If you are in Porto for more than a week or want to know more about Porto and its region you will be interested by this article about the best destinations in northern Portugal.
We recommend Pinhão, Braga, Guimarães, Aveiro... all these destinations are less than two hours from Porto!
Discovering the Douro region is a must! The Douro Valley is a magical place that offers unparalleled natural scenery in Europe. Porto’s wealth was born here. Port wine is produced in this region. Porto’s climate is very particular: it is cool in winter and very hot in summer.
The Douro is a long River: it starts in Spain and flows into the Atlantic Ocean between Porto and Gaia. The River was used to transport wine barrels between the production site and the cellar district of Vila Nova de Gaia where our apartments are located.
The region produces olives, citrus fruit and almonds; you can visit farms or simply admire natural landscapes shaped by man.
Our favourite place in the Douro Valley is the small village of Pinhão located only 1h30 drive from Porto; Pinhão can be reached by train too.
This small town is a gem; the landscapes around are stunning and the largest wine houses own their farms in the region. Take a tour of the town, walk along the Douro River and then continue on a boat tour to discover the hills from the River.
Book a day tour of the Douro Valley from Porto including transfer, boat tour, lunch and wine tasting. (book here)
If you want to discover a winery we recommend the Quinta Nova. Perched on the top of the hills, the farm dominates the vineyards and the Douro. Tasting the wines produced on the farm is possible and the view from the terrace is incredible!
If you have less time you can also opt for a visit to Peso da Régua: the city is located 1 hour’s drive from Porto . You can also go by train or even by boat as many day tours are possible from Porto (go by boat and return by train).
If you want to stay a bit more than one day in the area we recommend to stay at Casa dos Barros Hotel in Sabrosa. The road between Sabrosa and Pinhao is just amazing! (book here)
Braga and Guimarães are two must-see destinations in northern Portugal. Both cities are located nearby so it is possible to visit them in one day. The easiest way is to get there by car.
The city of Braga is definitely worth seeing. It is a dynamic city .As the country has kept a large place to religion and traditions, there are many religious monuments ( the cathedral for example) and a nice city centre. But what we prefer in Braga are its sanctuaries located on the hills dominating the city. Even if you do not like religious buildings Bom Jesus is really special with its romantic gardens and views of Braga below. The sanctuary of Sameiro is also a very beautiful place with a breathtaking panoramic view!
Not far from Braga is the city of Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal, the birthplace of the first king of Portugal. Cradle of many adventures and discoveries, it is an exceptional destination to discover the Portuguese roots , modern and contemporary arts. Guimarães is a concentration of the best things you can find in Portugal, a mix of culture, history, gastronomy, architecture and art.
Book a day tour of Braga and Guimaraes from Porto with transfer and lunch included. (book here)
Let's go a little further south,( one hour from Porto), the city of Aveiro is becoming more and more popular among visitors thanks to its architecture and canals.
Stroll through the streets of the city centre and discover the many Art Nouveau facades of Aveiro. You can find the exact location of these buildings on a map available at the tourist office.
We advise you to board a traditional boat on the canals of the city. You will discover the colourful houses built along the canals and enjoy the comments of the captain.
The tourist office offers visitors free bikes , so you can explore the surroundings and the Costa Nova seafront area with its beautiful wooden houses and colourful facades, so typical of Aveiro.
You can easily travel by car via the A1 (Porto - Lisbon) or take the city train from Sao Bento train station to Porto or the General Torres train station near the house inVila Nova de Gaia. The journey takes only 50 minutes for just a few euros.
You can also book a guided tour of Aveiro, this tour includes the trip with pick-up in front of your accommodation, the visit of the city center, a boat tour on the canals as well as the discovery of the famous district of Costa Nova. (book here)
Arouca Arouca is a small town located in the lands south of Porto. If you want a getaway in the middle of nature we recommend Passadiços do Paiva natural park.
Book your tickets on the park's website (symbolic price of 1 €) and plan to wear good shoes to face the 2h30 trek through the park. If you are in great shape you can make the round trip if not you can take a taxi back to the starting point.
The scenery is sublime and a long vertiginous wooden staircase was built to allow hikers to explore this green valley easily