When Mary-Jo Manzanares offered me the chance to do a podcast with her about Portugal, it didn’t take me long to decide which part of the country to focus on. I’ve spent a lot of time exploring the Minho region of northern Portugal and have become a huge fan.
Mary-Jo’s Where Else to Go podcast series is all about encouraging travellers to venture beyond the main tourist hotspots when they visit a country. She’s already been to Lisbon, Porto and the Douro Valley and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of convincing her to come back to Portugal so that she can explore the Minho region.
After all, what’s not to love about an area that’s close to both Porto and Vigo airports and encompasses beautiful beaches, the rugged mountains of the Serra d’Arga and Peneda-Gerês National Park, wide rivers, waterfalls and lakes, unspoilt countryside and traditional villages?
Combine these gorgeous landscapes with cities like the World Heritage site of Guimarães, the fascinating city of Braga, the charming coastal cities of Viana do Castelo and Caminha, the riverside towns of Vila Nova de Cerveira, Valença and Melgaço, cockerel-filled Barcelos and my all-time favourite, Ponte de Lima and you’re on to a winner.
You can visit some of these towns on this 3-day private tour of the Minho’s historical towns. Or customise it to suit your interests and availability.
Of course, the conversation inevitably turned to wine since the Minho is almost synonymous with vinho verde. If you listen to the podcast (below), you’ll notice I couldn’t remember the name of the grape which is typically used in the area around Ponte de Lima – it’s Loureiro.
We also talked about typical food, including broa (cornbread) and the steaks from cows like this:
Mary-Jo was curious about other things to see and do in the Minho region, so I told her about the Celtic settlements and Roman ruins, of which there are plenty. There are even several neolithic monuments in this region, which just goes to show what a long and varied history it has.
Have I piqued your curiosity? In that case, listen to the podcast:
You can also download the podcast on iTunes and Google Play – if you do, it would be great if you could leave a review. Otherwise, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
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