Ponte da Barca

Patron: S. João Baptista.
Population: 12.978 (INE 2009)
Economy: Agriculture, timber transformation, construction, textile industry and bakery.
Fairs: every fortnight on Wednesday, Honey Fair (December 22 ) and Linen Fair (August 22).
Traditional festivities: S. Bartolomeu (August 19 to 24), S. António (June 12), S. João (June 24), and Senhora da Conceição (December 8).
Architectural patrimony and tourism: medieval bridge over the Lima river, Mother Church, Misericórdia Church, Chapel Nossa Senhora da Lapa, Chapel S. Bartolomeu and Santo António, Pillory, old City Hall, old market, House of Faria, House of Santo António, House of Rua de S. Bartolomeu, House of Lacerdas, House of Fonte Velha, House of Maria Lopes da Costa, House of Prova de Baixo and House of Prova de Cima.
Associations: Sports Association of Ponte da Barca, Hunting and Fishing Association, Cultural Centre Frei Agostinho da Cruz e Diogo Bernardes, Firemen Bombeiros Voluntários of Ponte da Barca, Rancho Folclórico e Etnográfico of Ponte da Barca.

The county of Ponte da Barca is one of the oldest of Portugal, having its charter been issued by the king D. Manuel I in 1513. It confronts North with the county of Arcos de Valdevez, East with Spain, South with Terras de Bouro and Vila Verde county and West with Ponte de Lima county.

There are many places worthy of visiting in Ponte da Barca. Not far from the town centre, on the riverbank of the Lima, we found the hamlet of Ermelo and their unique tiny and sweet oranges, a cluster of dark houses grouped around the Roman Benedictine monastery and the stone granaries of Soajo. The mountain Serra Amarela and the river basin of Cabril with the most violent ravine of the entire Minho admist the ancient forest, Lindoso, Chão da Fonte, Côto do Muro, the Garden of the Poets, the river beach and the banks of the river Lima and Vade, the Choupal, the hill of Santa Rita the stem covered corral of the hamlet of Ermida, the grazing fields of Bilhares, domain of the wild and free horses garranos and of the almost extinct wolf of the Gerês, the sightseeing of the church bell tower of Germil, the chapel of Pegadinha and the view from the Livramento castle, the sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Barral, visited either by Marian cult followers or just to admire the set of massive quartz crystals, both outside or in the chapel and its crypt, the library or museum – those are only some references, where one has to elevate the gates to the National Park Peneda-Gerês.

Ponte da Barca is a county of contrast: on one hand, we have the dam of Alto Lindoso (one of the biggest of the Iberian Peninsula), whose magnitude contrast with the old one built in 1905 (one of the oldest of Portugal); on the other hand we have the bucolic stream of the river Froufe, crystal clear water running violently in constant spectacular waterfalls between the rude weight of the granite.

Ponte da Barca is a town with many attractions for the tourists: the fishing of lamprey, hunting grounds, water sports, river beach, good restaurants, handcraft artists, folklore and an exquisite gastronomy – presunto (smoked ham) and corn bread, papas de sarrabulho (chicken bloood rice), marinated goat of Germil, lamprey, kid goat from Boivães and the selected white wine or the famous red and white wine Terras da Nóbrega of the local wine cellar Adega Cooperativa de Ponte da Barca. All this comes with the traditional welcoming warmth of the people, making Ponte da Barca an unfolded paradise and for those that are still not familiar with the local festivities of S. Bartolomeu (August 19-24) have on those days a special opportunity to be embraced by a joyful place, with jolly people singing the rhymes of Manuel Parada, local poet, in the town that is the birth place of Ferdinand Magellan, the circumnavigator.