to the Largo de Camões in 1929. The work is attributed to the master from Ponte de Lima João Lopes, the younger. The square where it resides faces the river and bridge. A cluster of restaurants makes it an ideal spot for lunch.

VINHO VERDE - LIMA SUB REGION

In terms of temperature range, the sub-region of Lima occupies an intermediate position in relation with the other sub-regions. However, rainfall is higher. The altitude of the vineyards is variable and increases the further you travel from the coast, where the terrain is also more irregular, giving rise to some micro-climates in the Lima Valley, sometimes referred to as Lower Lima and Higher Lima. Like in the Cávado sub-region, there is a strip of soil consisting of schist and granite soils, though it is not a significant stretch. The most famous white wines from this sub-region are produced from the Loureiro variety. The aromas are fine and elegant, ranging from citrus to floral. The Arinto and Trajadura varieties are also widely found here because they adapt well to those climates less influenced by Atlantic winds. The reds are mainly produced from Vinhão and Borraçal varieties. Usually, the red wines from the more inland zones show better ageing potential, due to climatic conditions that affect ripening.


Wine Tasting at the Adega Cooperativa Ponte de Lima

One of a handful of excellent Cooperatives in the Minho region who produce Vinho Verde of great quality, their 100% Loureiro is continuously good year after year. Since its creation in 1957, it has expanded from its initial 47 growing members to over 2000. They now produce over 50,000 hectolitres of wine a year and export to an increasing number of countries. Situated just outside of the town they're open for guided wine tasting tours throughout the year, even during harvest time. For the price of ten euros, you'll experience a presentation from an oenologist, a tasting of some of their brands and a three-bottle gift box. Visits should be booked in advance.

Tuesday - Sunday: 10h00 - 13h00/14h00 - 18h00, Sundays: CLOSED
€2.00
Monte de Santa Luzia, 4901-910, Viana do Castelo, Portugal
N 41° 42’ 15” | W 08° 50’ 00 | +351 258 825 917
rcitania@culturanorte.gov.pt |  Website

VINHO VERDE - Loureiro

Loureiro grapes

WHAT TO DO IN PONTE DE LIMA

Museu dos Terceiros

Museu dos Terceiros

The Museu dos Terceiros is located within two religious buildings belonging to the Franciscan Order: the former convent of Santo António dos Capuchos and the building belonging to the Ordem Terceira de São Francisco (third order of Saint Francis). The remaining part of the convent, founded towards the end of the 15th century by Ponte de Lima’s mayor at the time, D. Leonel de Lima, consists of the church, the chapel of Senhora da Graça and the sacristy.

Established in the 1970s, the museum is guardian to a collection of medieval and baroque religious art and gold. Here too you'll find paintings, statues and azulejos dating from monastic times. Following a period of restoration, the two buildings re-opened to the public in 2008.

Tuesday - Sunday 10h00 - 12h30/14h00 18h00
Monday: CLOSED


209 Rua dos Terceiros, 4990-109, Ponte de Lima, Portugal
41º 45' 53.5" N | 8º 35' 13.8" W | +351 258 240 220
mute.geral@museuspontedelima.com |  Website

Toy Museum

Toy Museum

The Toy Museum is located in the Casa do Arnado close to the Roman bridge, on the right bank of the Lima river. The permanent exhibition housed within its walls takes the visitor back in time with exhibits from Portuguese toy manufacturers from the late 19th century until 1986. On the first floor, the exhibits are organised chronologically allowing us to understand the development of manufacturing techniques as well as changes in taste.

You can see tinplate rattles, beach buckets made of wood, paper-mâché dolls, lorries, boats, trains, tricycles and pedal cars. The route continues through the garden onto the "Sala das Brincadeiras" (Playroom), the "Oficina do Brinquedo" (toy shop) and the temporary exhibition room. The mandatory exit is through the museum’s shop, where visitors have the opportunity to find true rarities and take home unique toys.
Tuesday - Sunday 10h00 - 12h30/14h00 18h00
Monday: CLOSED
Casa do Arnado - Largo da Alegria, Arcozelo, 4990-154 Ponte de Lima, Portugal | 41º 46' 11.3" N | 8º 35' 20.3" W
+351 258 240 210
geral@museubrinquedoportugues.com |  Website

Ecovia do Lima

Ecovia do Lima (Trafiic free routes for walkers & cyclists)

