Takes all sports activities: an exercise break in northern Portugal | Travel

The seashores of Viana do Castelo, within the Norte area of Portugal, are a number of the most lovely within the nation. These vast swathes of sand backed by dunes and pine timber are so huge they not often really feel crowded. Known for constant swells and steadily windy, they’re a mecca for kite- and windsurfers.


Cabedelo seashore, about 25km from the Spanish border, is an appropriate setting, then, for Really feelViana Hotel, a brand new sport and wellness resort launched by sports activities lover José Sampaio. His intention is to attraction to fellow surf devotees in addition to their less-enthusiastic family and friends.

Kitesurfers on Cabedelo Beach

Watersports addicts will likely be of their component – Really feelViana was concerned in organising the GKA Kitesurf World Tour and Windsurf World Cup, held right here in June – whereas novices can take classes on the on-site college earlier than hitting the ocean. There’s standup paddleboarding on the ocean or close by Lima River, however landlubbers have loads to occupy them, too. The record of actions is lengthy: yoga, path working, trekking, biking (tons of of kilometres of marked trails soak up seashores, rivers and mountains) – and, in fact, there’s at all times the choice to simply chill out by the pool consuming Portuguese custard tarts.

The 46 cabin-style rooms and 9 bungalows, in woodland 5 minutes from the seashore, appear like an upmarket CenterParcs, minus the loopy golf and pancake home. It’s all very trendy and slick, plenty of pine and glass, with interiors they declare are designed to “feel as though you were at a friend’s home” – which makes me assume my mates must up their game. But regardless of stylish appearances, the lodge is child-friendly, with a busy children’ membership entertaining youthful friends.

Mountain biking from FeelViana

A bit steep … mountain biking from Really feelViana

While biking fanatics can fling themselves across the on-site pump monitor, a guided bike tour is an effective way to discover the broader space: choices vary from a 22½km Just the Sea mountain bike path to a 164km Where the Lima River Enters Portugal street bike tour. There’s additionally the choice to discover independently on a rental bike with GPS.

The historic city of Viana do Castelo, 45 miles north of Porto, lies on the alternative financial institution of the Lima, and one of the crucial pleasing methods to get there may be on a motorcycle. I be a part of the 43km Santa Luzia tour, which features a go to to the city.

On an electrical bike the countryside whizzes by, with spectacular views of the Altantic all the best way, and wild horses grazing close to the roadside. We climb Monte de Santa Luzia, the 228-metre wooded hill behind the city (there’s additionally a funicular for the much less energetic), to see the20th-century, neo-Byzantine basilica, with views of the delta and countless coast under. On our descent we weave via woodlands to Arda Beach and be a part of the picturesque coastal path again to the town – the place choosing up a bola de berlim, a custard-filled doughnut, is a should.

The pine lounge at FeelViana

The pine lounge at Really feelViana

It’s value a return journey to Viana to wander the outdated city and riverside at leisure – an everyday ferry service from a spot near the lodge takes about 10 minutes (working till midnight in August and 10pm the remainder of the summer season) and taxis are cheap (round €5 by day, €7 at night time). A working port, it’s a laid-back place with cafe-lined plazas and a few good eating places serving dishes equivalent to caldeirada, a wealthy seafood stew.

The lodge itself has only one fundamental restaurant, plus a extra relaxed Tavern (and a small seashore bar providing drinks and snacks). The meals is ingenious and well-executed, however not low cost (most mains are about €20). A salmon fillet arrives on a mattress of vivid purple crushed potatoes and bacalhau (cod) is a menu staple – although this very Portuguese ingredient isn’t eaten recent; it’s dried, salted and rehydrated – a lot tastier than it sounds.

As a respite from all of the exercise, the lodge has a spa with a full menu of therapies, indoor pool, sauna and Turkish tub. It’s straightforward to see how you could possibly spend every week right here, switching between exertion and inertia. After just some days I used to be feeling the advantages, received over by the mix of untamed magnificence, outside journey and creature comforts. Beats the “doze by the pool and overdo it on the ice-cream” holiday routine any day.

• The journey was offered by Healthy Holiday Company, which has seven nights at Really feelViana from £695pp, together with breakfastand flights from Gatwick to Porto. Activities are additional: eg yoga from £15, guided bike excursions from €30, three-hour kitesurfing lesson €150

Looking for a holiday with a distinction? Browse Guardian Holidays to discover a vary of implausible journeys

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