Welcome back to my little corner of the internet!
Today we’re going to dive into a few other day trips from Porto. In the last post, I took you along with me to the idyllic coastal town of Aveiro. You can read about it here.
Staying in Porto gives you the opportunity for a few day trips, if you have a car, otherwise you can always join an organised trip from one of the travel or tourism agencies in the city. We actually saw quite a few promising ones like a boat trip along the river, a trip to some iconic parks, but the weather wasn’t on our side and we decided to see some of the picturesque towns about an hour drive away.
Braga – a Medieval Town
In less than an hour by car, you can reach Braga. A town North of Porto. The highway there leads you through luscious green forests. Braga has been an important settlement from the Romans to the ascent of Catholicism and the creation of Portugal.
The city centre throws you back in time. The remains of the castle behind the main square remind you of its past relevance. The Braga Cathedral includes Romanic elements, Gothic style and Baroque influences. If you would like to, you can enter it and visit the choir as well as its chapels. Braga is still one of the most important archdioceses in Portugal.
You can already see the iconic sanctuary of Bom Jesus do Monte from the main town square, but you will need a few minutes by car till you get there. This sanctuary with its picturesque Baroque stairs was added to the UNESCO World Heritage in 2019.
Remember to enjoy a nice, rich plate of Bacalhau à Braga!
Guimarães – where Portugal was born
Approximately 20 minutes away from Braga, you find the Medieval town of Guimarães, which is another UNESCO World Heritage. It is said that Portugal was born here and, as a matter of fact, there’s a sign reminding it to you.
The main square reminded me of a dreamy Central European town, with its coloured façades and the Baroque elements.
You should also take the time to enjoy some traditional Portuguese food in the town centre. We went to a really local restaurant, Adega dos Caquinhos, where the menu consisted in a question by the waitress: Pork, Meat or Bacalhau?
It was a very homey feeling, with family members of the owners’ eating there and it seemed like everyone knew one another. We were seated exactly next to the mom of the house, who was busy peeling potatoes and stirring contents of steaming pots.
Needless to say, it was delicious and a lot of food. With our bellies full, we were ready to explore the town.
We walked the 15 minutes through narrow streets towards the castle. Climbed up to the castle, strolled through the park and went back not without buying a cotton shawl, as the air was chilly.
A quick stop at Amarante
Since Amarante was another 20 minutes away and on the road to our next Airbnb, we decided to make a quick stop there. There are no photos, as my camera’s battery decided to die on me. We strolled through the Medieval town centre and saw the iconic bridge.
Have you ever been to Portugal? What did you like best? Let me know in the comments below.
[To be continued…]