What to do

Porto and the North for fans of aquatic adventures

VianaLocals CC BY-NC-ND

Rafting Atlántico CC BY-NC-ND

Tabogã CC BY-NC-ND


In northern region of Portugal there are more than 100km of splendid beaches bathed by the Atlantic Ocean waiting for you, and beautiful river estuary beaches which are also worth exploring. All this in addition to the excellent conditions for practicing sports. Here, where the sea is rougher, deep sea fishing, surfing and bodyboarding are the leading expressions of adventure.    

In the sea 

In Porto discover the famous waves of Internacional and Espinho beaches. The first of these is an urban beach next to the City Park, lively day or night, and is the ideal location for the youngest or the oldest visitors to learn how to surf. There are various schools which operate in this zone served by the Edifício Transparente. In Espinho, one of the most iconic waves of northern Portugal can be found: a tubular right wave with various sections which can break against the rocks or the beach itself. The sea around Porto also offers good conditions for sailing. In the Douro Marina or the Do Freixo Marina, you can rent boats for trips at sea.

The district of Afife, in Viana do Castelo, has beaches which are well known for the conditions they offer for surfing and bodyboarding. Arda beach, or Mariana beach as it’s called by the locals, is without doubt the best known and has hosted various events for these sports. Part of the Praial to Bico Environmental Trail, this natural beach has been rated as a Blue Flag beach since 1996 and has N/NW and W/SW winds, with an average speed of 8km per hour. 

Ofir, Esposende and Cabedelo beaches in Viana do Castelo, as well as Modelo and Minho beaches, are places that offer conditions for practicing kitesurfing in Minho. For this reason they are a meeting point for kitesurfers from all of the north, who with generous hospitality not only share the wind with adventure-seeking tourists, but also assist visitors when necessary. There are schools which teach the sport on both beaches.

Or in the river

The rivers of the northern region of Portugal also offer excellent conditions for practicing extreme sports. You can go canyoning in Serra de Arga, an area which includes the districts of Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Vila Nova de Ceveira and Caminha. With uniquely beautiful lakes and waterfalls, the river Âncora is ideal for beginners, due to its low level of difficulty. A unique experience, without doubt.

In the river Minho, which is navigable all year round, you can feel the excitement and adrenaline of white-water rafting. The bravest are challenged to dominating these rapids and currents practicing rafting. The river Tâmega also offers ideal conditions for rafting in an inflatable boat and attempting to dodge the different obstacles at a hair-raising speed. 

Canyoning is an excellent sport for those who want to feel a real touch of nature. The Peneda-Gerês National Park is an option for practicing this sport in which the participants move around using waterways, and waterfalls in the case of Peneda-Gerês. Close to Castelo de Paiva, along a 6km stretch, feel the full force of the current of the river Paiva, the cathedral of white-water sports in Portugal. A magnificent landscape, herons and even kingfishers will accompany you. 

Travel down the river Coura in a kayak. We suggest you go in summer and during full moon. There are local companies that organise this type of trip, so you will have no worries other than what the moon is doing. Believe that it is worth it, because rowing down the Coura and finishing in the river Minho at Camarido beach is a unique experience.

Another option is on the river Lima in a canoe. Previously called the “river of forgetfulness”, this course of water runs through areas of protected countryside bordering lakes São Simão and Bertiandos.

Fishing fans can practice their sport along the rivers Coura, Lima, Ave, Tâmega, Minho and Cávado. On the last two, catch beautiful specimens of lamprey and trout. These fish form part of the vast gastronomic culture of the region. Barragens and Albufeiras are the ideal places to, within the limits of the species and fishing zones, look for mallard ducks, common moorhen, Eurasian coot, northern shoveler and the picadeira.

Experience a weekend of nautical adventures in northern Portugal. Be delighted by the gastronomy of the region and discover magical places to stay. Contact us if you have any questions, or if you want a trip tailored to your needs.


Where it is