Ponte de Lima, the oldest Portuguese village
Ponte de Lima is the oldest Portuguese village and a natural beauty paradise, famed for vinho verde, a unique and refreshing regional wine.
On the shores of the Lima River there is to be found the oldest Portuguese village that is so proud of this title that refused to became a city. Nestled in the heart of the Lima Valley, famed for its unique refreshing wine called vinho verde, Ponte de Lima received its charter by the hands of Queen Theresa, in 1125.
Ponte de Lima, a singular place
However, the Romans already inhabited the region and built the first bridge over the Lima River, which remains are to be seen on the river’s right bank. According to the legend the Romans amazed by the beauty of the landscape thought that the Lima River was the mythical river Lethe that was supposed to steel the memory of all who swam across it. The Romans were responsible for the construction of the first bridge – parts of it are still standing – and the monument acquired a huge importance because it was the only safe way to cross the Lima River. Therefore the village was named after its bridge as Ponte de Lima means Bridge over the Lima. Centuries later the Roman bridge was replaced by the outstanding medieval bridge that is Ponte de Lima icon, attracting tourists from all over the world.
The geo-strategic relevance of Ponte de Lima was reinforced during Pedro I reign in the XIV century, when the king ordered the construction of the village walls, originating a medieval town surrounded by several walls, nine towers and six gates. Two of these towers remain intact and several traces of the old medieval structure are also to be seen.
During the XVIII century Ponte de Lima prospered with agriculture and vineyards, thus leading to its urban growth. Imposing manor houses with magnificent gothic, baroque and neoclassic façades added more beauty to an already astonishing natural landscape.
Offering several Rural Tourism facilities, Ponte de Lima is famed for the hospitality of its people, for the good food, especially Arroz de Sarrabulho, a typical dish of rice and different types of meat and smoked sausages, and the vinho verde.