Guide to Costa Verde
Tell me about Costa Verde
Costa Verde, translates as the ‘green coast’ and lies on the north west coast of Portugal. It starts at the Minho River estuary and finishes at the city of Porto
. From Europe you can fly into Porto Airport
and then drive around the area using the A1.
Take a tour in Costa Verde
Porto is a riverside city famous for its production of port, you can visit the wine cellars at Villa Nov de Gaio and have a tasting. Explore the downtown area, where there are plenty of museums and churches to see. Take a relaxing stroll along the waterside area too. Then head out to the seaside village of Miramar, relax on the Praia de Miramar beach and enjoy a snack at one of the cafes. Afterwards go and see the Lord of Stone Chapel. From there, drive to Guimaraes, where you can see lots of medieval buildings and a castle. It is thought to be the birthplace of Portugal and is also home to the Palace of the Dukes of Braganca.
The next stop is Braga
, an ancient city with lots of cathedrals and churches and most famous for the grand Bom Jesus Sanctuary. Barcelos is not so far from there and you can hear the story of the Barcelos
Cockerel. Viana do Castelo is a seaside town, known for its handicrafts and regional costumes.
You can visit the churches or museums or take a boat trip. Finally, head out to Parque da Penada Gerez, a nature reserve near the border of Spain
. There you can see species unique to the Iberian peninsular. Another alternative is to take a boat tour up the Minho River or even hire a canoe or kayak and do it under your own steam.
What’s the food like?
Start with the caldo verde, a soup made with potatoes and kale. Try the local duck or chicken with rice or pork with red wine. Buy some smoked ham or chorizo to take home. Drink the local port wine and also try the light vinho verde white wine. Treat yourself to some desserts made with egg and almond paste.
What souvenirs to buy?
Pottery and ceramics are made locally and the one thing you should take home is a colourful Barcelos Cockerel, the symbol of Portugal and signifying good luck. You could buy something for the house, made of wicker or copperware. Embroidered linens are a popular choice too and not too heavy to carry home. Why not treat yourself or someone special to a piece of filigree jewellery.
Where should I stay?
Why not stay in a traditional ‘pousada’? These are old monasteries and castles that have been converted into hotels. The Pousada de Viana do Castelo – Monte de Sta Luzia has rooms with dramatic views and vast landscapes where you can see the city and the sea. The pousada has a swimming pool and is set in woods and gardens, which you can explore. The Pousada de Braganca – Sao Bartolomeu is located on a hill with views over the castle and city. The pousada also has an outdoor swimming pool.
Costa Verde is a region in the north west of Portugal which is popular with tourists, especially some of its more prominent cities and towns such as Porto, Braga
, Guimaraes and Barcelos. To take full advantage of this region and explore the different areas it is advisable to hire a car in Costa Verde as often some of the most beautiful and interesting places to visit are not serviced by public transport.
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