Ponte de Lima
This is undoubtedly the most important town in the area, beautifully situated on the south bank of the river where its ancient Roman bridge marked the first crossing point of the river inland from Viana do Castelo thus contributing to its development as a trading centre. Ponte de Lima is 25 km. east of Viana do Castelo. The town is named after the bridge which crosses the River Lima into the town. This historical bridge has 24 arches of which four, on the south bank, are the original roman construction.
The town is overlooked by watch towers, built in the fourteenth century which, together with the whitewashed houses make it an attractive town. Some women still go down to the river to wash their clothes and hang them out on the river banks to dry.
Today the bridge is pedestrianised with a new modern bridge a kilometre or so downstream. The Old centre of Ponte de Lima and the area around the river bank is still a delight where its shops display their smoked hams and sausages hanging outside and the large fortnightly market (Mondays) takes over the 'beach' area.
There are plenty of good, inexpensive cafes and restaurants around the main square, the river and the market. Ponte de Lima´s speciality is a dish called 'Arroz de Cabidela', a chicken dish with rice cooked in the blood of the chicken! It is not as bad as it sounds and the locals are justifiably proud of it - Give it a try! There is also an abundance of fish dishes along with local market produce. Since 1125 a traditional market has been held on the sands at the bank of the river Lima on alternate Mondays. Here you can buy embroided linen, tin lamps, carved wooden furniture, blankets rugs and wickerwork, all of which is made locally. The local co-operative produces one of the best 'Vinho Verde' wines.
The Minho region is probably the most stunningly beautiful part of Portugal, lush green valleys, clean rivers and tree clad mountains. Already renowned for its excellent cuisine and young ‘green’ wines, the peace and tranquility of its friendly villages and villagers, its clean sandy Atlantic beaches, and beautiful views at every turn, - it is an area that just begs to be explored. There is also the riverside and artistic town of Vila Nova de Cerveira
You can play golf, cycling is popular, go horse riding, canoe on one of the many rivers, go sailing and swimming, or explore one of the many ancient local towns.
Ponte de Lima GC,is set in part of a bucolic scenery of mountains, with vineyards and fruit gardens,and is a setting typical of the Minho region.
Text provided by the Portuguese Tourist Office
Located on the out skirts of Madalena hill, Ponte de Lima course is a hillside course with exceptional views, covering six kilometres adorned with luxurious vegetation and well restored, historical mansions, which supply the infrastructure for golfing activity.
The first nine holes are placed amongst age old trees (chestnut trees, cork and English oaks), leading through a ravine to Quinta da Anquiao, where holes number 1, 2, 8, and 9 provide glorious views over the Lima Valley and to Viana do Castelo; a town some 20 kilometres away.
This course is featured in an article on the site of travelgolf.com written by their staffwriter, Carla Harvey, which is reproduced below :
The layout is varied and interesting and involves playing across a hillside. The first nine holes offers exceptional views from the top on Holes 2 and 8. Number 3 may be Portugal’s longest hole; if not, it seems so - It is 622 metres long, flanked by forest and with a dogleg right. Players have an easier, flatter time of it on the second nine, especially if they’ve taken advantage of the club restaurant and stopped for lunch and recuperation. The restaurant is lively and very popular with local business people as well as golfers.
Ponte de Lima provides Strokesavers free which keeps players in a good mood. Further (also free) advice from the Course Director is to keep your driver out of play during the first nine. “The course requires you to think,” he added.
The single most striking aspect of Ponte de Lima is its natural features. Trees, mountains, vineyards and flowers typify the Minho region and are more integral to this particular course than to any other in the area. Scots engineer Iain MacPherson was insistent that no one meddle with nature. Arguments (there were many) were met with adamant refusal to compromise. We are indebted to him for his intractability, for the golf course is far better as a result of it."