Established in 1125, Ponte de Lima is one of the oldest and most beautiful towns in Portugal. Located 1 hour north of Porto, it easily visited as a day trip or visitors can spend a night in the area to explore other historic towns nearby.
Ponte de Lima is named after its most prominent landmark – the medieval bridge (“ponte”) that spans the Lima River. The current arched bridge was built in 1368 and incorporates 5 of the arches from a much older Roman bridge that dates back to the 1st century. The bridge was an important crossing point in Roman times and is part of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James).
The town has been called Portugal’s most floral towns, which can be seen in the flower-lined main road that leads into the historic city center and the International Garden Festival that takes place each year from May to October.
Ponte de Lima is picturesque and charming, and can be visited in just a few hours. Sites to see during your visit include:
- Ponte de Lima – Roman bridge
- Arnado Park – architectural theme park with garden styles such as Roman, Renaissance, and Baroque Gardens
- Museu dos Terceiros (Museum of the Third Order) – 15th C. buildings housing medieval and baroque religious art and gold
- Museu do Brinquedo – toy museum displaying items from Portuguese toy manufacturers from the 19th C. up to 1986
- Largo de Camões – picturesque town square with a beautiful fountain dating from 1603
- Igreja Matriz (15th C. church)
- Capela das Pereiras (16th C. chapel)
- Centro de Interpretação e Promoção do Vinho Verde – museum that traces the history of the Vinho Verde (Green Wine) produced in the northern area between the Douro River, Minho River, Atlantic Ocean and the eastern mountains
If you are looking for a place to stay in the area, the lovely Pousada de Viana do Castelo – Monte de Santa Luzia is located just 30 minutes to the west. The Pousada was built in 1918 and offers guests panoramic views of the Lima River and the Atlantic coastline from its privileged hilltop location. For more information and reservations, click here.
Book a private tour! You may want to consider booking a private tour with an English-speaking guide, if you want to visit Ponte de Lima as a day trip from Porto. Your personal guide can provide you with information on the city and its historic sites. For more information on our Porto Day Trip that includes Ponte de Lima, click here, and for information on all of our Porto & Porto Day Trip tours, click here.
Photo credit: NBA / Photo of Ponte de Lima
For assistance with your travel plans, including hotel and private tour reservations, click here.