Porto is a charming city located in the northwest of Portugal, known for its picturesque streets, medieval buildings, and delicious port wine. While exploring Porto, many tourists prefer to take day trips to nearby towns and villages to witness the stunning landscapes, quaint streets, and learn about the rich history of the region. In this article, we will explore the seven best day trips from Porto that you should consider during your visit to Portugal.
Guimaraes – The Birthplace of Portugal
Located only 40 minutes away from Porto, Guimaraes is a charming town with medieval architecture, narrow streets, and vibrant squares. It is known as the birthplace of Portugal since it was the first capital of the country in the 12th century. The town is famous for its well-preserved historic center, where you can wander through the maze of alleys, visit the castle of Guimaraes, and admire the Paço dos Duques de Bragança palace.
Braga – The City of Baroque Churches
Braga is a city located 55 kilometers from Porto, known for its rich religious heritage, Baroque architecture, and charming streets. Braga is home to dozens of churches, chapels, and monasteries, including the Bom Jesus do Monte sanctuary, one of the most beautiful pilgrimage sites in Portugal. Braga's historic center is also a must-see, with its narrow streets, colorful houses, and lively squares.
Douro Valley – The Land of Vineyards
The Douro Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, located about an hour and a half away from Porto. The valley is famous for its terraced vineyards, scenic roads, and picturesque villages. Visitors can take a river cruise along the Douro River, taste some of the world's best port wine, and enjoy the stunning views of the valley.
Aveiro – The Venice of Portugal
Aveiro is a coastal town located about an hour away from Porto, known for its picturesque canals, colorful boats, and Art Nouveau architecture. The town is often called the “Venice of Portugal” due to its resemblance to the famous Italian city. Aveiro's main attraction is the Ria de Aveiro, a lagoon that extends from the town to the sea, where visitors can take a boat tour and explore the charming canals.
Viana do Castelo – The Seaside Jewel
Viana do Castelo is a picturesque coastal town located about an hour and a half away from Porto. It is known for its stunning beaches, charming historic center, and unique architecture. The town is home to several impressive buildings, including the 16th-century Santuario de Santa Luzia church, which offers breathtaking views of the town and the sea.
Apart from its architectural wonders, Viana do Castelo is famous for its traditional festivals, including the Romaria de Nossa Senhora da Agonia, which takes place in August and is one of Portugal's most significant festivals. During this festival, the streets are filled with parades, music, and traditional costumes.
Viana do Castelo is also known for its beautiful beaches, such as Praia do Cabedelo, Praia Norte, and Praia de Afife. These beaches are ideal for surfing, windsurfing, and kitesurfing, attracting water sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Visitors can also take a stroll along the Avenida dos Combatentes, a beautiful promenade that runs along the river, offering stunning views of the town and the sea.
If you're interested in exploring the town's history and culture, head to the historic center, which is filled with charming buildings, narrow streets, and squares. Some of the highlights include the Praça da República, the Jardim Marginal, and the Museu do Traje, which showcases traditional Portuguese costumes.
In addition to its cultural and natural attractions, Viana do Castelo is also an excellent destination for foodies. The town is known for its fresh seafood, such as grilled sardines, octopus rice, and seafood stew. Visitors can also try the local Vinho Verde, a refreshing white wine that pairs perfectly with seafood dishes.
Overall, Viana do Castelo is an excellent day trip destination from Porto, offering a perfect mix of culture, history, nature, and gastronomy.
Coimbra – The City of Students
Coimbra is a charming city located about two hours away from Porto, known for its beautiful architecture, historic university, and lively student atmosphere. The city's most famous attraction is the University of Coimbra, one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded in the 13th century. Visitors can explore the university's stunning library, admire the Baroque architecture of the Joanina Library, and wander through the historic campus. Coimbra is also home to several impressive churches, such as the Sé Velha and the Santa Cruz Monastery, and a vibrant nightlife scene.
Nazare – The Ultimate Surfing Destination
Nazare is a coastal town located about two hours away from Porto, known for its stunning beaches, big waves, and impressive cliffs. Nazare is one of the best surfing destinations in the world, with waves that can reach up to 100 feet during the winter months. Visitors can watch surfers tackle the giant waves from the Praia do Norte viewpoint, visit the Nazare lighthouse, and explore the charming town center. Nazare is also famous for its fresh seafood, with several restaurants serving delicious fish and shellfish dishes.
Porto is a beautiful city with plenty of things to see and do, but the surrounding region is equally fascinating. These seven day trips from Porto offer a diverse range of experiences, from exploring medieval towns to tasting some of the world's best wine. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, there's something for everyone in the nearby towns and villages. So pack your bags, hop in a car or a train, and discover the best day trips from Porto.
- How far are these day trips from Porto?
Most of these day trips are within two hours' driving distance from Porto.
- Are these day trips suitable for families with kids?
Yes, most of these day trips are suitable for families with kids, although some may require more walking or driving than others.
- Do I need a car to go on these day trips?
Not necessarily, although having a car will give you more flexibility and allow you to visit more places in a single day.
- Are these day trips expensive?
Not necessarily, although some may require more spending than others, such as wine tasting or boat tours.
- Can I do these day trips in one day?
Yes, all of these day trips can be done in a single day, although some may require an early start and a late return.