Porto is a fascinating city, full of vibrant neighborhoods and historic churches, palaces, and museums to explore. It is a colorful home base for our northern Portugal Untour and a great launching point for exploring all of northern Portugal and even a little of Spain.
Here are some excellent day trip options for you to explore.
In the shadow of a university, Braga’s atmospheric medieval town center is lined with cafes and home to an important cathedral. (Braga is pohotgraphed above.) Pilgrimage to the nearby Bom Jesus do Monte with its massive staircase and sweeping views. Nearby, the Archbishop’s Palace overlooks the beautiful Santa Barbara Garden.
Viana do Castelo
Arguably one of Portugal’s prettiest towns, Viana do Castelo is a fishing port with gorgeous beaches and a striking medieval center. Don’t miss the massive Templo-Monumento de Santa Luzia, and grand an important sanctuary.
Aveiro is the very colorful Venice of Portugal, set on a lagoon and laced with canals that are plied by colorful boats. Its center is full of beautiful churches and stately nouveau buildings, adding to its undeniable charm.
This historic, medieval town was home to Portugal’s first king at Guimarães castle. It is just one of many remarkable sites to tour within the charming maze of cobbled streets that make up the old town center, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This former capital city is layered with history. Its medieval town center holds the beautiful 12th-century Romanesque Sé Velha cathedral, Moorish arches, and a museum built around its Roman Forum. Its historic university has its own treasures to explore, including an ornate 18th century library and bell tower.
Just across the border in Spain, Vigo was an important embarkation point for early navigators, and its maritime history is strong. Visit its Museum of the Sea for more of its history and take in the modern port. Stroll its historic town, and be sure to indulge in the local seafood.
Douro Valley and Vineyards
Don’t miss a chance to venture inland along the Douro to take in its rolling hills and terraced vineyards. The Alto Douro is a UNESCO world heritage area, its winemaking dating back 2000 years. Follow the wine trails and stop for tastings, or admire the views from a boat cruise or from a scenic train ride..
Peneda-Gerês National Park
Step into nature and explore Portugal’s only national park, a massive area of green dotted with charming rustic villages frozen in time. It is home to varied wildlife and offers excellent hiking, with high peaks, lush valleys, and remnants of an ancient Roman road. (A car is required.)
On the Porto Untour in Portugal, you can explore all of these places and more!