The Costa Verde is the name of the tourist area covering the districts of the Minho and most of the Douro Litoral. It stretches north from the City of Porto to the Spanish border which is a limited distance north of Viana do Castelo. It is an area highly populated with a large percentage of younger people. Inland, there are several historic and interesting cities, towns and villages that will fascinate the passing tourist. Particularly important are the tow other towns of Braga and Guimarães.
This area is the ancient beginnings of what today is known as the country of Portugal. The first town Braga is renown for its many imposing buildings and having been the original capital of the district during the time when the Peninsular was occupied by the Swevian tribe from the north of Europe. In this town there are some wonderful examples of medieval buildings together with its formidable castle.
The second town Guimarães has retained its many medieval buildings and its castle is imposing. The city was considered the capital of the district of Portucale after the tribes had been driven away.
In 1139 Portugal's first King, Afonso Henriques, declared in the cathedral in this town of his intention to conquer the rights to a kingdom and convert and later enlarge the district known as Portucale into a Kingdom (Portugal) over which he would hence forth rule.
A very popular area is the Parque da Penada Gerêz, a nature reserve of charming beauty in the north-east corner on the border with Spain. here, a visitor may encounter many forms of wild life in their natural inhabitation and various species of plants and trees. Some of these species are unique to the Iberian Peninsular. An ideal destination for nature lovers and walkers.
The City of Porto inhabitants have through history suffered considerably from the result of either Royal fights between brothers or from invasion by foreign troops or open rebellion against their rulers. However, they have always struggled onwards with noticeable determination and the present immediate surroundings today demonstrate an industrially dynamic area with many diversified industries.
This productivity gives the city the bustle and busy feeling that is so noticeable to the visitor. It is impressive to note the close co-operation that these industries have with the northern academic world and its associations. The fruit of this very positive attitude is still to be fully reaped, but already the improvement in the quality of products and the introduction of new skills are to be noted.
The City is also internationally noted for being the source of the famous drink "Porto". The wines are harvested on the lower slopes in the middle reaches of the River Douro and then brought by barge down the river to the city. On the waterfront across the river from the centre of the city is the very visible signs of the different manufacturers that are involved in this trade. Another product within their wine trade and more commonly known within Portugal, is the white wine called "Vinho Verde". Literally translated this means "young (green) wine. It is normally acid and sharp on the palette and is consumed soon after bottling.
There is a concentrated industrialized coastal strip composed of small and medium industries that employ less than 50 workers per enterprise. Their products range from metal and machinery to such industries as printing and publishing.
An very interesting way to see and feel the true culture and history of this region is to stay in some of the various Pousadas, most of which are steeped in local atmosphere and with historic architecture of this region.