Begin on the border where the river Minho starts on a 300 kilometre long stretch to the ocean at Caminha. Visit the small port of Vila Praia de Âncora, its historic centre and the fortress ruins in mid-river at Caminha before the D. Dinis castle pousada in Vila Nova de Cerveira.
In Viana do Castelo, on the mouth of the river Lima, climb the Santa Luzia hill to see the basilica, with unforgettable views out over city and sea. The historic centre, Museum and Matrix Church are other good reasons to drop in on this cheerful and outgoing city.
Get to know Ponte de Lima, a town carved from granite with its famous Roman bridge of 15 ogival arches. Here, take a stroll along the riverside with magnificent views up the valley lined with poplars and willows. Spend the night here and choose from a fantastic range of converted manor houses and noble residences now serving as romantic pousadas and hotels.
Now, let us hop over to the Cávado river. Begin in Barcelos, one of the defining Minho cities. An ancient city, the historic centre retains a strongly medieval flavour. The Pinheiros Manor House and the House of Condestável provide a particular dignity to a stroll around this city which must include a visit to the churches of Bom Jesus da Cruz and Nossa Senhora do Terço. On Thursdays, Barcelos becomes home to the largest handicrafts fair in the country.
Further inland, Braga is one of the most beautiful of Portugal’s cities. Climb the monumental staircase of the Sanctuary of Bom Jesus and be sure to include a visit to the Sé Treasure Exhibition and the valuable collection of the Palace of Biscaínhos Museum.