Things to do
This small town retains its ancient charm, making it one of Portugal’s most exclusive retreats. Legend has it when the Romans first arrived they were convinced it was the mythical Lethe – a river so beautiful it would wipe the memories of those who crossed it. They stayed and eventually constructed a bridge, which was replaced in the 14th century and still stands today.
The Vaca das Cordas (Cow of the Ropes) festival takes place in early June each year, preserving a pre-Christian tradition brought by the Phoenicians. Watch as the citizens of Ponte de Lima set a bull loose in the streets, followed by a procession where flowers are scattered throughout the town. Visit in mid-September for Feiras Novas – a huge festival that draws visitors from all over Portugal.
Ponte de Lima is well known for its many markets. As well as the municipal market supplying residents with fresh produce each Monday, there’s also a fortnightly tented affair on the river banks. Why not wander the boutique arts & crafts and antiques markets lining the path to the medieval bridge.