The 18km of the Costa Verde coast from Apúlia to Esposende has been designated the Área de Paisagem Protegida do Litoral de Esposende (Esposende Protected Coastal Area), which has restricted development along this stretch. The main resort of Esposende, 20km from Barcelos and slightly inland on the estuary of the Rio Cávado, has a lovely dune-backed beach a two-kilometre walk to the north, studded with seasonal beach restaurants. The town itself isn’t particularly handsome, though there is a small museum in a former theatre on Largo Dr Fonseca Lima, which contains displays of local ethnography, items from nearby antas (megalithic Bronze Age tombs), and ceramics and tools from the 2000-year-old castro of São Lourenço, a local Bronze Age settlement. The turismo on the riverfront has town maps.
Another 3km further north, the beach is rockier around the little fishing village of São Bartoloeu do Mar (aka Mar). There is refreshingly little to the place: just a lovely church, shop and café (with a few rooms to let).