About Ponte de Lima
Ponte de Lima is a market town on the south bank of the Lima River facing a magnificent Roman bridge with low arches. Its setting, together with a laid-back atmosphere makes it one of the loveliest small towns in Portugal.
It was founded on the site of a Celtic settlement and developed by the Romans, who believed the Lima was the Lethe, the mythical River of Oblivion (visitors who crossed it would forget everything and stay forever).
What to do in Ponte de Lima
Across the river is the 15th century Saint Anthony Convent with an interesting Manueline portal, and adjacent to it stands the 18th century São Francisco Church housing a museum of sacred art.
The old streets in the center are lined with elegant buildings and are a delight to wander in, particularly on market days, every other Monday. Among the most distinguishing buildings are the 14th century Parish Church and Palácio do Marquês, a 15th-century fortress-palace now functioning as the Town Hall.
In the main square, Largo de Camões, is an 18th century fountain and several pleasant cafes with outside tables.
In and around Ponte de Lima are some great manor houses or solares, several of which date from the 16th century and are now guesthouses. Staying at one of them is reason enough to visit Ponte de Lima.
What to eat in Ponte de Lima
The most typical dish of Ponte de Lima is called Arroz de Sarrabulho, and it is rice mixed with a variety of meats (beef, chicken, pork) and pork blood. The effect was simply of rice that had been cooked in some kind of very savoury broth, and highly seasoned with ground cumin. To accompany the rice, you can also order a platter of various meats and sausages, including morcela (blood sausage), chouriço (smoked cured pork sausage), alheiras (another type of sausage typical of the north and usually not made of pork), and chunks of pork and tripe.