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Guide to Minho Self Catering Holidays

The Minho and Douro valleys on the north-west tip of Portugal are also known as the Costa Verde and are the oldest region of this proud and traditional country. Set in a landscape of rolling green hills and valleys striped with old vineyards, this is an area steeped in history. Ancient churches, monasteries and magnificent cathedrals all demonstrate a long spiritual heritage. Interesting Roman and medieval architecture remains largely untouched by modern tourism in many of the ancient towns. Beautiful unspoilt beaches are scattered along the coastline, and retain their natural beauty. Porto is the north’s most important city and gave its name to the Portugal’s famous fortified wine.

The beautiful countryside of Northern Portugal is perfect for exploring on foot, by car or by bike. Mountain biking is a very popular pastime – you can hire bikes to explore the cycling routes along the Minho valley where some of the most interesting villages are often inaccessible by car.

Some 20km inland from the coast is the ancient town of Barcelos which is arguably one of the prettiest resorts in Portugal. The walled centre is a maze of medieval streets overlooking the river Càvado, with a striking Baroque church on the main square.

Guimarães is known as Portugal’s birthplace, with medieval castle and walls, houses a magnificently well-preserved historic centre.

Take a cruise along the Douro River from Porto and discover the valleys lined with terraced vineyards that produce the famous port wine, made nowhere else in the world. In the Vila Nova da Gaia district across the river from the city, reached via the spectacular two-tiered Dom Luis bridge, you can take a tour of one of the port-producing lodges and sample Portugal’s legendary port wine.
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