Ponte de Lima Travel Guide | Wandering Portugal

Ponte de Lima is Portugal’s oldest town, with a beautiful historic center to visit.

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Why Travel to Ponte de Lima? There’s lots to see in this little place. Named after its Roman/Medieval bridge, which can carry modern automotive traffic, Ponte de Lima is one of the most beautiful towns in Portugal’s northwest corner, the Alto Minho in the Norte Region. It’s said to be Portugal’s oldest town.

Ponte de Lima was a favored stop for pilgrims using the Caminhos do Minho on their way to Santiago de Compostela via the town’s namesake bridge. The Minho region is largely unvisited by foreigners, and you’ll find relatively unspoiled and easy to access villages and attractions here.

Where is Ponte de Lima?

Ponte de Lima is 90 km north of Porto and 25 km east of Viana do Castelo. It is close enough to Braga to be visited on a day trip, but if I had it over to do again, I would have stayed in Ponte de Lima and traveled to Braga for that day trip.

Getting There

The closest airport to Ponte de Lima is at Porto, where the A3 freeway towards Spain passes within 2km of Ponte de Lima (take the Ponte de Lima Sul exit). From the Porto Airport, you can take the airport-bus to Porto and then a bus to Ponte de Lima or Viana do Castelo.

You can also do a “tour of Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima & Barcelos” and leave the driving to someone else.

Where to Stay

If you’re searching for a highly-rated luxury hotel, try Hotel Paço de Vitorino, the foundations of which date to the 16th century. It’s about 10 minutes outside Ponte di Lima.

Golfers may like the Axis Ponte de Lima Golf Resort Hotel

For an apartment right in Ponte di Lima, try Pinheiro Guest House.

If you prefer vacation rentals (from cottages to villas) VRBO lists nearly 1200 interesting vacation rental properties for Ponte de Lima and environs.

Tourism Office

The tourist Office is on Praça da República, which you are likely to pass if you’ve parked along the road from the A3 exit. Upstairs you can visit a small museum with local handicrafts and historical information. You can get information here for staying in local manor houses as well.

Open Air Market Day

The huge Monday market, held twice a month, has been held in Ponte de Lima since 1125.

Ponte de Lima Attractions

Ponte de Lima is starting to be recognized as a tourist destination. This is neither good nor bad, but depends on what you’re looking for—tourist facilities are being added, as well as resort features like golf courses.

There are two plane tree lined walking streets along the Lima river, the Alameda de S. Joao, and the Avenida d. Luis Felipe. They offer interesting strolling areas.

The Medieval Bridge is documented to have been started in 1368. It’s 277 meters in length and 4 meters in width, with 16 large arches and 14 smaller ones. There are more arches buried below. On the opposite side of the river is the Roman bridge, built for military use between Braga and Astorga.

Across the bridge, the Guardian Angel is a stone quadrangular monument on the banks of the river. It’s an ancient chapel, but there’s no clue as to when it was erected. It’s been rebuilt many times when persistent floods damaged it.

The Capela de Santo Antonio da Torre Velha dominates the scene across the river. To the east of the bridge is a delightful garden which includes a picnic area and a small folk museum.

The fountain in Ponte de Lima’s Main Square was completed in 1603 but wasn’t located in its present location until 1929, when it was moved to the Largo de Camoes.

Churches: Igreja de S. Francisco and Santo Antonio dos Capuchos. The Terceiros Museum is here, featuring ecclesiastical, archaeological and folk treasures.

More on the Norte Region of Portugal

Chaves Travel Guide

Guimarães Travel Guide

Norte Region Map

Vinho dos Mortos: Wine of the Dead and Chaves

Bom Jesus Sanctuary

Miranda do Douro Travel Guide

Categories Norte, Rural Portugal

Ponte de Lima Travel Guide originally appeared on WanderingPortgual.com , updated: Feb 14, 2024 © .