Along and around the Lima valley can be found over 70km of traffic-free trails which meander through the countryside, opening up protected landscapes to the more adventurous traveller. In part, the trails utilise disused narrow gauge rail tracks and are well signed as they take you through idyllic surroundings, streams, vineyards, cornfields, orchards and views over the river Lima – a truly remarkable way to discover this land. The primary five routes are continuously being expanded and consist of:

Troço dos Açudes (The route of dams) - Runs between Ponte de Lima and Ponte de Barca  Website
Percurso das Lagoas (The journey of the ponds) - From Ponte de Lima to Ribeira da Silvareira in Fontão  Website
Troço da Laranja (Ermelo - Arcos de Valdevez) - Runs between Ermelo, Arcos de Valdevez and Albufeira Touvedo  Website
Percurso de Refóios do Lima - Runs between Ponte de Lima and the pier at Garrida  Website
Percurso das Veigas - Runs between Deão in Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima  Website

FEIRAS NOVAS

During the second weekend of September Ponte de Lima turns into a party town, despite its name, Feiras Novas (New Fair), has been sending Ponte de Lima bonkers for almost 200 years. The first Feiras Novas was occurred by royal appointment in 1826 in honour of Lady of Sorrows. Besides music, folklore and fireworks, there are other events like competitions, racing ponies, ethnographic and historical processions, processions of "gigantones" (the large four-metre tall dolls, a structure of which is worn and handled inside. The festivities last for three days and nights drawing in thousands of visitors from near and far alike. But it is the people with their joy and spontaneity, their way of celebrating at the party that makes the Feiras Novas a unique moment. There is plenty of singing, folklore in every corner of the town and a pilgrimage that is considered the "largest live congress of popular culture in Portugal".

Associação Concelhia das Feiras Novas
+351 258 900 400 | feirasnovas@cm-pontedelima.pt |  Website

Feiras Novas

Feiras Novas

ROMANS IN PONTE DE LIMA

Romans in Ponte de Lima

Statues of roman soldiers in Ponte de Lima

The Roman historian Livy (Titus Livius Patavinus 59BC-AD17) reported that when the legions first encountered the river Lima the foot soldiers refused to cross because they believed it was the legendary River Lethes, the river of forgetfulness. Proconsul Decimus Junius Brutus had marched his troops across most of Iberia refused to allow this superstition to thwart his ambitions. After taking the standard, he traversed the river alone on horseback and encouraged his men across from the opposite bank. Today this tale is remembered in the guise of two interesting monuments on either side of the river.

The Romans wouldn't have found this area uninhabited though, this was the land of the Limicos, which is probably the origin of the name of the river. A few archaeological remains of iron aged settlements have been found such as the Castro of Santo Estêvão da Facha.


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TOP TOURS

Vinho Verde Small Group Tour

Vinho Verde Small Group Tour

Discover Portugal's unique wine tradition of Vinho Verde, or green wine, on this full-day tour from Porto. The Vinho Verde region of Portugal 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.


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Private Tour: Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima from Porto

Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima

Visit Vila do Conde, Povoa Varzim, Viana do Castelo and Ponte de Lima. From Porto, always travelling along the coast, we will visit all these cities with stops at the most emblematic monuments in each city, the most beautiful beaches, and taste the local sweets. We will visit Viana do Castelo the jewel of Minho and Ponte de Lima the oldest village in Portugal. Travel in an air-conditioned Mercedes-class V250 van with eight seats.

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Valença, Ponte de Lima & Viana do Castelo

Valença, Ponte de Lima & Viana do Castelo

A full-day tour to uncover Alto Minho Region! Visit three unique towns in the north of Portugal: Valença, Ponte de Lima, and Viana do Castelo. Accompanied by an expert driver/guide you'll explore the attractions and delights, learn more about the region, and take time to get in touch with the customs, traditions, and flavours of the Minho. Pick up from Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia.

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SUGGESTED HOTELS

INLIMA Hotel & Spa

INLIMA Hotel & Spa ★ ★ ★ ★

This contemporary hotel and spa is a stone's throw from the river Lima and the historical centre of Ponte de Lima. The rooms are bright, airy, comfortable and fully fitted. Guests of the INLIMA can relax on the terrace and enjoy a range of massages at the spa, including full-body massages, facials and pedicures. The spa also features a relaxing Turkish bath. All air-conditioned guest rooms at the 4-star INLIMA Hotel are bright and airy. They include a cable TV, a minibar and a private bathroom with a hairdryer. The Hotel & Spa serves a rich buffet breakfast consisting of sweet and savoury dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients.

