Vigo (Spain) to Porto (Portugal) via Viana do Castelo & Braga

For airport / ferry / train information & links, please see Connections & Links

Vigo is in the province of Pontevedra and the largest city in North Western Spain, the region of Galicia, and 12th largest in Spain as a whole. It is best known for fishing, shipping and entertainment with a wealth of restaurants, bars, cafes and nightlife. The centre / waterfront of Galicia is 30 minutes drive from our villa / quinta, making it a very accessible place to relax with a seafood meal, tapas and wine. With its industrial zone Porriño just inland and to the south, Vigo is a very cosmopolitan and affluent city. Vigo's largest employer is PSA Peugeot Citroën, the car manufacturer, which has a plant producing around half a million vehicles per year. Vigo is also Europe's largest fishing port, has the world's largest fishing company (Pescanova) and is home to the European Fisheries Agency. Rua Principe and the side streets which run off it is the shopping centre of Vigo. Just outside Vigo and south are a series of white sandy beaches, the first being Samil Beach. Although Galicia's beaches are further away from us than those in Portugal, because the road connections with Spain are better, they take less time to get to. However, of course and as mentioned on our River Minho page, the river beach (praia fluvial) directly opposite our villa / quinta is the logical choice if you want to spend some time on sand with other families next to the water. Two trains a day

To the north of Vigo are Santiago de Compestela with one of the world's most beautiful cathedrals and A Coruna, the scene of a major Napoleonic battle of the so called Peninsula War in 1809 between the French and heavily outnumbered British (battle of La Coruna). Apart from the massive industrial and technology centre sprawl Porriño directly to the south, this area of Galicia is very remote. As you pass through Porriño, you come to the Rio Miño (Rio Minho) and Valenca Portugal.

From Valenca you can either drive west alongside the River Minho to Viana do Castelo, east to Moncao and our quinta villa, or south down to Porto via Braga. The road to Viana do Castelo from Valença is not very good as far as main and busy roads go. A new motorway is being built though right now which will link Viana as it is locally referred to with a northerly section of the main north south Portugal motorway, which should cut travelling times considerably; at this time, it takes nearly an hour to drive from Valença to Viana. Along this road though are some very interesting market towns such as Vila Nova de Cerveira, which has a new bridge across to Spain, and Caminha which has an old vehicle ferry service still operating to Spain. Just past these are the two exceptional Portuguese beach towns of Moledo and Ancora; the former has the best general beach (long, clean and white sand), the later a fishing harbour, small protected beach and exceptional fish restaurants. A local, somewhat antiquated train service but with some superb scenic views runs around the coast from Porto to Viana to Valenca to Vigo (train times). Although the Spanish service along the River Mino is even more breath taking (see connections and links).

Porto is the northern capital and about 45 minutes drive away from Valenca down the A3 / IP1 toll motorway via (just skirting) Braga, the religious capital of Portugal, which is not far from Guimarães, the cultural cradle of Portugal. Braga has a very cosmopolitan shopping centre, as does Porto which also has some of the finest and least expensive quality restaurant food in Portugal.

The entire area from Porto to Vigo has a very low density of foreign expatriates living in it compared with Lisbon, the Algarve and Alentejo in Portugal / the "Costas" in Spain.

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