Surfing & Kitesurfing in Minho
Praia do Cabedelo is an excellent kitesurfing destination, with consistent on-shore wind year-round. It’s a great teaching site, but also fun for intermediate surfers thanks to the lagoon-like conditions created by the southern headland and harbour breakwater, which is a full kilometre north. There’s good kiting and some traditional surfing at Esposende 17km south of Cabedelo, but conditions are iffy.
Among the fine beaches strung north along the 25km of coast between Viana do Castelo and Caminha, Afife has the best surf breaks, with waves topping out at 2m during peak swells. Four daily regional trains (€1.45, 12 minutes) make their way up the coast to Afife from Viana. Advanced kitesurfers will want to drive a bit further north to Moledo, where the wind and waves are at their fiercest and finest.
For tips and gear rental, stop by Viana Locals at Praia do Cabedelo.
Trending Now: the Caminho Português
Every year a growing number of adventurers sling on their backpacks and hit the trail for Santiago de Compostela. According to the Confraternity of St James, who keeps statistics on this stuff, the number of pilgrims in 2017 surpassed 300,000 for the first time in history.
So what's even hotter than the Camino de Santiago? The Caminho Português! Portugal's version of the age-old pilgrimage route has more than doubled in popularity in just four years, making it second only to the iconic Camino Francés.
Why the sudden popularity? First, the walk from Porto to Santiago is short – only two weeks and 250km – putting it within reach of almost anybody in reasonably good physical shape. Second – as the whole world seems to be discovering – Portugal is a wonderful country, and one where your euro still goes further than in the rest of Europe.
Ready to walk it yourself? There are two main routes, both starting in Porto and passing through the Minho.
- the traditional Caminho Português, which stays inland, with stops in Arcos, Barcelos, Balugães, Ponte de Lima, Cossourado and Valença do Minho before entering Spain.
- the Caminho da Costa, which follows the coast, with overnights in Vila do Conde, Esposende, Viana do Castelo, VP Ancora and Caminha.
For full details of each itinerary, including maps, see www.caminhoportosantiago.com.
Meanwhile, here are a few pilgrim-friendly places we can recommend along the way:
Quinta do Convento da Franqueira A splurge-worthy converted convent in gorgeous countryside near Barcelos, with gracious English-speaking owners.
Albergue de Peregrinos Santa Luzia Brand-new pilgrim's hostel opened in 2018 atop Viana do Castelo's famous Monte de Santa Luzia.
Dona Emília Luminous high-ceilinged townhouse with panoramic views over Viana do Castelo's gorgeous main square.
Mercearia da Vila Cozy B&B in the heart of Ponte de Lima's medieval centre.
Loja Interativa de Turismo Ponte de Lima's tourist office has lots of helpful advice for walkers, and sells great Moleskine-like notebooks emblazoned with the Caminho Português scallop-shell logo (€1.50).
Residencial Portas do Sol Fab budget option within the 17th-century fortress walls at Valença do Minho.
Fronteira Gastrobar Last stop in Portugal! Enjoy a good-value pilgrim's lunch on the sunny terrace before crossing the bridge into Spain.