While it’s the Rio Minho that gives the region its name, it’s the area’s other river, the Rio Lima, which puts heart and soul into the Minho. Its delightful valley – dotted with ancient towns and Romanesque churches, and draped in morning mists – is a byword for beauty in Portugal, and forms an obvious route from Viana do Castelo, where the river meets the sea, eastwards to the Peneda-Gerês mountains. There are minor roads along north and south sides of the river, connecting a cluster of peaceful little settlements on the banks of the Lima and its tributaries, though the fast highway from Viana takes you quickly to the standout town of Ponte de Lima, with its famous market held right on the riverbanks. For slower travel around the region, the “Ecovia” bike-and-hike track runs along the riverside between Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima and Ponte da Barca.

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