Portugal“s most fertile region lies between the Spanish province of Galicia to the north and the Douro Valley to the south. Occupying the country“s north western corner, the lush green Minho region takes its name from the river that has always marked Portugal“s northern frontier. Braga, its capital, is an ancient Celtic city with more than 300 churches. Outside the city, the Baroque splendour of Bom Jesus do Monte is an important pilgrimage shrine. Further south lies GuimarĆ£es, the undisputed birthplace of the country. When Afonso Henriques proclaimed himself the first king of Portugal in 1139, he chose GuimarĆ£es as his capital. Between Braga and the Atlantic coast is Barcelos, the ceramics centre of Portugal. The town“s large weekly market every Thursday is a major attraction for locals and tourists alike. Further north lies the attractive riverside town of Ponte de Lima, famous for its extensive Roman bridge. The coastal town of Viana do Castelo is also interesting for its winding streets and ancient monuments. Portugal“s northeastern most region, TrĆ”s-os-Montes, is a remote wilderness of rugged moorland and sleepy stone villages. Its capital, BraganĆ§a, boasts an ancient walled citadel standing on an isolated hilltop. The surrounding Parque Natural de Montesinho is an extensive nature reserve covering 70,000 hectares of protected landscape. Visitors exploring the southern part of the region can reach the Douro Valley by boat, car or train. The journey through Port wine country is one of the most pleasant travel experiences in Southern Europe, passing by many of the famous vineyards along the way. A popular stopover on this route is Lamego, an attractive town within the demarcated Port wine making area. Its main sites include a 12th-century Gothic cathedral and a small hilltop chapel dating back to 1391.PORTO, is gracious capital of the north is Portugal“s second largest city and a thriving industrial hub, successfully blending commercial efficiency with an atmosphere of unpretentious charm. Rich from centuries of trade, modern Oporto is as much a cosmopolitan centre as it is a city steeped in the historical events of the past. Magnificently situated on the great gorge of the River Douro, which spills into the Atlantic after its scenic 927 km journey from Spain, the `granite city` is best known for its striking bridges and the much-celebrated Port wine, which is stored and savoured by wine lovers all over the world. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December 1996, the ancient Ribeira riverside district is a warren of narrow, twisting streets and shadowy arches.