Famous for the country’s second city, Porto, northern Portugal is best-known for its world-renowned wine. As well as scenic valleys, you’ll also find Ancient Roman remnants, tranquil beaches, and tons of wildlife in this beautiful region.
The northernmost region has several historic towns. Viana do Castelo, for example, is known for its hilltop Santuário de Santa Luzia, inspired by Paris’ Sacré-Cœur. It also features a peaceful beach, Praia do Capedelo, where you can surf, bodyboard, or simply sunbathe.
|Viana do Castelo features peaceful beaches and dramatic coastlines.
After exploring more old towns, such as Ponte de Lima and Braga, check out Peneda-Gerês National Park.
|Explore Portugal's old towns such as Ponte de Lima.
Take on a challenging hike in one of the park’s four mountain ranges, or enjoy an easier stroll around its traditional villages, such as Lindoso and Saojo.
More natural beauty can be found in the Tras-os-Montes region. The Montesinho National Park offers several walking routes, such as the eight-kilometer-long Termas do Tuela. There’s also a well-maintained 40-kilometer-long bike route, stretching through the oak forest and along the scenic River Sabor.
|Bragança is home to an impressive ancient citadel.
Be sure to visit fascinating towns like Bragança and Chaves. The former offers an impressive ancient citadel, while Chaves is home to an old Roman bridge, huge public park, and the hottest springs on the Iberian Peninsula.
Located in the Douro region, Porto is Portugal’s second city. It’s famous for its wine, so don’t miss out on touring the city’s wine cellars. Alternatively, try a glass in one of the many bars and restaurants in the lively Ribeira neighborhood.
|Spend an evening in Porto's lively Ribeira neighborhood.
History buffs will love the old architecture, much of which features the classic azulejo tiles. Some of the best examples of this design are the Estação São Bento railway station and the Church of Saint Ildefonso.
Famous for both port and vinho verde (green wine), the Douro Valley offers tons of authentic and scenic wineries. There are also plenty of small towns and villages, such as Lamego, with its beautiful hilltop church.
|The Douro Valley offers tons of authentic and scenic wineries.
Elsewhere in Duoro Litoral, you’ll find Amarante, with its impressive São Gonçalo Bridge and church of the same name. If you’re feeling sporty, take to the town’s Ecopista do Tâmega, a 35-kilometer-long cycle path, stretching into the surrounding vineyards and forests.
|The Dom Luís I Bridge connects Porto and Villa Nova de Gaia.
Alternatively, if you’re based in Porto, cross the Dom Luís I Bridge to Villa Nova de Gaia. Once there, take a ride on the cable car for panoramic views, before checking out beaches such as Madalena, Valadares, and Praia da Granja.
If you’re feeling energetic, climb the 180 steps to Coimbra’s university, where you can tour the 18th-century library or stroll around the university’s own botanic gardens.
|The town of Coimbra is located in the Beira Litoral region.
If you’re after something more relaxing, visit the resort town of Figueira da Foz for one of Europe’s widest beaches. In the town itself, you’ll find a beautiful palace and the Figueria Casino, the oldest on the Iberian Peninsula.
Nature enthusiasts should check out the Serra da Lousã, where you could spot deer and boars. The park’s villages, such as Candal and Cerdeira, offer small shops and old stone buildings, while the hiking routes will take you past castles, valley viewpoints, and natural pools.
Another of Portugal’s most-popular wines comes from the Dão Valley. Don’t miss out on a vineyard tour to enjoy scenic views whilst sipping on what’s commonly known as Portuguese Brandy.
|The Dão Valley is a great destination for wine lovers.
The Côa Valley, meanwhile, offers an archaeological park dating back 30,000 years, as well as the scenic Faia Brava Natural Reserve.
The most popular city in the Beira Alta region is Viseu. Roam the narrow streets of the Historic Quarter or take a peaceful walk around the Parque do Fontelo, with its oak and chestnut trees.
|The Parque do Fontelo is full of oak and chestnut trees.
Alternatively, treat yourself at the Palácio do Gelo shopping mall, with nearly 160 shops, a bowling alley, spa, and more.
The fascinating town of Belmonte is home to the largest Jewish community in Portugal, which you can learn about in the Museu Judaico de Belmonte. The town of Castelo Branco, meanwhile, features a medieval Old Town, a 13th-century castle, and several river beaches, such as Sesmo and Almaceda.
|Wild boars live in the Reserva Natural da Serra da Malcata.
Enjoy the region’s wildlife in Tejo Internacional Natural Park, home to 44 mammals, 154 birds, 15 amphibians, and more. You could also spot wild boar in the Reserva Natural da Serra da Malcata, which features 160 square kilometers of hills and oak woodland.
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Incredibly beautiful twin towns of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia are nestled on two banks of River Douro. Connected by 6 amazing, very high bridges, sloping towards the river and spread upto Atlantic. Magical old towns architecture, great food and port wine, fantastic people, views to die for, river cruises, nature reserves in walking distance, Atlantic beaches.... everyone can find something of interest. Very good local transport, including trains from the airport and river taxis. We fell in love with this place and definitely will be coming back.