What to do

A week's holiday through Porto and the North of Portugal

CC BY-NC-ND Turismo do Douro, Rui Pires

A month would not be enough to discover everything that Porto and the North of Portugal have to offer. Although, if you want to take a week's vacation to learn more about this region, you will be able to visit the most important locations and will surely be eager to return.

Moving between the several cities in the region is simple. The city of Braga and Guimarães are less than an hour away from Porto. Another 20 minutes and you will arrive at Viana do Castelo. In half an hour, it's possible to arrive at Caminha and from there discover Monção and Melgaço. It's but a moment from the Alvarinho wine region to Trás-os-Montes and from there you can enter the Douro through Vila Real or Bragança.

Begin our trip in Porto

Plan your stay in Porto and in three days get to know the essential places of the city. Stroll through the historic center of Porto, classified as World Cultural Heritage since 1996, the Museu e Parque de Serralves Museum , Casa da Música and the Port wine cellars, near the Cais de Gaia (Gaia Pier) on the south bank of the Douro.

Explore downtown Porto, by day and night. During the day, visit the Torre dos Clérigos, and enjoy one of the best views of the city, visit the famous Lello bookshop, shop at trendy fashion and urban crafts shops and have a snack at historic coffee shops, such as the Majestic or the Café D'Âncora, better known as "Piolho". At night, dine in sophisticated and creative cuisine restaurants, have a drink in one of the many wine bars in the area and hit the dance clubs with eclectic programs.

Visit the most famous market in town, the "Bolhão", near one of the busiest shopping areas in town, the Rua de Santa Catarina. Have lunch near the beaches and/or a mini picnic at the Parque da Cidade, breathe the fresh air of 83 acres of green areas with walking routes and various sports activities. And be sure to try the famous Francesinha.

If you are in Porto during the weekend, there are small grocery stores and urban fairs you don't want to miss and the nightlife of the city is more lively.

Braga and Guimarães

On the fourth day of your stay, rent a car and drive to the heart of Minho, with its historical and architectural heritage reflecting a fervent religious belief. In Braga, go up to the Bom Jesus do Monte Sanctuary, visit the Sé de Braga Cathedral and have lunch in the historical center. Taste the famous "bacalhau à Braga" (codfish), the roasted goat and the Abade de Priscos pudding.

From the "Portuguese Rome" to Guimarães t's 15,5 miles. In the city that was the birthplace of Portugal and European Capital of Culture, start with the historic center that UNESCO classified as World Cultural Heritage in 2001.

Then, visit the Castle, the "Paço dos Duques de Bragança" and the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Penha - from the top of the Santa Catarina Mountain, you will have a privileged view over Guimarães. You can go up and down by car or with the cable car that connects the city center to the Penha mountain.

Work up an appetite with a walk through the Largo do Toural, one of the most important and central squares of Guimarães, breathe the unique atmosphere the city offers, and dine in one of the Nossa Senhora da Oliveira Square restaurants, where the church by the same name and the Padrão do Salado are located.

Taste the traditional "rojões à minhota" and finish the meal with a slice of toucinho-do-céu. Have your meal with a bottle of Vinho Verde.

Continue towards the coast and stay overnight in one of the magnificent hotels that you can find.

The North coast

Start the day in Viana do Castelo. From the Avenida dos Combatentes da Grande Guerra, the most central street in the city, explore the narrow streets of the historic center and have breakfast in one of the local bakeries.

Visit the Sanctuary of Monte de Santa Luzia, an impressive monument overlooking the city, whose construction began in 1903 and was completed in 1943, as it offers a must-see vista.

Have some fish in the town of Caminha. In its most central square, Conselheiro Silva Torres square, you will find some restaurants and coffee places with nice terraces, arranged around the fifteenth century fountain as well as in Rua Direita and other surrounding arteries. If you have the time, have a cup of coffee at the beach of Foz do Minho, an idyllic spot at the gates of the Mata Nacional do Camarido from where you can spot the Santa Tecla Hills, in Spain.

Follow the river towards its spring and, further north, taste the Alvarinho wine, the most appreciated Portuguese wine in Monção and Melgaço. On the side, try one of the many dishes made with lamprey, captured in the Minho river and a specialty of the region. Gather your strength with a good night's sleep. In Melgaço, you can stay in the Monte Prado Hotel Spa. The tranquil setting of this contemporary hotel and the idyllic surroundings are ideal for it.

Trás-os-Montes

On the following day, head to northern Trás-os-Montes. If you leave early enough, you will be able to reach Chaves - which is about two hours away -at midmorning.

Have lunch in the town that at the time of Roman occupation was known as "Aquae Flaviae". Chaves, which has a much sought after spa, is known for its culinary richness, with highlight for the sausages and ham.

After lunch, head to Bragança - two hours away -, a city that maintains a medieval urban core that is worth visiting: in the stronghold, there are interesting features such as the imposing Torre de Menagem do Castelo, the Pelourinho built on a curious Portuguese boar, the Church of Santa Maria and the Domus Municipalis, a unique example of civil architecture.

Take the last day to visit the Douro. Considered World Heritage by UNESCO, it's the birthplace of the famous Port wine.

Alto Douro Wine Region

We reach the last day of the trip, but there is still much to see: start in Vila Real, discover the medieval heart of the city, stroll through the Jardim da Carreira and climb to the top of the Calvário where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city that welcomed many noble families between the 17th and 19th centuries and the mountains of Marão and Alvão.

From Vila Real, simply follow the national and municipal roads connecting these cities to the heart of the Alto Douro Wine Region. Visit one of the producing farms which organizes tours and thematic wine tasting and take a boat cruise down the Douro River. Some also have accommodation. This applies to the Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, which is in the heart of the Douro Valley - Sabrosa.

Witness how the local cuisine is up to the Douro and Port wines' standards. Taste the best regional cuisine - we suggest the goat with potatoes and oven-baked rice or fish - and the traditional bakery.

Never leave Porto without bringing a souvenir of the region, the city's handicraft is famous for its wicker baskets, embroidery, pottery, as well as its woolen blankets and rugs.

Accept our itinerary proposal for the region and discover the best that Porto and the North of Portugal has to offer. Contact us for help to prepare the perfect holiday.

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