6 things to do in northern Portugal

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Judit Llordes


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While Porto, the famous capital of the north, undoubtedly has a lot to offer, to omit a wider foray into northern Portugal would be a shame. The visitor in research cultural immersion and authentic exchanges will inevitably come back delighted. Discover without delay a region oscillating between typical villages, sumptuous natural parks and deeply rooted traditions. Here are 6 tempting proposals to come back dazzled by your escapade of a few days in the cradle of Portugal!

Discover the unmissable places of Porto

Eternal rival of Lisbon, Porto is nonetheless sublime and exudes an indescribable charm in the northern region of Portugal. The sweetness of life is felt in every neighborhood of this discreet city. Far from the traditional visits to wine cellars, the tasting of an excellent port on an improvised terrace is essential. It's a safe bet that it won't be difficult to combine this pleasant moment with one of the countless street concerts that abound in the city! Atmosphere and relaxation guaranteed!

This city is easily left explore to the rhythm of walks ... by tram ! The gentle atmosphere of Porto then wins you over little by little and you will quickly find yourself strolling through its medieval streets. Not to spoil anything, its old houses with astonishing architecture give a colorful touch to the hill of Pena Ventosa.


Perhaps you will be tempted, during your stay, by these famous pastries, pastéis de nata. Don't forget to try out the irreplaceable cod fritter before losing yourself in the colorful stalls of a few narrow sardine shops! One of the riches of Porto also lies in its unparalleled heritage. The Ribeira district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is astonishing. It truly represents the soul of Porto and has an impressive array of monuments to visit such as the Cathedral, Sao Benito Station and the Torre dos Clerigos.

Discover without further delay the Top 8 things to do with the family in Porto, selected by a 3-year-old child.

Stroll through Aveiro, the Portuguese Venice

With its maze of typical alleys and its few canals, Aveiro does not steal the comparison. This small town in northern Portugal, between sea and ponds, attracts with its unique curiosities. Whether it's its salt marshes or its village of Costa Nova, with its small striped wooden houses in bright colors, Aveiro definitely does not leave you indifferent. Navigating this place is easy and enjoyable. In the blink of an eye you leave town and its facades covered with azulejos, decorated earthenware tiles, to embark by bike on a ferry and browse the natural reserve of the dunes of São Jacinto.


You can also choose a more culinary axis of visit and interfere, early in the morning, in the maze of the fish market, Praça do Peixe. Then do not hesitate to enjoy a small sweet snack, the ovos moles. A real treat ! Do not shy away from your pleasure and treat yourself to a delicious meal at the Vieille Fabrique. This place also offers an unrivaled view of the channels.

Admire the view of Viana do Castelo, the jewel of the Costa Verde

At the heart of a region of immense natural beauty, discover a fascinating place surrounded by lush hills. Viana do Castelo, located on the banks of the Lima River and not far from still wild beaches, piques curiosity. Make no mistake, this industrial city has a lot to offer passing travelers. With its undeniable Portuguese charm and historical past, you will go from surprise to surprise! Visiting the center of this town is easy. Walk through the many alleys and wander from an authentic little square to a typical café, without forgetting to admire the architecture of a church that stands in your wake.

Viano do Castelo

The shopping street also offers its share of pleasures and allows you to reach the banks of the river and its pleasant promenade. This is the perfect moment to give yourself a well-deserved break and savor a glass of vinho verde. The proximity of Viana do Castelo with river and sea appeals to water sports enthusiasts. If you are more comfortable on the floors of the cows, cycle paths and marked trails accessible to all, take you to splendid little frequented corners.

See you next for the highlight of this step! Prepare your picnic and set off, preferably on foot, to reach the Sanctuary of Santa Luzia! The climb is not easy, but your effort will be well rewarded. When you reach the top, all you have to do is find the perfect place to enjoy your meal under a wonderful sunset. The panoramic view from this place is simply magical.

Taste a typical dish in Ponte de Lima

As soon as you arrive, the old medieval Roman bridge will surprise you with its majestic side. Long remained the only passage to reach the opposite bank, it remains today the symbol of the city. You may also come across some pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.. Otherwise, an improbable troop of undecided Roman soldiers awaits you at the foot of the bridge. Their commander has been impatient for ages on the other side of the river! A little originality not to be missed in this corner of northern Portugal!

Ponte de Lima is particularly lively and offers many festivals all year round on various themes. Perhaps you will have the chance to participate in the gastronomic festival, a tasty moment between flavors, scents and tasting! Be daring and open your taste buds by trying arroz de cabidela, chicken rice with blood. A strong moment in the mouth guaranteed!

Ponte de Lima

The market day, on avenida dos platanos, is also the opportunity to soak up the Portuguese joie de vivre. Be careful if you indulge yourself in the wooden puzzle stall, you could get a taste for it and spend hours there. You will be spoiled for choice when it comes to spending your day in Ponte de Lima. However, the famous toy museum attracts the attention of families more, it indeed awaits young and old for a nostalgic and complicit moment. Geocaching is also a great idea to visit the place from top to bottom. Caches, scattered everywhere, allow you to discover in a fun way this city with the multitude of parks and gardens.

Take a walk in the Douro Valley, the wine region

The wild banks of the Douro River transport the traveler. The slopes dotted with quinta and vineyards take on the color of the seasons and offer you a constantly adapting spectacle. This invitation to a walk is not to displease lovers of nature, good wine and simple pleasures.. Do not hesitate to stop by the roadside and chat with the sellers of wines, oils, sausages, olives… The Portuguese welcome is gentle and warm, like this country imbued with sincerity.

The Douro Valley

Typical villages are legion here, more than a hundred are listed only in this valley. Attracted by the picturesque side ? The wine village of Provesende awaits you and promises you a trip back in time to remember. In lack of culture and history? Treat yourself to a stopover in the historic village of Amarante. To enhance your walk in these sumptuous landscapes, let yourself be seduced by a tasting of some typical dishes in these quintas with incredible views over the valley. And why not also try a cruise on this river in a rabelo, a traditional boat?

Getting lost in the Peneda Geres Natural Park

If the magnificent waterfalls, majestic lakes and gazebos with breathtaking views appeal to you, this national park in northern Portugal is for you. Before you venture out on a hike, take the time to visit some traditional villages. Soajo overlooks the Lima River and charms visitors with its beautiful meadows and long-horned cows. Lindoso, meanwhile, is a village of shepherds who will mark you with its authenticity. This place is famous as much for its castle as for its espigueiros, kinds of granite constructions, erected on stilts to protect the crops from small unwanted animals.

Peneda-Geres National Park

During your hike in the natural park, you will have the opportunity toadmire magnificent waterfalls ... and swim in beautiful natural pools ! The best known remains the Tahiti waterfall, ideal for a romantic and disconnected moment at will. Lake Cavado, which you can observe from many lookouts, is prized both for its beauty and for the water activities offered there. Rest, kayak, pedal boat… Take the plunge!

The essentials of northern Portugal… and after?

As you will have understood, the north of Portugal can be the subject of a long journey on its own, as the playing field is varied and surprising. After tasting the Portuguese authenticity of the north, the temptation will be great to discover other fantastic places of the country. Why not get lost in the Serra da Estrella mountain in central Portugal? Or reach the far south by letting yourself be carried away by the many invitations to explore? This would be an opportunity to stroll through the very colorful region of the Algarve before ending in style with an original visit to Lisbon.

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