Ponte de Lima, founded in 1125, is known as Portugal’s “oldest town”, but it wins that distinction on somewhat of a technicality… it is the oldest town because it has not grown enough to be a city! Plenty of old cities were older towns than Ponte de Lima when they were in fact old towns. But it doesn’t really matter; Ponte de Lima is still, in its own right, one of the most beautiful little spots in Portugal. It has a fantastic bridge spanning the Lima river (hence its name: Ponte (bridge) de Lima), and a beautiful church on the opposite bank that really makes for a great view from a little cafe in the waterfront plaza.
According to Wikipedia, Ponte de Lima has a population of only 2,800, although the municipality of Ponte de Lima has more than 44,000 inhabitants. It is located far in the north of Portugal, towards the west, and close to the northern border with Spain.
A view of the town of Ponte de Lima as I walked back across the bridge after visiting the church.
In the main plaza in Ponte de Lima.
Guimarães is, in my opinion, one of Portugal’s most beautiful cities, but today I am going to post pictures not of Guimarães, but of the Penha mountain that overlooks it. These pictures were taken around January of 2010, when there was an unusual amount of snow on the mountain top (it had even snowed in Oporto that month!).
O Monte da Penha, towering over the city of Guimaraes. You can already see the snow on top!
The hotel that sits at the top of the Penha mountain is on the right. It has stunning views of the city below!
The church that sits atop the Monte da Penha.
It was far colder than what I was used to!
A small chapel on top of the Monte da Penha, tucked away behind the large boulders that define the mountaintop landscape.
A view of Guimaraes from behind the church at the top of the Monte da Penha.
Some of the large boulders that cover the Monte da Penha.