47km (29 miles) N of Porto; 364km (226 miles) N of Lisbon; 36km (22 miles) W of Braga

Ofir is the best beach resort between Porto and Viana do Castelo. The long white-sand beach here is dramatic at any time of the year but is exceptional during summer. The White Horse Rocks, according to legend, were formed when fiery steeds from the royal stock of King Solomon were wrecked on the beach.

While Ofir's hotels and restaurants offer every convenience in a secluded setting, more local color is at Fão, 2 to 3km (1 1/4-1 3/4 miles) inland on an estuary of the Cávado River. Framed by mountain ridges in the background and a river valley, the village, which dates from Roman times, is the sleepy gateway to Ofir. The sargaceiros (gatherers of sargasso), with their stout tunics, rake the offshore breakers for the seaweed used in making fertilizer. On the quays here, you can lunch on sardines cooked on grills or counteract your overdose of sunshine with a mellow glass of port wine.