The Minho delivers world-class natural beauty with a knowing smile. Here are lush river valleys, sparkling beaches and granite peaks patrolled by locals – who, whether they are charging 2m waves along the Costa Verde or shepherding their flock into high mountain meadows, seem particularly in tune with their homeland. This is, after all, the birthplace of the Portuguese kingdom, and it would be hard to find better-preserved landmarks than those lit up and on display in the Minho’s gorgeous old cities.
Then there’s the bold, sharp and fruity vinho verde to consider. This young wine is fashioned from the fruit of kilometres of vineyards that wind along rivers, over foothills and into Minho mountain villages. The crops are eventually crushed and bottled in community adegas (wineries), giving each destination its own flavour. Of course, if you sip enough along the way, they may all blend into one delicious memory.