Ponte da Barca, a small and truly charming Portuguese town sits on the banks of the Lima River and at the foot of Peneda-Geres National Park. It’s part of the green and lush Alto Minho region as well as the famous Vinho Verde wine region in Portugal. In spring 2022, Ponte da Barca was our temporary home for 6 weeks and we found it as a great starting point for discovering the northern part of the country. Vamos, let’s go on a walk and discover the best things to do in Ponte da Barca, Portugal.
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Ponte Da Barca, Portugal – Hidden gem in Alto Minho region
Interesting fact. Ponte da Barca (literally “Bridge of the Boat”) comes after the boat (barca) which people used to transport things from one side of the Lima River to the other before they built the bridge.
Ponte da Barca Bridge
The bridge without a doubt is the town’s landmark. This iconic stone medieval bridge that crosses the Lima River is from the 15th century. Since then it was restored twice in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its look is based on an even more famous bridge, Ponte Romana from Ponte de Lima. Walk across the bridge as stunning, idyllic views are available from it. Just stop for a moment and enjoy them.
Ponte da Barca Old Town
Another great thing to do in Ponte da Barca is to stroll among its Old Town streets, its historical center. There you’ll find points of interest like Igreja de São João Baptista, Igreja da Misericordia, Jardim dos Poetas with pillory, or Town Hall. Let’s go and take a closer look.
Igreja Matriz Ponte Da Barca
Igreja Matriz Ponte Da Barca, or Igreja de São Joao Baptista is a town parish church from the 16th century. Its present Baroque look is due to the restoration that took place in the 18th century. The interior of the church is quite rich and has one nave with six lateral chapels. Also, don’t forget to take a look at the impressive bell tower.
Igreja da Misericordia de Ponte Da Barca
Igreja da Misericordia is another Ponte da Barca church, located just a few steps from Igreja Matriz Ponte Da Barca. It was built in the 16th century in the Mannerist style. Later it was restored in the 19th century in a more Rococo style. We didn’t have a chance to see the interior, but from what we’ve read it’s worth taking a look at the “Last Supper” painting at the main altarpiece and the polychrome tiles that adorn the walls to half of their height.
Jardim dos Poetas
Jardim dos Poetas (eng. Garden of the Poets) is located near Ponte da Barca bridge. Although we think it has nothing to do with a real garden, it’s still a nice place to sit and relax while enjoying the views. Jardim dos Poetas is dedicated to Diogo Bernades and Agostinho da Cruz, two locally-born brothers, and poets from the 16th century.
On the square, you’ll also find the old, 18th-century market (Mercado Pombalino de Ponte da Barca) that served as a shelter to merchants. There is also a pillory from the 16th century just beside it.
Spend some time by the Lima River
One of the best things to do in Ponte da Barca is just to spend some relaxing time by the Lima River. Walking, doing sports, having a picnic, spending time with friends, reading books, or even sunbathing on warmer days on its beach (Praia Fluvial de Ponte da Barca)… everyone will find something for themselves in these lovely green surroundings. During our time in Ponte da Barca, we loved to come there for dinner and to spend some quiet time in nature.
Festival of St. Bartholomew in Ponte da Barca
Every year in August, from 19-24th, Ponte da Barca celebrates its municipal festivity – the religious festival of St. Bartholomew. If you visit during that time you’ll experience activities like folk dances, singing, fairs, games, and contests, you’ll try traditional regional cuisine and will see a parade on the 23rd. The last day is dedicated to the religious festivities in honor of St. Bartholomew, when a procession takes place.
Adega Ponte Da Barca Winery
Visiting Adega Ponte Da Barca winery is one more thing to do in Ponte da Barca Portugal. You can visit and buy some Vinho Verde only, or take part in one of the offered tours during which you will get to know the secrets of wine production, visit vineyards, or take part in wine tasting. For more details visit the Adega Ponte Da Barca website. Remember that you need to book the tour in advance via email, also available on the website.
Ponte Da Barca, Portugal – Summary
Ponte da Barca is a small, but really charming town in the north of Portugal. Beautiful landscapes, many green areas, chilled vibe, charming old town, delicious food, and Vinho Verde… All of this, and more, can be found there. It’s also a perfect home base for discovering the area. We loved our time in Ponte Da Barca and hope you’ll too!
How to get to Ponte Da Barca, Portugal?
Where to park in Ponte Da Barca?
Airports near Ponte Da Barca
The closest airport to Ponte Da Barca in Portugal is located in Porto (100km away). Other ones are located in Spain, in Vigo (80km away) and Santiago de Compostela (180km away). From each airport, you can get to Ponte Da Barca by bus To check the connections that interest you please visit rome2rio.com website.
To Ponte Da Barca by bus
You can quite easily get to Ponte Da Barca by bus. For example, the journey from Porto will take about 1h50min (€6-10), from Viana do Castelo 2h (€5-15), and 20min from Ponte de Lima (€3-5). To learn more about bus connections that interest you visit rome2rio.com website.
To Ponte Da Barca by train
Unfortunately, you can’t reach Ponte Da Barca by train. But for example, you can take a train from Porto, Lisbon or even Albufeira to Viana do Castelo, and then take a bus from it to Ponte Da Barca. Here you can check out a map of Portugal train connections.
Restaurants, accommodations, and map
Check out various recommended places below.
Where to eat in Ponte da Barca?
Here are your best, high-rated options in Ponte da Barca:
Where to sleep in Ponte da Barca?
Recanto Tia São Magalhães
Recanto Tia São Magalhães is a charming holiday home located in Ponte da Barca, offering a comfortable and well-equipped stay for guests. With a balcony, garden, and free WiFi, guests can enjoy the peaceful surroundings and beautiful garden views. The fully equipped kitchen and barbecue area also make it a great choice for those who enjoy cooking and outdoor dining.
Hotel Os Poetas
Hotel Os Poetas is a charming boutique hotel located in the historic center of Ponte da Barca, Portugal. The hotel features beautifully decorated rooms, a cozy lounge area, and a terrace with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Guests can enjoy a daily continental breakfast and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout their stay.
FOZDOVEZ is a fantastic option for travelers looking for comfortable, air-conditioned apartments with fully-equipped kitchenettes. With an outdoor swimming pool and free WiFi, guests can enjoy their stay while taking in the beautiful surroundings. The property's terrace is perfect for relaxation, and it's conveniently located near popular attractions.
Hotel Fonte Velha
Hotel Fonte Velha is a charming, family-run hotel located in the heart of Ponte da Barca, Portugal. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, a beautiful garden, and a terrace with panoramic views of the Lima River. Guests can enjoy traditional Portuguese cuisine at the on-site restaurant, which serves local dishes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.
Casa Victória is a charming guest house located in the heart of Ponte da Barca, Portugal. The property features comfortable rooms with modern amenities, including air conditioning and free Wi-Fi. The guest house also offers a beautiful garden area for guests to relax and unwind.
Accommodations photos source: booking.com