VILA DO CONDE, 27km north of Porto, has become quite a significant resort over recent years, but despite the increase in visitor numbers still retains much of its historic charm. In part, it’s because the villas and apartments overlooking the beach are set away from the rest of town; the medieval centre, 1km inland on the north bank of the Rio Ave, still has its traditional fishing port and quiet, traffic-free streets, while the more modern town is a handsome place of boulevards, gardens and cafés. It has a fair reputation for festivals too, from food and crafts to film, and if you want more than just a beach then it’s easily the best day out from Porto, especially as you can zip up and down quickly on the metro. The more developed sands of Póvoa do Varzim are just a few minutes beyond, at the end of the line.

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