Ponte Da Barca, Portugal – Hidden Gem In Alto Minho Region

Ponte da Barca is a small and charming North Portuguese town that sits in a very scenic place on the banks of the Lima River near Peneda-Geres National Park. Also, it’s part of the famous Vinho Verde wine region! The town’s name, which literally means “Bridge of the Boat”, comes after the boat (barca) which people used to transport things from one side of the river to the other before they built the bridge (ponte). Vamos, let us take you on a walk and show you great things to do in Ponte da Barca, Portugal.

Ponte Da Barca, Portugal - Hidden Gem in Alto Minho region
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Ponte da Barca, Portugal FAQ

Where is Ponte da Barca located?

Ponte da Barca is located in Northern Portugal in the Alto Minho region in Viana do Castelo district. It sits on the banks of the Lima River and lies at the foot of the country’s only National Park – Peneda-Geres. Ponte da Barca is a great starting point to explore other places in the area, like Viana do Castelo, Guimaraes, Ponte de Lima, Caminha, or Porto.

Is Ponte da Barca worth a visit?

Of course! Ponte da Barca is one of the most pleasant towns in the Alto Minho region. Even though you won’t find dozens of thrilling things to do there, you shouldn’t skip it while in the area. In our opinion, it’s one of the best places to visit in North Portugal. A small yet charming old town and peaceful surroundings full of natural beauty are waiting for you there. Oh, and of course a lot of bottles of Vinho Verde wine!

Jardim dos Poetas, Garden of the Poets, in Ponte da Barca in Portugal

Things to do in Ponte Da Barca, Portugal

Ponte da Barca Bridge 

Ponte da Barca Bridge is without a doubt the town’s landmark. This iconic stone medieval bridge crosses the Lima River and dates back to 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 in Ponte de Lima. Be sure to walk across the bridge as stunning, idyllic views are waiting for you.

Ponte da Barca Bridge, Alto Minho, Portugal

Ponte da Barca Old Town

Another great thing to do in Ponte da Barca is to stroll among its Old Town streets, the historical center. There you’ll find points of interest like Igreja de São João Baptista, Igreja da Misericórdia, Jardim dos Poetas with pillory, or Town Hall. Let’s go and take a closer look.

Things to do in Ponte da Barca, Portugal - Explore Old Town Streets
Ponte da Barca, Portugal - Old Town Streets
Ponte da Barca, Portugal - Old Town Streets

Ponte da Barca Parish Church

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 Church

Igreja da Misericórdia is another church in Ponte da Barca. It’s located just a few steps from Igreja Matriz Ponte Da Barca. It was built in the 16th century in the Mannerist style, and later 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.

Igreja Matriz Ponte Da Barca, Igreja de São Joao Baptista
Igreja Matriz Ponte Da Barca
Igreja da Misericordia de Ponte Da Barca
Igreja da Misericordia de Ponte Da Barca

Garden of the Poets

Garden of the Poets (pt. Jardim dos Poetas) 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.

Discover Ponte Da Barca, Portugal - Hidden Gem In Alto Minho Region

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. 

Spend some time by the Lima River in Ponte da Barca
Things to do in Ponte da Barca - Spend some time by the Lima River

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 an interesting thing to do in Ponte da Barca. 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. 

Building in Old Town of Ponte da Barca Portugal
Ponte da Barca Portugal Old Town streets with Igreja Matriz
Historic centre of Ponte da Barca Portugal

How to get to Ponte Da Barca, Portugal?

Ponte da Barca is located about 20km from Ponte de Lima, 100km from Porto, 45km from Braga, and 50km from Viana do Castelo. The most convenient way to get to Ponte da Barca is by car or by bus. 

Where to park in Ponte Da Barca?

You can leave your car in this parking lot right next to the Ponte da Barca Bridge, or in this one, located just a few steps further. Both are free.

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, a trip from Porto will take about 1h50min (€7-11), 1h from Viana do Castelo (€7-14), and 40min from Ponte de Lima (€5-8). 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 or taxi from it to Ponte da Barca. Here you can check out a map of Portugal train connections. For great train ticket deals visit the Trainline website.

To Ponte da Barca by taxi

The most expensive option but also available from almost every place you might be nearby Ponte da Barca. For example, a trip from Ponte de Lima will take about 15min (€25-30), 35min from Braga (€40-55) and 30min from Viana do Castelo (€50-65). To learn more about taxi connections that interest you visit rome2rio.com website.

Camping Ponte da Barca

If you’re traveling by camper, places like Lima Escape Camping & Glamping, or Parque de Campismo de Aboim da Nóbrega might interest you. They are located near Ponte da Barca. We also saw campers staying in a parking lot right next to the Ponte da Barca Bridge.

Views over Peneda-Geres National Park from Ponte da Barca
Views from around where we stayed in Ponte da Barca – Recanto Tia São Magalhães.

Things to do in Ponte da Barca, Portugal – Summing up

All right, that’s it about Ponte da Barca. Not that big but very charming and absolutely worth the visit. Beautiful landscapes, many green and peaceful areas, chilled vibe, charming old town, delicious food, and Vinho Verde… All of this can be found there. We loved our time in Ponte da Barca and hope that thanks to this post you’ll get the most out of your time there too. Happy travels!

Our opinion about Ponte da Barca

During our digital nomads #season1, Ponte da Barca was our temporary home for 6 weeks and we enjoyed living there. After bustling and dry Algarve, spending time in a peaceful lush green area was a delight. We lived there from April to mid-May and during that time both the town and the whole Alto Minho region were still quite sleepy without many visitors. 

We think Ponte da Barca is a very pleasant place – we enjoyed strolling through its old town streets, relaxing on Lima River banks, or eating dinners there. In mid-May, we were also sunbathing there! Nothing really to complain about! We also found Ponte da Barca a great starting point for all our trips in Alto Minho – it’s located in a great spot. Now it’s your turn to discover its Northern Portugal charm, beauty, and secrets. Enjoy!

Happy Little Traveler opinion about Ponte da Barca in Alto Minho, Portugal

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 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.

FOZDOVEZ in Ponte da Barca


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.

Casa Victória in Ponte da Barca

Casa Victória

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

Ponte da Barca, Portugal - Map of places

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Ponte Da Barca, Portugal - Hidden Gem In Alto Minho Region

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