The Queen of the Northern region, Porto is a must-visit city, with all its beauty. I’m talking about the architecture, the river, the bridges and those amazing sunsets that you can witness. Starting from São Bento station to Ribeira (the famous Riverside) you will find various Azulejos: traditional Portuguese tiles with unique patterns, all over the place. Also, this city is full of hills you will need to climb, so you should consider bringing your most comfortable footwear for this trip.
2. Douro Valley
Further inland: centered around the town of Peso da Régua, is the Douro Valley, a place where you can have a great tour of winemaking and combine it with watching the great landscapes of the valley. The famous port wine is made here and the entire area is included in UNESCO World Heritage Sites. There are many other destinations nearby that are also worth visiting, like Foz Côa Valley, where you can find the oldest carvings in Portugal.
Peneda-Gerês is a National Park not very far away from Porto (about 100km). It has captivating nature, beautiful sceneries, waterfalls, and many villages as old as Portugal itself. They were founded in the 12th century and still look the same. One of the spots to visit in the Peneda-Gerês National Park is Peneda: a sanctuary built in the 18th century. This is a great place to hike.
If you are into History and Art, this is the right place for you. Located in a valley surrounded by hills, and originally the center of Portugal, Guimarães took its name from the first independent Portuguese ruler. In the historical center, you will have the chance to visit the thick castle walls, as well as the Bragança palace, from where the rulers used to forge the country’s destiny. Intermeshed with these, to give a face to Portugal, you shall be able to stand in the shade of the statue of the first King of Portugal, D. Afonso Henriques. If that is too much history for you and you yearn for more natural environments, you can take a small detour to the nearby small mountain that hosts Penha Park, and lose yourself in its flora, visit the monastery situated at the top of the rock, or simply enjoy a breathtaking view of Portugal’s oldest capital.
In the region Trás-os-Montes, next to the border of Spain lies Chaves, founded by the Celts, this city is known for its many castles and good waters. Lying by the Tamega River, Chaves allows you to travel across time by visiting its various castles and thermal springs, from Roman times all the way to the Renaissance. Around the city centre, you can enjoy the typical residential houses, brightly coloured and ornamented, to compensate for the greyish winter months. In between all this excitement, you can stop by a local restaurant to try the Pastel de Chaves: An amazing little piece of pastry delight stuffed with minced meat that will have you starving for more.