Do you want to discover Northern Portugal but don’t know what places to visit? In this article you’ll find some of the most beautiful places in this Portuguese region and in the country.
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Here is our top 10 of the places to visit in Northern Portugal
The beautiful capital of Northern Portugal doesn’t need introduction, but know that by visiting Porto you’ll have a taste of what the north has to offer. You can visit Porto in 2 days but it won’t be enough. This way you’ll have an excuse to visit this beautiful city again.
Do you want to take a guided gastronomic tour while visiting the wonders of Porto? See below my suggestions!
Beginning at 10:00 or 15:00, this wonderful tour (affiliate link) will take you to some of the city’s corners and authentic sites and places where you can enjoy the best snacks and more. In this 3-hour adventure, you will have one of the best gastronomic experiences with the right balance between saltiness and sweetness. Try the pastel de nata, bifana, Portuguese beer, Port wines and more!
Alternatively and leaving from the square Praça de São Domingos, next to beautiful street Rua das Flores, this 4-hour activity (affiliate link) starts at 17:00 so that you get hungry for what is coming. It will be a gastronomic tour to Ribeira, with stops along the way to enjoy the best Portuguese snacks and pastry. In addition to all this, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful dinner and taste wine from Douro Wine Region.
Guimarães is the birthplace of Portugal; this is where the country was born thanks to Dom Afonso Henriques, the first king of Portugal. This city has an appealing historic centre. You may visit Guimarães in a day and the historic centre in half a day.
Braga’s history dates back more than 2000 years and is considered the Portuguese Rome because of its countless churches and two shrines – Bom Jesus do Monte and Sameiro. To visit Braga you will need a day, aside from the historic centre, you shouldn’t miss the two shrines.
4. Viana do Castelo
Viana do Castelo was known until 1848 as Viana da Foz do Lima. The city had a glorious past thanks to its strong maritime tradition, particularly due to its naval shipyards. When you visit Viana do Castelo you must visit the historic centre, the shrine of Santa Luzia and don’t forget to enjoy the many beaches near the city.
5. Ponte de Lima
You can’t visit Northern Portugal and miss the oldest town in Portugal. Ponte de Lima is a small town that will amaze you with its medieval charm. Visiting Ponte de Lima may take at least half a day but count on a day because, once in Ponte de Lima, you won’t want to leave.
6. Peneda-Gerês National Park
Shaped by mountains, streams, rivers and canyons, the Peneda-Gerês National Park will offer you unique moments. You will need at least three days to fully visit Peneda-Gerês National Park. In addition to the landscape you will discover, you will also have the opportunity to find wild animals, try tree climbing, trails, ride a horse and much more.
7. Montesinho Natural Park
The Montesinho Natural Park was my biggest surprise during my tour throughout the North of Portugal. I was astonished by the amazing landscape, by the kindness of the population and by the beauty of the little villages, some of them still communitarian.
It will take two days to visit Montesinho Natural Park. While discovering the park, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic centre of the city of Bragança.
8. Paiva Walkways
Our journey through Central Portugal begins in the Paiva Walkways, an 8-km route just 14 km away from Arouca. The majority of the route is made on wooden walkways (hence the name) in the middle of the mountain and along Paiva river, a river that flows into Douro.
The route was inaugurated in July 2015 and was the main attraction in Portugal in the summer. More than 8 000 people visited this marvellous place every day.
Before my visit, in September, the route had been devastated by a wildfire, causing the destruction of more than 600 metres of wooden walkways.
After some months of restoration, this gem reopened to the public with more strict access conditions.
Now, this route is limited to 3 500 people per day and they have to pay one euro fee – this money will be used to maintain the route in good condition.
In the route you’ll find help points (like those in the highway), 3 river beaches (one in the middle and two at both ends), one snack bar at both ends as well and, of course, the most beautiful landscape.
The level of difficulty of this route is hard so, if you can’t go from one end to the other and back (16 km), you’ll find taxis that will take you to the starting point. It will cost you around 15 euros.
Visit the official site to get the necessary information (GPS coordinates, map, opening hours and buying tickets).
Chaves is definitely one of the most beautiful cities in the North of Portugal and a place to go! Lose yourself in the streets of Chaves and visit historical places like the Fort of São Francisco, the Fort of São Neutel and the donjon of Chaves castle.
You should also take the opportunity to cross the beautiful Trajano bridge and drive along the thermal route until Vidago.
10. The Douro
In the valley of Douro river you will find many vineyards. It’s in this region that the famous Port wine is produced. To visit the Douro valley I encourage you to go on a Douro cruise leaving from Porto or to visit the region by car, through the roads next to the river Douro, to enjoy the marvellous landscape.
Information: do you want to discover the Alto Douro Wine Region in a different way, in the company of an experienced guide who will show you the most beautiful corners of this region considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site? If so, don’t hesitate and book this activity (affiliate link) with an estimated duration of 10 hours.
A comfortable van will pick you up at your hotel in Porto or Vila Nova de Gaia and will take you on an adventure along the magnificent roads that follow Douro river. You will have the opportunity to enjoy the most beautiful views over the river as well as the terraces where the vineyards of Port wine (among others) grow.
In addition to the fantastic lunch filled with regional products, this tour (affiliate link) through the Douro Wine Region will stop at three wine estates. Here, you will have the opportunity to taste Port wine, but also a wine that has been increasingly recognised worldwide, the DOC Douro. Know that, before finishing this experience, you will still have time for a stop at the beautiful location of Pinhão to take some pictures and contemplate the landscape.
Alternatively, click here (affiliate link) and do the previous activity, but instead of visiting three, visit two wine estates and take a cruise on the Douro. Without a doubt, a different way to explore this region and admire the landscape from another perspective.
Are you going to visit Northern Portugal? Then don’t hesitate to book your hotel room, your car or the best activities by clicking the links below. This way you are helping me in the development of my blog and I’ll be able to offer you free tips and travel guides so that you can better prepare your visit to Portugal. Thank you!
What will also interest you:
- 7-Day travel guide to visit Porto and Minho province (Guimarães, Braga, Ponte de Lima, Viana do Castelo)
- Things to do in Guimarães, the birthplace of Portugal
- Top 20 Things to do in Viana do Castelo
- Top of the places to visit in Ponte de Lima
- Visit Boticas, Montalegre and Chaves and discover some of the wonders of Trás-os-Montes
- Top of the things to do in Braga