In addition to the natural parks which can be found in the Northern interior region of Portugal, the coast will also surprise you by its beautiful landscape, where the mountain ranges, plateaus and valleys are joined with a neverending sea. We speak of the Natural Park of the Northern Coast, which occupies the entire coastline between the river Neiva and the city of Apulia, in the municipality of Esposende.
Adventures at the Sea
The more adventurous ones will like to know that this is one of the most popular places for water sports like windsurfing and kite surfing, as the beaches of Ofir, Esposende and Apúlia have a stronger wind than anywhere else in the country. You will also find many schools teaching the practice of these sports.
If you prefer to take a dip, this is one of the most important beach resorts in the North. You will also be able to find quieter beaches with transparent waters, like Belinho or Rio dos Moinhos. The main rivers and streams of the park are the Neiva and Cávado, where you can swim or practice water sports. The large estuary of the Cávado river, on the other hand, is often used for canoeing.
Stories and traditions in land
The areas of greatest biodiversity in the Natural Park of the Northern Coast start at the estuaries of the rivers Cávado and Neiva. Here you will find lamprey, shad and eel. It is also possible to observe birds as well as wild ducks and grey herons.
The Ofir forest area is the perfect place to enjoy the local flora. After you have rested, cross the metal bridge in Fão and go to Esposende, more precisely to the village of Vila Chã, to visit the Fort of São Lourenço.
Festivals and popular processions are an important legacy in the region. The best known is the São Bartolomeu do Mar festival. Every year, on August 24th, thousands of people visit the site and take a "holy bath", ritual in which children are immersed in sea water, to get rid of all their fears.