The Best Guide to Ponte de Lima

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Ponte de Lima day trip and suggested tour and itinerary

Ponte de Lima is one of the most scenic towns of northern Portugal and is a must-visit destination for a day trip. The pretty little town lies along the banks of the slow-flowing Rio Lima River and was the original crossing point, with a bridge here since the Roman era.

the Centro de Interpretação e Promoção do Vinho Verde

The Centro de Interpretação e Promoção do Vinho Verde

For visitors, Ponte de Lima has a charming historic, beautiful ornamental gardens and a selection of outstanding tourists attractions. Ponte de Lima’s unique attractions including the excellent Toy Museum, where Portuguese reminisce about their childhoods, and the Centro do Vinho Verde, which details the history of Vinho Verde and of course offers wine tasting!

Ponte de Lima is a centre for outdoor activities including cycling/hiking along the Caminho da Oliveirinha, mounting biking into the Santo Ovídio hills, nature trails through the Lagoas de Bertiandos or kayaking along the Rio Lima. Ponte de Lima is compact enough to easily explore as a day trip, and there are regular bus services from Porto, Braga or Viana do Castelo.

This article will provide a guide for a day trip to Ponte de Lima and includes a suggested itinerary, details of main sights and an image tour.

Quick details for a day trip to Ponte de Lima

Note: On Mondays all of Ponte de Lima museums are closed, but every fortnightly Monday a large market is held along the riverfront.

Ponte de Lima portugal

The bridge (Ponte) and Rio Lima after which the town is named, Ponte de Lima (Lima Bridge)

How long to spend in Ponte de Lima for a day trip?

Ponte de Lima is a relatively small town, but there is a surprising amount to do and see. At a minimum, two hours would allow time to explore the historic centre, cross the Ponte de Lima bridge, view the Parque do Arnado and walk along the Avenida dos Plátanos. To include the Toy Museum, Museu dos Terceiros and the Centro do Vinho Verde an additional two hours are required. To extend a day trip further a walk along the pretty Caminho da Oliveirinha could be added.

If you have a car, a day trip could be extended by combining Ponte de Lima with Ponte da Barca, another pretty town situated 20km further up the Rio Lima. We would not recommend combine Ponte de Lima with Viana do Castelo, as Viana requires a full day of sightseeing.

Ponte de Lima Suggested Itinerary and image tour

The following is our suggested itinerary and tour for a day trip to Ponte de Lima.

• Arrive at the main bus stop of the town (GPS: 41.766547, -8.58196). If driving, park at the main car park on the riverfront (GPS 41.76855, -8.58534 or GPS: 41.77033, -8.58464)

• View the statue of Queen Teresa, who gave the first Portuguese municipal charter to Ponte de Lima (and hence it is the oldest town in Portugal) (GPS: 41.76698, -8.58320).

• To the northern side of this plaza is the charming Camara Municipal (town hall), which was once a traditional 16th-century manor house.

Camara Municipal Ponte de Lima

The Camara Municipal of Ponte de Lima

• On the opposite side is the castle-like exterior of the Paço do Marquês, a complex which houses the Centro De Interpretação De História Militar museum.

• For the tour continue down the Rua Cardeal Saraivato to the Gothic Igreja da Misericórdia church (GPS: 41.76762, -8.58439)

Igreja da Misericórdia church ponte de lima

The simple but striking interior of the Igreja da Misericórdia church

• Opposite the church is a statue of a bull which commemorates the Vaca Das Cordas festival.

• Follow the road down to the Rio Lima waterfront and admire the medieval bridge with its 17 stone arches.

• The Torre da Cadeia Velha (Old Prison tower) (GPS: 41.76731, -8.58518) was a section of the medieval town walls, until it was converted into a prison in the 16th century and was used as a prison until the 1970s. Today it houses the tourist information and has temporary exhibits on the upper floors.

Torre da Cadeia Velha ponte de lima

Torre da Cadeia Velha, is the main remaining feature of the ancient town walls

• Head around the rear of the Torre da Cadeia Velha to the hidden Largo da Picota and climb the stairs for an elevated view of the historic centre.