Rua Agostinho José Taveira, Lote 6, 4990-072 Ponte de Lima, Portugal.
41º 45" 57.9' N | 08º 35" 4.6' W | +351 258 900 050 | reservas@inlimahotel.com

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Hotel Jardim Viana do Castelo

Hotel Paço de Vitorino ★ ★ ★ ★

Dating back to the 16th century, Hotel Paço de Vitorino is located a ten minutes drive from Ponte de Lima centre, featuring a Baroque-style garden. This manor house provides free WiFi and an iPod docking station in the rooms. Rooms are located in three different wings, and they all include air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a mini-bar and an Estremoz marble bathroom. Some rooms offer views of the Lima River, while others overlook the garden or the natural landscape. Breakfast is available at the property, and can be served indoors or on the balcony overlooking the garden.

Carreira do Paço nº 270 - Vitorino de Donas, 4990-800 Ponte de Lima, Portugal.
41º 44' 05.5" N | 08º 38' 55.7" W | +351 258 738 578 | geral@pacodevitorino.com

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Hotel Império do Norte

Hotel Império do Norte ★ ★ ★

The Hotel Império do Norte is located centrally within Ponte de Lima. WiFi is free throughout the property and free garage parking is available on site. The hotel offers 45 standard rooms, two suites with river views, one triple room and one suite which is suitable for guests with limited mobility. All are comfortably equipped with air conditioning, flat-screen TV, telephone and balcony. The rooms and suites each have private bathrooms with a shower, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Some units have views over Avenida dos Plátanos and the Lima River. There is a 24-hour front desk at the property. There is also a bar, which serves refreshing drinks and cocktails. Bike rental is available.

Avenida 5 de Outubro 97 Ponte de Lima Rua 5 de Outubro 97 Ponte de Lima, 4900-030 Ponte de Lima, Portugal.
N 41º 46' 02.1" | W 08º 35' 10.9" | +351 258 009 008

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Restaurante Diamante Azul

Restaurante Diamante Azul

Swanky yet not overly formal, fine dining within Ponte de Lima at reasonable prices. For is prepared here to a constantly high standard and tastes as well as it's presented. The service is professional yet still warm and attentive. The cuisine is regional, the produce fresh and locally sourced. The list of wines is exstensive, if you feel lost, the waiters will recommend you the perfect accompaniment to your meal. Bom apetite!

Daily: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00
Rua da Cidade de Vandoeuvre n094, Urbanizacao Olho Marinho, Ponte de Lima 4990-085, Portugal.
41º 45' 58.1" N | 08º 34' 43.3" W
+351 258 742 754

Taverna Vaca Das Cordas

Taverna Vaca Das Cordas

A popular and cosy restaurant with a distinct Minho atmosphere which serves generous steaks and grill meat, bacalhau and fish.

Tuesday - Saturday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00, Sunday Evening & Monday: CLOSED
Rua Beato Francisco Pacheco 39 - 41, Ponte de Lima 4990 083, Portugal.
41° 45' 53" N | 08° 34' 57.9" W
+351 254 612 394
tavernavacadascordas@sapo.pt |  Website


Restaurante Açude

Restaurante Açude

With a magnificent view over the river Lima, Restaurante Acude serves great food and an excellent choice of wines. Indulge in a variety of local specialities such as bacalhau, octopus and lamprey from the Lima river.

Monday - Saturday: 12h00 - 15h00/19h00 - 22h00, Sunday Evening: CLOSED
Centro Nautico de Ponte de Lima - Arcozelo, Ponte de Lima 4990-150, Portugal.
41º 45" 55.91' N | 08º 35" 28.71' W
+351 258 944 158
geral@restauranteacude.com |  Website

Ponte de Lima is 84km (52 miles) North of Lisbon Portela Airport. Website

GET A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR FLIGHT HERE:

Reached from Porto, Braga and South along the A3. From Viana do Castelo and the West take the A27. From Spain, Valença and the North take the A3.
Latitude - 41º 45' 53" | Longitude - 08º 34' 57.9"

GET A GREAT DEAL ON YOUR CAR HIRE HERE:

There are no trains that go to Ponte de Lima, the closest train station is at Viana do Castelo: Train Timetable | Comboios de Portugal Website

• AV Minho: Website Service from Viana do Castelo to Ponte de Lima Timetable

• Transdev: Website Service from Braga to Ponte de Lima

• Rede Expressos: Website Services from various towns including Braga, Bragança, Coimbra, Porto, Valença and many others to Ponte de Lima.