This bit is for our adventurous road trip lovers! Depending on how you arrive in Portugal and whether you start exploring from the South to the North, or vice versa, this trip is easily adjustable.
Your first destination is Porto. In all likelihood, if you’re visiting Northern Portugal, you’ll be basing yourself in this city. To fully experience this city by visiting all the museums, churches, and the medieval wall you will need 2 full days. You will also have enough time to try all the delicious pastries and dishes here. On the other hand, if you are in a hurry, it is still possible to squeeze it in just one day.
Hugging along the Douro River going upstream, the Douro Valley and Peso da Régua just 2 hours away from Porto. In between, you’ll have the opportunity to see how the river becomes increasingly rural and more propitious for viticulture. It’s in this region that you’ll find the ground zero of what many consider to be the best wine in the world. The harvest season is the ideal time to visit, if you want to watch the myriad vineyards sloping into the river in full bloom, and enjoy the Douro Valley Wine Tours.
After hopefully tasting some great Port Wine, it’s time to visit Guimarães. Further North than the previous two sites, it’s less than an hour away by car from Porto, and from beautiful landscapes you’ll see the transformation into a more pale and cold North, arriving at a sturdy city that once was the heart of Portugal and where decisions of survival of Portugal were made.
Less than 30 minutes away from Guimarães and further North, is your next destination: Braga. A more religious locale, home to the Archbishop of Braga, once one of the most important people in the country, it’s a city logically famed for its many churches and monasteries with marvellous architecture. Don’t forget to also visit the Garden of Santa Barbara and Raio Palace.
After 2 days in historical cities, the next destination is Peneda-Gerês National Park. It is about 40 minutes away from Braga by car. Now you’ll definitely trade the big cities for the wilderness and indulge yourself in nature. You’ll see with your own eyes as the settlements you come across on the road become ever so smaller in size. At the park, hiking and camping galore, you can also visit many old-style villages in this National park.
The final stop is Chaves. An hour’s distance from the park, the trip will likewise be mostly rural, with picturesque villages dotting the way. Stuck between mountains, the city’s a great place to visit many historical sites, eat delicious food and relax in a smaller city after a week-long road trip. While there’s certainly more to see beyond the city, that will be for another time!