Igreja da Misericórdia church ponte de lima

The elevated view of the Igreja da Misericórdia church

• Back at the waterfront look at the Azulejos tile painting on the side of the Torre de São Paulo. This unique picture depicts King Afonso about to kill a herd of goats, thinking they were invading Moors. The Torre de São Paulo is the only other remaining tower of the town walls; when originally constructed in the 16th century there were seven towers.

Ponte Medieval  Igreja de Santo António

The Ponte Medieval and the Igreja de Santo António, and a fire which ruined my photo….

• Next follow the river bank south along the tree lined Avenida dos Plátanos (GPS 41.76648, -8.58612) to the Museu dos Terceiros.

• The Museu dos Terceiros was once a convent and the museum exhibits a wide selection of religious artefacts and art.

• Continue along the Avenida dos Plátanos to the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Guia church (GPS 41.76356, -8.58998)

• Cross the modern Ponte de Nossa Senhora da Guia bridge, which is busy but has great views over the town and river.

Rio Lima portugal

Ponte de Lima is surrounded by beautiful natural scenery

• Climb down from the road on the right banks which leads to the Festival Internacional de Jardins (May-Sep).

• The Clube Nautico rents canoes, kayaks or stand up paddle boards to splash along the river.

• Next to the river is the Caminho da Oliveirinha pathway and cycleway. This route is part of the national project to construct cycle paths (greenways) and is often signed as the Ecovia. Follow the Ecovia upstream which provides scenic views of Ponte de Lima.

• Take the obligatory photo of the Roman horse rider statue (GPS 41.76864, -8.587879). In Roman times the Rio Lima was considered to be the mythological Lethe River (the river which caused forgetfulness and lead to oblivion). The two sets of statues depict the general who has crossed the river (on horseback) forcing his reluctant troops on the opposite banks to cross the dreaded waters.

River Lima Rio Roman staute Ponte de Lima

The Roman general on his horse after crossing the Lethe River (Rio Lima)

• Visit the Igreja de Santo António (GPS 41.769516, -8.587877) and the Capela do Anjo da Guarda (GPS: 41.77000, -8.58751).

• Explore the carefully manicured gardens of the Parque do Arnado (GPS: 41.77034, -8.58880), with its water features shaded pathways and numerous flowering bushes. The Arnado park are the best permanent gardens in Ponte de Lima.

• Time for the toy museum, the Museu do Brinquedo Portuguese (GPS 41.76979, -8.58919). This museum details the history and progression of Portuguese toys dating from nineteenth century up until the mid-1980s, and the 2,000 exhibits includes cars, dolls, baby toys.

toy museum  Ponte de Lima

The toy museum is in a building which is difficult to miss…

• Cross the Ponte Romana (Roman bridge), and the Ponte Medieval (Medieval bridge) for the return walk back into Ponte de Lima. There are actually two bridges which are connected to form a single pedestrianised walkway. During the Roman era the river flowed further to the north (closer to the Igreja de Santo António) and the original Roman bridge today just spans a field and is partial buried. The Ponte Medieval dates from the 14th century and is the bridge that visitors use to cross the Rio Lima.

Ponte Medieval bridge Ponte de Lima

This is the Ponte Medieval bridge

• The end of the bridge leads into the pretty Largo de Camões (GPS: 41.76861, -8.58427). At the centre of this square is the Chafariz Fonte Publica fountain.

• End the day with an insight into the history and production of Vinho Verde at the Centro de Interpretação e Promoção do Vinho Verde (41.76779, -8.58276). This centre focuses on the promotion of the wine and ends a tour with a glass of wine to taste. More information can be found on their website:


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• The only remaining sight is to see is the Centro De Interpretação De História Militar museum, which is housed in the Paço do Marquês. Even if a military museum is not your thing the building is fascinating and the grounds and expertly maintained.

• That concludes the tour of Ponte de Lima, and it is just a short walk back to the main bus stop (GPS: 41.766547, -8.58196) for the ride back to your hotel destination.



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The Best Guide to Ponte de Lima


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Porto is a great alternative holiday destination, see why!

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Porto is a great alternative holiday destination, see why!

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2 days is the ideal length
to discover Porto